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El Rancho included a lodge, cabins and outbuildings and widely known home-cooked meals

PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWMAN MUSEUM
 - The resort was located along the Metolius River, six miles northwest of Perry South Campground.

El Rancho is a former resort site located along the Metolius River, six miles northwest of Perry South Campground. Carl T. Hubbard and his wife, Maude Mastin Hubbard, homesteaded at this site shortly after the turn of the 20th Century and patented a claim July 2, 1915. Access to the ranch was limited to a trail for several years, and a road was built in the 20s. When he first took his wife to the homestead, he tipped the wagon over on a steep descent and scattered contents of the wagon across the hillside.

Carl was born in Colorado on Sept. 3, 1877, and Maude was born on June 13, 1879. The road to their homestead followed a torturous route up the Metolius River, after descending from Fly Creek. The Hubbards converted their ranch to a guest ranch about 1933, and it became known as El Rancho. Visitors got a taste of primitive nature at the isolated ranch. The guest ranch included a lodge, cabins and outbuildings. Maude cooked meals for the guests and was widely known for her culinary skills.

They also established a small orchard. Water from the Metolius was diverted into a ditch to provide irrigation. Mr. Hubbard also used the diverted water to power an undershot water wheel made with paddles mounted between buggy wheels. Through a drive belt, the water was used to power the family washing machine and grindstone. He later added a small sawmill, but it was powered by a gasoline engine.

The Hubbards operated the guest ranch for several years, but they moved away to Culver when the railroad came to Central Oregon in 1911. Carl became a station master in Culver, and the work helped support the ranch. After World War II, El Rancho was essentially deserted and fell into disrepair and eventually was dismantled to prevent vandalism. Today, the site can be accessed by the Metolius River Trail, with the trailhead at a locked gate upstream from Monty Campground. The trail is along an old road through large stands of pine. Only the rock chimney stands to mark the site of the once popular resort.


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