Whether They are Set in the Mountains, desert, or along the banks of a slow moving south TEXAS river, the working ranch and ranch house of the nineteenth and early twentieth century's do not always match the image of the romantic ranch of the movies. Most often they are simple, practical buildings fashioned of adobe, brick, or wood and made comfortable with a few ornamental items. Less often, they are large estate houses that use the transplanted styles of the East to temper the West's harsh and isolated life. Yet pick among them and you may find the raw materials that later generations, farther from the rigors of life on the range, came to treasure and elevate into a memorable style to remind of the West, where they were.
The Lazy U Ranch – The “U” stands for the Texas cattle brand registered by Henry Joseph Ulbrich in 1914. Henry’s son James Jennings and Edie Ulbrich purchased the property in 1970. Naumann Rd is named after the German family who had a 360 acre land grant which included this property in the 1880s. Several dwellings including those at the front gate are still occupied by some of the Naumann descendants.
The Ulbrich Family are Sixth Generation Texans. August Karl Ulbrich arrived from Germany in 1854 at the Gulf Coast port town of Indianola (later destroyed by a hurricane in 1886), traveled by foot a distance of 130 miles and settled the town of Martindale, sixteen miles northeast of the Lazy U Ranch. His original travel papers from Germany are displayed in the lodge entry.
August Ulbrich (grandfather of Jim Ulbrich) is buried in a family cemetery. His tombstone identifies his regiment in the Confederacy during the Civil War. August Karl Ulbrich was born in the year of 1826. He was 6 months old when Thomas Jefferson died, and 10 years old when the Alamo fell in 1836.
Today, James (Jim) Ulbrich and the majority of descendants were born and reside in and around the towns of Poteet and New Braunfels. Edith (Voelger) Ulbrich’s ancestors arrived in the upper East Coast of the U.S. from Germany in 1914. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1949, and brought a touch of “culture” to the Ulbrich family. She passed away in 2003; a beautiful Texas pink granite headstone indicates her remains on the hill under our only mature post oak tree. The Ulbrich family still keeps in touch with her German relatives.
Jim Ulbrich is still alive and very active at the age of 85; he lives on the ranch with family and is still involved in ranch improvements and plans. A man of unusual stamina and strength, he single-handedly built the unfinished structure called the “James Jennings Ulbrich” building near the lodge while in his 70s. The building construction is similar of early German “lime-crete” construction used in Seguin’s historic Sebastopol. Unique to this building is that it is made of 100% crushed limestone or locally known as “Texas road base”. At this time it is the only know structure in existence built entirely of this component.
Today the ranch is owned and operated by Jim’s daughter and son-in-law Nancy, Craig, and daughter Savanna Rio Russell. Craig himself a 5 generation Texan with family coming to Texas in the 1850’s has managed and operated the ranch as a wildlife management area since 1998. With extensive native grass management in place the small 101 acres hosts one of the most robust native ecosystems in south Texas.
The Lodge , As It is Known in South Texas was built of beautifully hand varnished knotty pine wood walls, oak and long leaf red pine flooring. A classic ranch house that shows the adaptations and innovations that make the ranch house an ever-changing type with the first flooring laid in 1939.
This Rancho Deluxe Provides a Step Back in Time with a complete Museum of Original Family Memorabilia that include items that date back to 1850's. Everything from vintage collector guns, saddles, vintage photos, rare historical collectibles, arrow heads, Indian tools and much more. Enter the Lodge through the foyer displaying of the ancestral photos of the veterans that served in the Civil War, WWI, WWII, and Cold War. You will also have access to one of the best TEXAS book libraries for your reading pleasure.
The Lodge Overlooks 1/4 mile of Privately-Owned River Frontage known as Lake Placid . The original owner had a vision of a spacious front room view of the river that would allow comfort with cool breezes in the summer. The 30 foot enclosed porch offers a spectacular view with over 20 feet of solid pane glass providing a magnificent view of the river and meadows – a bird watchers dream room!
Providing 2000 Square Feet of Living Space with master bedroom El Jefe's and (2) guest bedrooms with adjoining bathroom and shower. The house's south side bedroom, Rio's Room , provides a full bed with adjoining bath. In the middle of the house is the Stockyard Room that doubles as an entertainment/barroom complete with an antique wood stove. With two bars on each side of the room that are full-size antique pull-down Murphy beds .
Slide back from the bar if you've had a little too much "who it hit john" also known as whiskey in Texas, fold down your bed and fall in to it – a Cowboy's Dream Bed!
The Entire Eastside of the House with the large glass window provides both the living area and dining area (27' X 22') with a true sense of the outdoors to be present inside. Use the binoculars on hand to spot deer, turkey, bobcat, coyote, and over 140 documented species of birds in the meadow and on the lake all from the comforts of Texas-Size lazy chairs inside the house. You will find a fully equipped COMMERCIAL kitchen that offers normal appliances, utensils and other incidentals.
Additional Features of this extraordinary Rancho Deluxe include king bed in the master bedroom, central heating and A/C, and wood-burning stoves. The nature trails include 6.5 miles of some of the best native grasslands pastures complete with a registered herd of Texas Longhorn Cattle roaming the landscape. As you walk the trails you will pass by 4 stock tanks that provide habitat to a host of varied species of Ducks and Native Texas Wildlife .
At This Time, Ranch Tours are only offered to overnights guests, and tours must be booked at least five days in advance. While every effort will be made, we make no guarantees that all requests for tours will be met.
When Making Reservations (required for all guests) please indicate your estimated time of arrival. We want to make sure that someone is around to greet you or that proper arrangements have been made for your arrival.