The Double R Guest Ranch LLC was established in 1908 by Dr. R.G. Roth, MD, the grandfather of the present day owners. Dr. Roth brought his family, Mother, and brother here to settle, to ranch and to practice medicine.
For forty years, the doctor traveled by horseback, or buggy, and later by the first automobile in the area, to treat the sick and the needy; and, when necessary, perform whatever surgical, optical, and dental care he could for his patients. He served the pioneers of Cherry County, Nebraska for the next 40 years until his death in 1948.
Jim and Pat Bridges are the resident owners of the ranch and have been honored to receive this award in recognition of the 100 consecutive years family ownership of this ranch.
Pat is the granddaughter of the Roth's, the original homesteaders. This achievement is honored by the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben (Nebraska spelled backward). They are a prestigious Nebraska organization that recognizes the pioneer farm/ranch families with this special award. The ranch celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2008!
A rich ancestral heritage lies within the walls of the original sod house. In its day this was one of the finest homes in the area. It was built by friends and family members from sod slabs, cut and hauled from the lakeside meadow. The sod house was lived in until 1994. It is filled with memorabilia of the original prairie pioneers and is enjoyed by our guests. The house has 3 large rooms with a full attic. There is a six inch covering of concrete preserving the exterior walls of sod, which keep the house cool in summer and warm in winter. The sod has been well-preserved. Most of the original furnishings, a library, musical instruments, dishes, and the doctor’s surgical instruments and medical bags have been saved, along with some of his medical books.
Homesteaders made their living accommodations out of sod because of the lack of natural resources, such as trees or stone. These sod houses (soddies) were very efficient keeping cool in the summertime and staying warm in the winter because of sod being a natural insulator. On the downside, a soddie was home to bugs and snakes and dirt would constantly fall from the ceiling. But Pat’s Aunt Elsie lived in this soddie until 1994!
The original circa 1910, District 66, One Room Schoolhouse sits over by the lake. It had school for the last time in 1961. Some of the books came with the schoolhouse, as did the desks, and the piano, and one bookcase. The schoolhouse has been refurbished and stores part of the library of books of the family the owner has acquired. If you would like, it can be arranged so you can go inside and look around.
It is the original schoolhouse for District 66 in Cherry County, and was built c. 1910. On site you can visit the original one-room schoolhouse which has been completely restored, but is needing some TLC. Seeing the original school desks, some of the original textbooks, an 1886 upright grand piano, and an extensive library, can be a fun and interesting way to spend some of your hours at the ranch. The piano was tuned every year and was used weekly for piano lessons given to neighborhood children.
In addition to the schoolhouse and the sod house, there is the Hooker County Historical Society Old Hotel Museum, in Mullen that can be shown by appointment. It is housed in the original Hamm Hotel which was purchased by the historical society c. 1985 and converted into a museum.
About 8 miles south and west of the ranch you might enjoy seeing the Dry Valley Church. It has also been completely restored to its original condition and although they do not hold regular services there, do have a Memorial Day Service and a Christmas Night Lamp Light Service every year.