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A new flock? Owners hope to convert historic ranch into venue

Staff writer

Owners of a historic ranch north of Burns hope to convert a building into a wedding and event venue.

Mary and Darryl Sledd filed an application for a conditional use permit for the venture.

The couple own the historic Keystone Ranch, listed on the both the state and national registers of historic places in 2017.

Keystone Ranch was established in the 1880s by Frank A. Wells, who owned the property from 1881 to 1902.

He created an 1,800-acre sheep ranch and built most of the structures still standing on the property.

The ranch was sold after Wells’s 1913 death to T.J. Grace.

The Grace family shifted the ranch’s focus from sheep to cattle, hogs, and horses, and the original buildings continued to be used for agricultural purposes.

By 1960, Grace had added additional buildings.

The Sledds bought the ranch from the Grace family in 2021.

A 2,600-square-foot main house and the 30-by-80-foot, two-story limestone horse barn will be offered as venues.

The main house is 2,600 square feet.

The house, built in 1875, sits right next to an original bunk house.

The ranch has 11 buildings, all of which are on the historic registries. They were built around 1900, Mary Sledd said.

“It’s a place you can see the natural wildlife,” she said.

She said her love of the Flint Hills inspired the couple to purchase the ranch.

“We’ve always been in love with the Flint Hills,” she said. “When I’d drive down to see my daughter in Dallas, I’ve always loved the Flint Hills.”

She found the property listed on a real estate website.

“It took us about six months to negotiate with the Grace family,” she said.

The Sledds bought the homestead and 20 acres. It is surrounded by 1,800 acres of agricultural land, which remains owned by the Grace family.

Last modified Feb. 1, 2023

 

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