Situated along Lone Man Creek and dotted with towering oak trees, Kevin Fowler's private 130-acre ranch is home to the existing ranch house and several restored antique buildings. A working windmill is the focal point of the large open area at the heart of the property. Dubbed Rustic Ranch for its authentic Texas flare, guests can enjoy the grassy grounds and historic buildings decorated with relics from the past. The reconstructed buildings (a log cabin, a restroom facility, a dance hall, and a small house) are open for weddings and social gatherings. Fowler's home is the original ranch house, which will soon receive a Texas historical marker.
The old oak used to build the log cabin dates back to between 1870 and 1900 and likely came from Pennsylvania or Tennessee. Notched square logs with chinking between form the exterior walls. Inside, the furniture is eclectic and made of antique artifacts. Granite tops an old barrel to create a table circled by four basic stools. An old grinding wheel and a glass-topped antique washing machine base create side tables. Horseshoes make nifty coat hooks, while a washtub topped with a cushion functions as an ottoman. Other antiques used in the d?cor include an old crank phone, a pie safe, and a wooden tool chest. Elk, deer, and wild hog heads hang on the walls. A buggy seat, a hanging swing, and an old sewing machine base turned side table furnish the back porch. An old shed finds new life as a bathroom with an old washtub for a sink.
The next building houses the visitors' restrooms. It features a tin roof and utilizes rustic wood reclaimed from an old house. Old light fixtures from Star Antiques in Wimberley give the women's room a feminine touch.
The dance hall was originally an old goat barn. Inside, the round bar stools came from a bar on Sixth Street in Austin. A friend of Kevin's made the saddle bar stools. Brown cushions soften the seats of rustic wooden booths. Above them hang a photograph and a pencil drawing of Willie Nelson. Old doors were repurposed as a bar front. Bar supplies are stored on a cabinet base and shelves recovered from two old stores.
The bride's house up the hill was originally located in Victoria, Texas. Bead boards and horizontal planks cover the walls. Its living area features a fireplace with a wood surround, a baby bed used as seating, and an old secretary. The bathroom features a claw foot tub, pedestal sink, and an old-fashioned pull-chain toilet. Tin wainscoting and stained glass windows add texture and quaintness. The back bedroom was originally the kitchen. A bed dressed with a crocheted coverlet, an old dressing table, a chest of drawers, and a rocking chair furnish the room. The second bedroom has two single iron beds covered with chenille bedspreads, a dressing table, and a small chair. Decorative frosted glass gives a feminine touch to the door.
Fowler currently uses the historic ranch house as his home though he plans to build a home near the creek down the hill in the future. The living area features open trusses, a wood ceiling, the original rock fireplace, and simple furnishings. The original kitchen serves as storage space after completion of a new kitchen on the former screened in back porch. Reclaimed wood from Pieces of the Past in Johnson City became kitchen cabinets. Stained concrete tops the lower cabinets. A retro style range mimics an old wood-burning range. Above, a display of antique kitchen utensils provides another connection with the past. The bathroom features the original stone shower, and a vitreous china sink. The bedroom features a cedar poster bed and three Bull Durham posters.
Originally part of Skyline Ranch, Rustic Ranch has a connection with the American story of "Cowboys and Indians." Clashes occurred as the Native Americans, who originally called the area home, were joined by cowboys, farmers, and other settlers who had their own ideas about life in Central Texas. One of the last clashes between the original Americans and the new Americans occurred in the Plum Creek Comanche Indian Battle that took place between Kyle and Bastrop and ended on the Duncan Dobie Ranch, three miles north of Wimberley, near the old Skyline Ranch house. To mark this event, Rustic Ranch will receive a second historical marker near the creek, the site of Battle of Indian Mott.
Rustic Ranch is one of five venues offered by the Wimberley Civic Club in its 27th Annual Hill Country Home Tour. It is one of two destination venues included in the tour, in addition to the three private homes. This is a new feature of the Home Tour added after suggestions the Tour include properties that highlight Wimberley's growing status as the destination for family gatherings, weddings, and other events.
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