Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cook Ranch Presentation July 16

The Odebolt Historical Museum is hosting a presentation on the Cook Ranch (Brookmont Farm) at the Odebolt Community Center on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

Joleen Dentlinger of Storm Lake, Iowa will be giving a very interesting and informative presentation about the Cook Ranch. She has spent many years researching and collecting photographs and memorabilia from the Cook Ranch. She is also planning to publish a book about the ranch in the near future.

The Odebolt Historical Museum members will be serving cookies and beverages after the presentation. Please make plans to attend.

The Brookmont Passion
by Joleen Dentlinger

What started out to be a ride around Sac County in the 80’s, ended up being a passion for “wanting-to-know-more.” Often times we took our dogs so that they could run. Always having my camera with me to take photographs for pleasure or references for future pen and ink drawings.

One particular Sunday, we came across this long abandoned farm site - unlike anything that we had ever seen before. It captured my heart and was like it talked to me. I have been hooked on it ever since. From that point on I took more photos, searched for its beginnings and saw it end. I spent years researching its glorious past and have shared what I learned with many.

This particular farm was born on the prairie in 1873 and it was named: Brookmont - The Great Cook Ranch. It was developed by a successful young man from Chicago, Charles W. Cook, who was an acquaintance of Hon. Hiram Wheeler, the original owner of the famous “Adams Ranch.” Wheeler encouraged Mr. Cook to invest in Iowa farm ground. He purchased 12 sections of Iowa prairie from the Iowa Railroad Land Company for $5.00 an acre. In 1883, Mr. Cook traveled to Herefordshire, England and purchased 306 head of thoroughbred cattle. He then owned the largest herd of Herefords in the world and was the largest importer ever. Imagine - going to England in 1883 to buy cattle?

Charles W. Cook was a very wealthy and brilliant man - he did a lot for the area and saw the world all at the same time. He developed things that made work on the farm easier, faster, more productive.... When he passed away in 1900, his son Albert E. Cook, took over the ranch and he too, was very inventive. Having the ways and means to be successful. When Albert decided to leave Iowa in 1911 and sell the ranch, he originally tried to sell it as is, but eventually it was sold in numerous parcels. It took close to 7 years to sell everything. The home base and a section of land, sold in 1918, is still owned by the family that purchased it nearly 100 years ago!

After years of searching, letter writing and now internet surfing - the quest continues. Preserving the Brookmont memories by finding photographs and facts, meeting descendents and digging deeper will never end - it is on-going. It’s that “wanting-to-know-more” passion that, like an addiction - just takes over your mind!

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