In 1983, Dallas socialite Myron K. Martin purchased 212 acres of the Double M Ranch including a house from Dallas oilman Bob Franklin. Franklin had used the property as a weekend polo getaway for him and his friends including Prince Albert of Monaco, who scored his first goal at the ranch. At that time, the property was known as Clearfork Ranch.
“I was looking for a place where I could go on the weekends,” she said. “I had a friend in real estate and I told her I just want something north, but that’s close enough to Dallas where I could go up there for the day and come home. My friend found Bob Franklin’s property and it already had a house, two barns, a pool and tennis court. It basically had everything I wanted and I fell in love with it immediately.”
Myron proceed to buy the surrounding land around her including 1,300 acres from Nelson “Bunker” Hunt, which is the pasture area where houses are being built now. This large piece of property divided two other blocks of land she owned. She had her real estate agent approach Hunt about the purchase and he sold it to her mainly because it was the only land he owned east of Preston Road.
Myron used the ranch primarily for entertaining and to get away from the city, but she also raised horses, cattle, goats and birds there. Most of the ranch work was done by her ranch manager, who lived on-site with his wife. A total of 13 employees worked on the ranch, giving Myron the option to come and go as she pleased from her permanent home in Dallas.
“I did a lot of entertaining up there,” she said. “I always had friends with me and house guests staying the weekend. I used Eddie Deen’s catering a lot. It’s so wonderful and Eddie would come out to the Ranch. We just always had a lot of fun.”
Franklin’s original house, designed by Dallas architect Parker Folse, later burned down. Myron waited five years to make sure she really wanted the property and then had Dallas architect Frank Welch build the current ranch house, which now serves as The Bridges’ Information Center.
One of the only things that survived the fire is the stained glass horse, which is now in the entry door of the current stables.
In 1986, Double M Ranch hosted the Dallas Cattle Baron’s Ball benefiting the American Cancer Society. They had never had a rodeo at one of the balls before and really wanted to have one. Myron built the current equestrian arena and grandstands to accommodate the event.
“I must have had 3,000 people on the ranch for that event. It was so much fun,” she said.
Celebrities arrived by helicopter for the event including Larry Hagman. Hagman also attended the 1993 Cattle Baron’s Ball held again at Double M Ranch.
“Once Larry Hagman started coming to the Ranch, this rumor started that the house was owned by his mother Mary Martin who played Peter Pan,” Myron said. “Then later it was rumored that Disney was going to build a theme park on the property. I don’t know where in the world these things get started, but I had every real estate agent in McKinney calling me wanting to buy the land around the Ranch.”
Several celebrities including Hagman have visited the Ranch including Marilyn Quayle, wife of former Vice President Dan Quayle; Dallas restaurateur Gene Street who founded Black-Eyed Pea and Good Eats Cafe; Texas artist Bob “Daddy-O” Wade; and many others. Martin hosted a 100-person lunch just so her friends could meet Marilyn Quayle.
Myron reminisces about her time on the ranch and loves sharing stories of all the fun times.
“We used to ride horses all over the property. We would even ride up to Dairy Queen and get a hamburger. It was so much fun! I had a speed boat and the young people just loved waterskiing. It’s a small lake so it doesn’t look like you can ski, but if you start at the boat house and make a big circle, they loved it!
“And everybody that came up had to go fishing. There are some huge bass in that lake! And the water is so pure, you could drink it.”
With her love of horses, Myron is excited that The Bridges owners will be able to take advantage of the equestrian facilities she had onsite.
“A lot of people really want horses but they have no room to keep them,” she said. “Having those facilities available for people at The Bridges is wonderful!”
One of the lasting memories of Double M Ranch is now located in McKinney. The large horse statue, which once sat in the roundabout of the Ranch House driveway, now resides at the McKinney SPCA on Stacy Road.
“I used to get so many comments about that horse and now that it is on the main road between Frisco and McKinney, people always say, ‘That’s the horse that used to be at Double M Ranch,’” Myron said.
Myron knows growth is headed toward the Gunter area especially when the Dallas Tollway reaches the city in a few years. The Tollway is already completed up to Hwy. 380.
“Things are really moving that way. I wish the Tollway had gone up as far it does years ago,” she said. “The growth will definitely go that way because (The Bridges) is in a prime location. When I told people my ranch was between Hwy. 75 and Preston Road, they went, ‘Wow, what a great location.’ And it really is. I could get up there in 45 minutes.”
Myron said it was the quiet, relaxing nature of the ranch that she enjoyed the most.
“I loved that ranch for all those years. … It’s just so peaceful there. You don’t know there’s anything going on in the world,” she said. “It was a true pleasure and I have friends that really miss it. So, I just tell them to go buy land at The Bridges now!”