Photo courtesy of Q.E.I. Publishing. Galen L. Hanselman. All rights reserved.
History of Sulphur Creek Ranch
In 1946, Dr. Ben Morgan took a pack trip through the Sawtooths with a group led by Pearl Hornback, Marv's first wife. She tipped Ben off to the availability of the Parker Ranch on Sulphur Creek and sold him on the idea of making a dude ranch of it. Having been raised in the Dalles Oregon country as a cowboy, he loved the idea of getting back to the west after a successful career as a surgeon in Chicago. He flew over Sulphur Creek, saw the potential and quickly bought the ranch, which included an old Zenith bi-plane.
Dr. Morgan hired Pearl's husband, Marv Hornback, as foreman. Dr. Ben laid out the footprint of the main lodge, stepping it off and marking the corners. He and his wife Freda financed the operation with Marv in charge of building the lodge, cabins and improving the airstrip. So the construction began.
The lodge was built of vertical logs rather than horizontal as the lodge pole pines there were small and tapered quickly. A hydro plant was constructed on Blue Moon creek which allowed the new cabins to have electricity, hot water and good water pressure for modern plumbing. The lodge was supplied with walk-in refrigerators and freezer, electric stove and lights, a good deal of it flown in by Bill Woods in his Stinson Tri-Motor.
Sulphur Creek Ranch was advertised all over the country with the slogan "You want to go to heaven?" Both the Hornbacks and Morgans attended hunting expos and outdoor shows touting Sulphur Creek as a fly-in sportsman's paradise. And it was. But it never paid back the huge investment the Morgan's had put into it.
Dr. Ben eventually built what is today the Morgan Ranch, several miles down Sulphur Creek. Again, most of the building materials were flown into Sulphur Creek by Bill Woods. Then they were loaded up and packed down to Morgan's with a wagon team. The Morgan's continued to fly into Sulphur Creek Ranch until their own runway was completed around 1954.