Healing History Repeats Itself at Cordillera Ranch 100 Years Later

By Charlie Hill and Barry Denton

It has been said that history repeats itself, and Cordillera Ranch may be living proof.

Exactly 100 years ago when World War I had just concluded, the Boerne area and the Texas Hill Country were known for their rest homes and health resorts. The area was an escape used for recuperation from tuberculosis and veterans’ lung issues from exposure to poisonous gas and the Spanish Flu Pandemic. In 1920, Henry Graham opened the Rainbow Rest Home, a picturesque property overlooking the Guadalupe River, which served as a rest home and recreational retreat. 

Through the years, the land’s owners shared in the vision and values of their predecessors and continued with the “Rainbow Rest” name. They considered it a “quiet, peaceful place to live” and “paradise on Earth.”

By mid-century, J. Ray McDermott transformed the Rainbow Rest Home into the ranch headquarters for the sprawling 7,000+ acres known as the Elmax Ranch. This second home and escape for weekends, holidays and summer vacations was a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the dense, urban areas.

In the late 1990s, a portion of the Elmax Ranch began to evolve into its newest phase of healthy living in the form of a master-planned community named Cordillera Ranch. Today, Cordillera Ranch has become a resort-style community that’s a refuge from the impacts of this generation’s lung ailment, the Coronavirus. Cordillera Ranch offers the same restorative qualities of yesteryear, but re-envisioned with resort-style living, spacious sprawling acreage and innovative amenities founded upon the Hill Country’s treasured outdoors. The community epitomizes social distancing, escape from large populations and active lifestyles.

The difference is that today, more than 800 families that call it home (or a weekend home) can enjoy the fresh air, lakes, trails and refreshing Guadalupe River, along with The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch’s Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. For families with kids out of school for a five-month summer break, there has been no better place to keep them entertained 

and active.

”During this unprecedented time, we are so thankful to be in Cordillera Ranch where our three kids and two dogs can enjoy not only a big yard and pool, but have access to the Guadalupe River and Swede Creek to play, fish and explore within walking distance from our home,” says Randy and Charity Rolfs. “We are hopeful this time will be remembered for all of the outdoor adventures and staying safe and healthy in Cordillera Ranch. We are also thankful for the pivot the Club did in offering delivery and highly sought-after grocery items. We couldn’t be in a better place to spend time as a family waiting for this ordeal to pass than Cordillera Ranch.”

While the community, fortunately, hasn’t had to deal with a severe local outbreak, many homeowners such as Paul Robishaw and his family have found that activities at Cordillera Ranch have forged life-long positive memories in an otherwise unpleasant era. 

“Being able to get out to Cordillera Ranch is always a welcome escape from Houston, but it was even more so during the recent pandemic,” the family noted. “Whether fishing the Guadalupe or walking nine holes on the golf course, our boys spent more time together than they have in a long time. The six weeks we spent in Boerne definitely brought our family closer and we were able to make some great memories.”

The Ranch’s refreshingly clear air, twinkling starry skies, 

cool spring-fed Guadalupe River and abundant open spaces have served as a place to quarantine with freedom unavailable in cities, and as a place to reconnect and forge new bonds 

with family. 

Through this disruptive time in our history, residents of Cordillera Ranch have re-discovered the area’s healing effects as did those visiting the Rainbow Rest Home a century ago.

Life IS better OUT here. 

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