|Polygamist Ranch Photos
May 18, 2008
Last updated June 15, 2008
The polygamist ranch in West Texas has been a major news item lately, so I decided to check it out. Officially is is called the YFZ (yearning for Zion) ranch, operated by a breakaway sect of the Mormon church. For more info, see the Wikipedia report, which includes a high-quality aerial photo.The compound is about 4 miles northeast of Eldorado along CR 300 in a rough landscape with cactus, cedar, and brush. The temple is easily visible, as well as about 4 large structures under construction and a large mound of excavated earth. The Wikipedia aerial photo and the MapQuest aerial view below show a large number of smaller structures which are not visible from the road. When I visited on Sunday, May 18, 2008, the entrance was guarded by two ranch boys who were in a pickup truck with darkly tinted windows. The 450 youngsters who were confiscated by Texas child protective services where still in the custody of the state. On May 29, 2008, the Texas Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling which found that Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) did not have sufficient cause to remove all the children from their parents, and that the children should be returned to their parents. In the following days, the children were released from CPS custody back to their parents. This was a good thing for Texas taxpayers, since the estimated cost for a year of foster care was $21 million. If the construction in progess is an indication, the ranch must be doing well. In addition to keeping the women pregnant, the ranch guys must be productive construction workers.
Photos taken May 18, 2008
The ranch is located northeast of Eldorado. Eldorado is 44 miles south of San Angelo, and about 20 miles north of Interstate 10. The terrain is on the edge of the desert, in the final transition zone from the semi-arid central Texas to arid west Texas. The landscape is much nicer if you drive about 25 miles north of Eldorado into the Concho River valley.
This fairly recent aerial view from Mapquest shows the large number of structures on the property. The construction on the southwest side of the property near the entrance road, shown in the photos below, is not shown on this view. Google has an older view with only a few structures. The community has grown quickly over the last few years.