Tule Springs Ranch – Las Vegas, Nevada - Atlas Obscura
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Tule Springs Ranch

Now a city park, this site started as a stage stop, then was a working ranch, and finally became a dude ranch that specialized in letting wannabe divorcees establish Nevada residency. 

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Tule Springs lie in the northwest part of the Las Vegas Valley, at the edge of the present city. As a perennial water source in this arid land, the springs have always been of extraordinary importance to the area’s people and wildlife. To this day several ponds support substantial waterfowl populations, as well as other wildlife and even fish stocks.

Unsurprisingly, the springs were homesteaded around the end of the 19th century. The ranch acted as a stage stop briefly for the early 20th-century mining booms centered around Rhyolite, about 100 miles to the northwest. When the stage line folded, Tule Springs again became a working ranch. After World War II, however, it became a dude ranch with a twist—a so-called “divorce ranch.” People wishing to get a divorce could stay there to establish Nevada residency.

In 1931, Nevada lowered the time required to establish state residency to only six weeks. At a time when many other states had made divorces almost impossible to obtain, Nevada had already liberalized its divorce laws and a “Nevada divorce” had become notorious among celebrities and the well-heeled. The reduced residency time made this option available to a lot more people, and a cottage industry sprang up to accommodate those needing to become temporary Nevadans.

The grounds are shady and park-like, with big lawns and exotic birds such as peacocks wandering around. The old ranch buildings are largely whitewashed brick, which probably made them bearable during the Las Vegas summer even before air-conditioning. Lots of photographs and informational signs tell about the “divorce ranch” years.

Divorce ranches faded away in the early 1960s as other states liberalized their divorce laws. The area was acquired as a city park by Las Vegas in 1964, which (after some vicissitudes) it remains today. It was renamed for former state senator Floyd Lamb in the late 1970s, and the name has stuck—despite Lamb having been convicted of bribery in 1983.

Know Before You Go

Take US 95 northbound toward Tonopah and exit right (north) at Durango Blvd. In about half a mile turn right on Brent Road, which turns into Tule Springs Road.

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