History of Roaring Springs Falls

A Brief History

Roaring Springs Falls is a great place to stir the imagination! It was a favorite Campsite and picnic spot for both Indian and Pioneers of long ago and is still a favorite for modern day campers!

The Comanche Indians spent a lot of time at Roaring Springs Falls. It was a good campsite for them not only because of the water but because of the abundance of the wild grapes, berries and plums that are still found in this location. The Comanche’s’ huge horse herds required lots of water and fresh meadows with good grazing and the Comanche found all of these things here at the falls! Large herds of Buffalo wintered in the area nearby which provided the Indians with their own walking meat market and general store as the Indian utilized every part of the Buffalo. When the buffalo followed the spring grass north, the Indians followed the herds.

The Comanche Indians were bad house keepers. When they trashed out a place, they moved over or moved on. Many discarded Indian artifacts have been found in this area. During the winter, the Comanche camped under the protection of the bluffs and in the summer, they camped on the ridges where it was cool and out of the range of mosquitoes, but close enough to the water so the children wouldn’t have to carry it far. Indians favored camping in the sand or grassy areas because they work soft soles moccasins.

During the day, women would grind corn in the soft sandstone rocks near the top of the Falls where you can still see the deep holes today. High upon a look out point, the tool maker staked out a hill and there he would sit, chipping away, ever discarding flakes and a few rejected arrowheads in one spot overlooking the camp. No doubt, many Comanche artifacts still lay unclaimed and hidden by years of dust in this modern day campground. Experts claim the best time to look for these treasures are after a good rain or a “bad blow”. The difficult thing is being there at the right time--it’s a lot of luck!*
After the Comanche Indians moved on, the Springs or Falls were owned by the Matador Land & Cattle Co., Ltd. This company was owned by stockholders in Dundee, Scotland. Local management allowed people to use the Falls as a picnic spot, to cut wood and to pick the wild plums and grapes. It became such a popular spot, there was talk of the Falls becoming a state park and the water source appropriated. That threat prompted the tight-fisted ranch management to spend $12,000 to build an Olympic sized swimming pool “to share” with the public in 1929. A bathhouse, a watchman’s house and a fence around the area were added as well. The Scotchmen sold their interest in the ranch in 1951.

In 1961, the property was purchased by the Rock Island Oil & Refinery, Co., owned by Koch Industries of Wichita, Kansas. Charles Siewert purchased the Springs, pool and surrounding land, but sold it in 1974 to Marian Alice Jones (a former resident) and Jeanie Bassett of California who invested a great deal of money into the Springs Ranch Recreational Center. In 1978, developer Jerrell Jennings, bought the property and turned it into a private club with 1500 memberships. He offered: fishing, 230 campsites, a golf course and community center. Jennings went bankrupt in 1986, however, and the Springs Ranch Members fought for ownership of the pool and 761 acres of developed campsites. The Ranch Members won the battle and run the Roaring Springs Ranch Club, Inc., with the help of a Board of Directors. The Ranch continually strives for improvement and continued recreational pleasure for all who have the pleasure of it’s facilities!

*Excellent books on Indians are the following:The Comanche, Lords of the South Plains by Earnest Wallace & E. Adamson Hoebel (Univ. Of Okla., 1952).Quanah Parker & His People by Bill Neeley, Brazos Press, 9th & Industrial Drive, Slaton, Texas, 79364. 1986.