About the Ranch

A true California treasure

The Kemper Campbell Ranch is a private estate and working cattle ranch located in the High Desert of Southern California. Positioned on a secluded oasis in the Mojave River Valley, the Ranch boasts views of Joshua Trees and desert succulents, idyllic green pastures, impressive boulder formations, and a mountain backdrop. Our adobe Main House which dates back to 1929, has been featured in publications and books including Rancho Deluxe and Mediterranean Houses in America. Once a guest ranch that hosted stars from Old Hollywood, the Ranch has once again opened its doors.

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Our History

Nearly a century in the making

The Ranch was acquired in 1924 by Kemper and Litta Belle Campbell, both attorneys practicing law in Los Angeles. At the time it was called the North Verde Ranch. In 1929, the Campbells enlisted John Byers, the well-known architect and builder noted for use of the Spanish Colonial revival style, to design their home on the Ranch. The Main House was built of adobe bricks made from materials on the Ranch and dried in the sun, using the same method as the Monterey-style homes of early California. After the Main House was built, the Campbells decided to relocate and make the Ranch their family's primary residence. They raised their children there while they continued to split their time between Victorville and Los Angeles. 

Over the years, the Ranch served many functions. For varying periods of time the family had a successful dairy business, ran cattle for beef, and raised alfalfa, among other things. In the 1930's, after years of hosting friends, the Campbells opened the guest ranch. Guests could ride horses, play tennis, and enjoy the three meals served every day in the Main House dining rooms. The Ranch hosted all sorts of guests, from family friends to Old Hollywood stars (John Wayne, Greer Garson, Groucho Marx and Greta Garbo, to name a few), all eager to escape the bustle of Los Angeles without having to travel too far. Notably, a large portion of the screenplay for the movie Citizen Kane was written at the Ranch by Herman Mankiewicz in 1939. The Ranch was renamed the Kemper Campbell Ranch in 1943, after the Campbell's oldest son Kemper Jr. was killed in a plane crash during World War II.

The family decided to close the guest ranch business in 1976, but the property continues to function as a working cattle ranch and home to some. In recent years, the Ranch has opened its doors again as a vacation rental and event space for those who seek its timeless charm and beautiful scenery. The Ranch remains under the ownership of the Campbell family, now the grandsons and great-grandchildren of the couple that started it all.