|City/Town: • Avant
|Location Class: • Residential
|Built: • N/A | Abandoned: • 2000s
|Status: • Abandoned • Endangered • Private Property
|Photojournalist: • Emily Cowan
Collins Family Allotment 1906 – 1920
It’s uncommon to search this area of Osage County and not dig up some Native American connections in its early history. This land, now known as Candy Creek Ranch is no exception with deep Osage roots to the Collins Family.
In June 1906 the Osage Tribe Allotment Act was passed allowing for lands and funds to be divided throughout the Osage Natives. Lula Collins and sons John W. and Roy W. Collins settled on an allotment just east of present-day Avant, Oklahoma. Lula married a white man named John Collins in 1895. Together the family lived on a total of 1,900 acres of allotment between Lula and the two sons. John was heavily involved in the Osage community and politics serving on the Board of Commissioners for a period of time. But most of his time was spent tending to the 400 acres of cultivated farmland on his ranch property. The remaining acreage was lush green pastures for miles and miles. He continued supervising his cattle stock and farm until his death in November 1915.
Many citizens in the area struck it rich with a significant amount of oil deposits scattered throughout the county. This led many Osages to lease or sell their allotments to big-time Oil & Gas companies to cash in on the riches. Lula Collins was documented in 1909 as having two wells on her allotment and receiving 509.26 barrels of oil annually.
But it is assumed that after her husband’s death, the massive tract of land and business dealings she had been left to manage became too much. She and her sons Roy and John Jr. packed up their lives and moved to Tulsa in 1920. They remained here until their deaths.
Candy Creek Ranch – Nelson/Larkin Bros/Marshall 1930-1942
According to local newspapers during the 1930s, there was a Mrs. Nelson who briefly owned the ranch and later a Mr and Mrs. Frank Larkin also going by the name Larkin Bros. with his sibling Vergil. Not much is documented during this time except a newspaper excerpt stating the Larkins had moved away to Wynona and Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Marshall had moved to the “old John Collins ranch” to make their home. It had obviously not adopted the name Candy Creek yet.
Candy Creek Ranch – Jarboe Brothers 1940-1944
When exactly the name Candy Creek came into play isn’t certain but sometime around the time of the Jarboe Bros is assumed. Native Americans picked up the word candy from the sweets they purchased from Chief Rogers trading post in Hominy. The creek that runs across the land was then named Candy Creek leading to the ranch adopting the same.
The Jarboe Brothers under the name Jarboe Livestock Commission filed suit in 1941 against the Shell Pipeline Company. The suit asked for a judgment of $2,983 as damages for pollutive materials that leaked from a pipeline owned by the company. This resulted in the water flowing through Candy Creek Ranch being polluted with salt and the cattle being hurt.
Candy Creek Ranch – W.G. Skelly 1944-1957
William G. Skelly was a prominent entrepreneur throughout the 1930s and ’40s making his riches through oil across several different states. Having a massive estate such as the Candy Creek Ranch and one that had oil deposits was perfect. Thus he purchased the property from the Jarboe Brothers in 1944. It was actually his pipeline that the brothers had sued a few years later.
He started immediately improving the ranch house completely modernizing it and decorating it with warm natural pine trim. Furnished with true ranch-style furniture and a kitchen that was fit for a large ranch house like this one. It had a king-sized electric refrigerator, a need on a farm relying on fresh produce. It also had deep freezers and many cabinets including large counter spaces. As if the luxury didn’t already show it had two Skelgas stoves and two sinks to show that going the extra mile for comfort and convenience wasn’t an issue.
For the next decade the land was used as a demonstration ranch, Skelly grew his operation and his registered Hereford cattle and Palomino horses. Two of his prize winners, double registers horses, Blondy Plaudit and Skelly Golden Boy also called this ranch home. This wasn’t his only ranch, in fact, he owned two others which together made more than 6,500 acres.
The property was described as “an inviting vista” to tourists traveling through. Oftentimes the Tulsa Farm Club and 4H Clubs came out to explore the property. The glistening white farmhouse stood prominently against the lush green pastures that provided a calm place for the prized beef and horses owned by Skelly. Barbeques, breakfasts, meetings, awards ceremonies and more were all held in the ranch house from time to time. It was even a scene in the movie “Osage” that was filmed here in 1949.
Despite his many other business dealings he always seemed to find the time for projects and enjoying his ranches. But as he began to age his positions within his business dealings became more administrative instead of in the field. He began to sell off some of his assets as well to become more manageable, one of these being the Candy Creek Ranch.
Candy Creek went up for sale in 1957, Roy Glasco and his wife Vernie jumped on the opportunity to own this 2,000-acre slice of heaven for upwards of $100,000 making it their family home.
Candy Creek Ranch – Glasco 1957-1994
The Glasco’s loved the ranch establishing it as their family land with around 2017 acres. On the land were two large ponds, oil wells, and many Hereford cattle that were fed on the oats, hay, pasture and Bermuda grass planted. Six other ponds were added shortly after.
Not long after their purchase, some community members had huge plans, those plans took the form of Candy Creek Hunting Lodge Inc. Stockholders in the venture were James P. Melone and son Jerry M. Melone, H. Glenn Patton and Patrick H. Frazier. Only Oklahoma residents would be allowed to purchase stock and only stockholders would be able to use the facilities. Each member would be charged $15 for hunting privileges with a four-hour limit, bag limit of three for each bird with the exception of quail which would have a bag limit of seven.
The preserve was to be stocked with pheasant, quail, partridge and ducks from the Frazier ranch. Fishing facilities were also to be offered at the eight ponds and would be stocked with game fish. Horseback facilities, hunting dogs and kennels were also in the plans for this lavish experience that was to be created.
The existing Candy Creek Ranch house was to serve as the lodge and be able to accommodate ~50 persons. They had even gone as far as picking Tom DeVore as the lodge manager. All they had to do to make their dreams a reality was purchase the property from the Glascos. But the “full steam ahead” attitude ran out. Stock in the venture wasn’t taking off and without willing participants, enough money couldn’t be gathered to purchase the property. So the plans were shelved.
The Glasco Family made this place home until around 1997 when Roy Glasco passed away. This left the home to become vacant and exposed to the elements. For years those who traveled on Highway 11 would gawk at the beautiful ranch house. It had been sold to a few different hands over the last decade but no one with the pockets and or will to save it, just utilizing the land instead. A film called “The Brick House” was filmed here in 2012 with the house as the main setting.
The threat of nature taking the house down seemed more likely than the threat of a human taking it down, I mean it had been there for more than half a century through multiple owners and not once was demolition ever talked about, at least not openly. But I would be wrong, on September 1st the alarm bells rang as news broke out of the house’s demolition and the rubble being burned. The community swarmed with posts online and many sharing memories.
“My husband’s uncle was a ranch foreman at Candy Creek for many years. My husband fished the ponds and rode the ranch horseback often when he was a kid. He got to go into that house a few times when Mrs Glasco was still alive. Said the top floor was like a ballroom and there was artwork on the walls and painting on the ceiling in that room that he remembers,” said Jean Kellogg.
Gallery Below of Candy Creek Ranch
|S5 T23N R12E
|Collins, John W.
|Collins, Roy W.
https://www.google.com/books/edition/A_Standard_History_of_Oklahoma/Q4E_AAAAYAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=%22john+collins%22+osage&pg=PA2051&printsec=frontcover (John Collins)
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