On April 7, 1927, Lucienne
Hubbard, a mogul in the film business, and Charles Bender,
Hubbard’s son-in-law, purchased land from the Southern
Pacific Land Company which was the beginning of the B-bar-H
Guest Ranch. The size of this soon-to-be popular playground
for the celebrities was 240 acres. Charlotte Stocks, Lee
Anderson’s daughter, remembers bringing date shoots to the
B-bar-H from her family’s date farm. Citrus and other
products were marketed under the B-bar-H brand. Cattle and
poultry were also raised at the Ranch.
Lucienne Hubbard was a professional writer, war
correspondent and contributor to The Reader’s Digest. He
spread the knowledge of Desert Hot Springs with its
marvelous hot medicinal water far and wide. It was very
exclusive, and was only by invitation that one could visit
the B-bar-H Ranch. Eventually the temporary structures were
replaced with permanent and more modern and deluxe
accommodations. The present-day location would be from 18th
to 20th Streets and from Bubbling Wells Road to Mountain
View in Desert Hot Springs.
In 1937 the B-bar-H Guest Ranch was opened to the public. In
the April, 1939, issue of “Desert Magazine,” an ad for the
ranch carries a Garnet, California address with a notation
that it is in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs. Joe Gottchalk was the desk clerk, bellhop, did the marketing
with their station wagon, took money to the bank and ran
errands as a teenager in l939-l940. He picked up guests at
the train station in Garnet, rode a horse to deliver a
telegram to Janet Gaynor at the Singing Trees Ranch near the
B-bar-H on 20th street, and took guests gambling at the
private membership Dunes Club in Cathedral City (today we
would know that location as Date Palm Drive near Highway
111). There were also card games and slot machines at the
Over the years, authors such as Les Starks, Cabot Yerxa and
John Hunt have written about the B-bar-H and listed the many
celebrities who frequented it and Cabot Yerxa’s Trading
Post. Cabot tells of their interest in his pet rattlesnakes,
lizards, and the items he sold at the Trading Post. Many
visitors rode horses to h is place to just sit and visit.
Jack Krindler, who originated the Twenty-One Club in New
York City, was one of his visitors as well as Sol Lessor,
producer of the Tarzan pictures.
Because Lucienne Hubbard was an outdoorsman, an expert rider
and horseman, the atmosphere of the ranch was entirely
Western in character. The ladies had many attractive Western
outfits. In the dining room some folks were dressed like
real cowhands; at the next table might be people just in
from the city all decked out in swank evening clothes;
however, if they stayed at the ranch for any length of time,
they changed to Western-style clothes. Cabot writes that no
matter how many millions they had or how much space in the
newspapers was devoted to their names, they all had fun.
Louis Sobol wrote of being initiated into the Order of
Pamperers. The code of the Pamperer is never to do today
what can be done tomorrow. There was laziness in the air.
Charlie Bender was the host and manager of the B-bar-H
Ranch, his wife helped organize picnics, campfires and
riding parties nearly every day. They visited Seven Palms,
Willow Hole, various mountain canyons along with trips to
Two Bunch Palms, a beautiful oasis close at hand. Two Bunch
Palms was once owned by the B-bar-H Ranch in the late
l940’s. They traveled to Cabot’s place on Miracle Hill. Many
of the guests at B-bar-H were from the nearby Circle B Ranch
owned by Warner Baxter.
As time went on, a swimming pool, tennis court and rodeo
arena were added to the property with stretches of grass and
gorgeous beds of flowers which delighted the guests. Rodeo
competitions were held in the arena, and on Saturday nights
there was Western dancing at the recreation hall with live
bands from Palm Springs. The accommodations and comforts of
this guest ranch became famous and guests came from New
York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Hollywood.
Often large groups from all walks of life came to stay a
weekend, a month, or the season. Bankers, financiers, men
prominent in political life and big businessmen rubbed
elbows with movie stars, those from the legitimate stage,
famous writers and well-known musicians.
In l940, Jay Kasler (grandfather of Richard N. Roger MD of
Rancho Mirage) paid $42,000 for the 240-acre B-bar-H Ranch.
Mr. Kasler owned the Free Sewing Machine Company (second
only to the Singer Company) which was sold to a Japanese
company in l960. Mr. Kasler also founded City National Bank.
Dr. Roger’s family spent almost every weekend and holidays
at the ranch. They came from Los Angeles via old Highway 99,
now Varner Road. The cash register from the B-bar-H bar is
now located at Cabot’s Pueblo Museum. Dr Roger related that
in l949 he took some 78 RPM records from Cabot’s Eagle’s
Nest and returned them to Cole Eyraud (past
resident/protector of Cabot’s Museum) in l974.
The present-day Covington Park in Morongo Valley was once a
part of the B-bar-H holdings. The horses were moved up there
for the summer. The 640 acres were purchased in l946 for $10
an acre. In l950 Mr. Kasler closed the Ranch to the public
and maintained it for family use. In l959 he donated
Covington Park to The Nature Conservancy.
In 1973 the administration, pro shop, caretakers area and
stables, and approximately 5 1/2 acres was purchased by
Leonore Emerson High (Jackson). The property was purchased
to set up a communications institute. In subsequent years an
additional 19 1/2 acres was acquired. This section was known
as the golf course. The communications institute never
materialized due to litigation that lasted over 20 years.
The property was sold around the first part of 2000.
The beautiful old lodge on the Ranch boasts an impressive
fireplace and great room for public, office or family use.
There are several bedroom units accessible from the patio
area, as well as a professional kitchen, dining room with
beamed ceiling, bar room, and wine cellar. A VFW Club has
used the former recreation hall for meetings; the swimming
pool has been filled in.
In 2006, a new private owner acquired the lodge, and various
homes have been built on the land, thus creating a new usage
and future for those passing under the historic B-bar-H
SOURCE: Unknown. Edited by Richard N. Roger, M.D., April,
2007, Word processed by Alta Hester, Secretary, Desert Hot
Springs Historical Society. Further clarifications by
Scott Jackson of the Leonore High family (2011).