In 1921, Leonard and Elda Gilcrease moved with their two small boys, Ted and Bill, to Las Vegas to begin a farming life. By 1925, the Gilcrease Ranch consisted of 960 acres, but several setbacks forced the young couple to mortgage most of it to pay outstanding debts. In 1932, the couple separated and Leonard moved back to his family home in California. Elda and her sons continued a poultry and egg business, which helped to support them through the war years. In 1941, Ted took over management of the struggling ranch. His keen eye for business and smart investments allowed him to settle the original mortgage by 1948. He acquired additional land, bringing the total to nearly 1600 acres, with final land patents delivered in 1963.
Among the parcels Ted purchased were four 40-acre lots that are currently to the east and west of Tenaya Way (originally called “Gilcrease Road”), south of Grand Teton Drive. This land was particularly dear to Ted as he’d always intended to design his own home to be built there. In the early 1970s, he began cultivating alfalfa fields on the land around his intended homestead. As alfalfa farming became less profitable, Ted began to convert his fields to an orchard of fruit trees. He enjoyed the challenge so much that he never ended up building the home he always spoke of, but instead continued to expand the size of his orchard. By 1990, Ted had cultivated his last alfalfa field. In 1997, he created the Gilcrease Orchard Foundation to help preserve the orchard.
This page has been created to provide a short history of the Gilcrease Orchard. For more information, see
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