Elko Ranch Once Owned by Bing Crosby Will Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive

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bing crosbyIt’s been decades since the late Bing Crosby moved to the remote Elko, Nevada, but his presence still looms large in the town — and his ranch there is now up for sale.

Crosby purchased property there in the 1940s with the idea that it would become a respite for his family, remote enough to be able to shed the expectations that came with being a famous movie star and singer. He would end up owning seven ranches in the area around the town, which is about 400 miles from Las Vegas.

His Lawson Ranch property is up for sale for $7.28 million — and while that might seem like a premium, it includes a working cattle ranch, a private airstrip and hangar, and a six-bedroom main house that serves as a working bed and breakfast currently. There are additional buildings that serve as living quarters for guests and staff as well.

The original homestead from the 1860s is also still on the site, and has been preserved.

It also includes some of the oldest water rights in the state, and backs up to the national forest, but is still only five miles from the highway, Todd Renfrew of California Outdoor Properties, who has the listing, said.

“The Lawson Ranch, homestead in the 1860s and once owned by the late Bing Crosby, is situated on the flank of an incredibly beautiful mountainside. It encompasses roughly 3000 deeded acres and is located a short drive north of Elko, Nevada,” the brochure for the listing says. “This property has fantastic recreational qualities and is a profitable working cattle ranch. It is complete with updated modern conveniences, including your own private airstrip and large airplane hangar, a full ranch headquarters with easy access to town. This is the quintessential turnkey gentlemen’s ranch.”

When Crosby lived there, the ranch — and the town — truly became a place for him to unwind. “The ranches were his getaway, where he could fish, fire a gun, and make friends with all his neighbors,” listing materials explained. And fellow thespian Jimmy Stewart caught the Elko bug as well for a time, briefly owning the Winecup Gamble Ranch in 1953.

Crosby, hosting the premiere for “Here Comes the Groom,” in Elko.

Crosby loved Elko, even hosting a movie premiere there in 1951.

Howard Hickson’s Histories describes Crosby’s relationship with Elko in more detail, too.

“A famous photograph of Bing Crosby and Elko Mayor Dave Dotta appeared in newspapers and magazines world wide in 1948. Dotta is supervising Crosby while the singer/actor sweeps the street in front of the Ranch Inn at Ninth and Idaho streets.

Crosby bought several ranches in the North Fork area and spent summers there to get away from his hectic schedule. His first family, wife Dixie, and four sons Gary, Philip, Lindsay and Dennis shared those times with Bing.

He frequently came to town where he was treated just like one of the locals. In fact, he was so comfortable in Elko he didn’t wear his hair piece. He became one of ‘us,’ not one of ‘them.’ It was a place where he could literally let his hair down and he sincerely appreciated his acceptance by the townspeople.”

Elko Mayor Dave Dotta naming Bing Crosby honorary mayor, and presenting him with a key to the city, in 1948. Bing Crosby remained honorary mayor of Elko until 1977 when he died of a heart attack in Spain following a round of golf. Photo from the Northeastern Nevada Museum Collections.

However, with Dixie’s death in 1952, it seemed the allure of ranch life dimmed for Crosby, and by 1958, he had sold all seven ranches, Cowboys & Indians says.

Some lucky new owner will have the perfect turnkey ranch in a gorgeous setting. Renfrew created this video tour that is absolutely worthy of its cinematic former owner to show just how gorgeous the property is, too.