Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jack and Jill Ranch 1966

As I mentioned in the post about Gay El Rancho, our little group of friends and co-workers had such a good time at that dude ranch in 1965, that we decided to take a similar trip the following year. We chose a different ranch this time, but still in Michigan. The ranch of choice for this second trip was the Jack and Jill Ranch in Rothbury, Michigan.

Judy and Dar were unable to go with us this time. So this year's group consisted of myself and three others who had gone together the previous year, Carole, Kathy, and Mary, as well as Dorthea, another friend of theirs from their Catholic Youth Organization.

Mary drove all of us and our considerable luggage to the ranch in her car. I don't remember the exact year and model of the car, but I do remember that Mary called it "Irving Geronimo."

I think all five of us spent the night at Mary's house the night before the trip to the ranch; and, if memory serves (which it often doesn't these days), Mary's mom messed with us by putting pepper in our beds or some such tom foolery.

Here is a picture of the five of us, trying to get Irving Geronimo's trunk lid closed in preparation for our departure for the ranch.

This is the sign at the ranch's entrance. Kathy and Mary are sitting in the buggy.

Calico Town. We stayed in the Wells Fargo building on the far right end.

The dining room, where we were well fed.

Carole, Dorthea, Kathy, and Mary on their way to mass. Head coverings were still the order of the day back then, although it looks as if some allowances were made for ranch guests in other areas of dress code.

The Wagon Wheel Building, where most of the evening activities were held.

Mary, Kathy, Dorthea, and Carole getting a shooting lesson from ranch employee, Darwood.

Mary is sharing her drink with a wooden horse, which is actually a mailbox, as Carole and Kathy look on. Notice the interesting mural in the background.

Mary, me, Dorthea, Carole, and Kathy, on our horses.

Mary, Kathy, and Carole sunning by the pool.

Our week at the ranch included a day trip to the sand dunes on Lake Michigan. This is ranch employee, Scottie, in the foreground, walking on the dunes.

Things get a little crazy on the last day. Here are some of the staff posing for pictures: Roy, Latigo, Bib, Steve, and Buddie, with Zack in the "blue convertible."

Here, Zack seems to be directing as Latigo, Roy, Steve, Buddie, Alice, and Dorthea are creating a human pyramid. That's Dorthea on top.

Dunking guests in the horse trough is a tradition. Unfortunately, Dorthea's turn came just an hour before we were to get into Mary's car and start for home.

Here we are, all packed and ready to load the car for the trip back home. It looks as if Dorthea found some dry clothes to change into.

And here are some of the staff, gathered under a tree to sing us a sad farewell.

Mary now lives in another state, but she returns to our area once a year or so to visit family. A few years ago, we began having a "dude ranch reunion" on those occasions. Carole, Dorthea, and I all still live in the same area. Sadly, Kathy passed away five years ago from cancer. We had been unable to reach her in time for our first reunion, and she was gone before our next.

I did a little internet research and learned that the Jack and Jill Ranch is now operating under the name of Double JJ Resort. The name isn't the only thing that has changed, either. It seems they now have a championship golf course and a water park, as well as the horses and other amenities.

Maybe our next dude ranch reunion should be held at the Double JJ Resort. It would be fun to see what changes 45 years have wrought.


  1. Very nice to share, I like that you kept all the treasured memories so well.

  2. Looks like you have a very strong bond. Great memories.

  3. Thanks, Steve. Our reunions help to keep the memories alive.

    Elizabeth - As we get older we realize what a treasure old friends are.

  4. What a fun group of pics. I could almost feel my own nostalgia for this place and time. Great posts, Linda.

  5. Did this place cater to young women? Just wondering since the staff seem to be predominantly male, and very attentive!

    Another fun story and pictures. :)

  6. You're very perceptive, Sandy. I think they actually did cater to young women in those days. Now, under the name of Double JJ Resort, it sounds as if they have something for everyone.

  7. Wow! Great pics and story. I found your blog after searching about the history of the ranch. My mother frequented the ranch in the fifties and I have a few peices of memorabilia including pictures, souvenir signature book, and a collection of 78's The songs we love so well. I hope to go there one day.


  8. Matt - Thanks for stopping by. We're actually having a reunion of the gals from this trip on Wednesday, September 7. The ranch was a fun place, and we have great memories of it.

  9. Bonnie Freudiger MackeFebruary 13, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    I enjoyed your pictures and story so much. I spent 5 wonderful vacations at Jack and Jill and I really loved it. It seemed to me only wonderful, fun-loving people vacationed or worked there. Great memories.

    1. Bonnie - Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post and leave such a nice comment. Did you recognize any of the staff in these pictures? I wonder if we might have been there at the same time. We should invite you to one of our reunions. :)


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