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Rancho del Cielo Is Like Heaven to Young Conservatives

Memorial: Six months ago, the Virginia-based Young America's Foundation purchased the Reagan ranch for nearly $5.95 million. The group is keeping every book and knickknack in place.

October 25, 1998|JEFF WILSON | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Reagan's boots are lined up in a walk-in closet in the bright yellow bedroom. There are cowboy hats too, as well as a collection of nearly hubcap-size belt buckles. A spur once carried in outer space is on a shelf. "Nancy" and "Ron" monogrammed robes rest on hangers.

Reagan's saddles, including the well-worn English model he preferred, are in the tack room. His blue-and-gold cavalry horse blanket hangs on a wall.

"His legend lives on," Marc Short said. "It's not something that's an eight-year time frame when he was president. He's a guy who came on the political scene in 1964 and is someone who's been the standard-bearer for the conservative movement ever since and is still today."

In a 1990 interview with the Associated Press, Reagan told how he enjoyed trimming the hundreds of oak trees on the property. "I love the dappled look on the ground when the sun comes through," he said.

On a hill in a grove of oaks just above the ranch house is a solemn site where Reagan kept those trees trimmed back: the Reagan family pet graveyard. Nancy Reagan's beloved quarter horse No Strings is there. There's also a bull named Duke, horses Kelly and Duke, and dogs Victory, Freebo, Millie, Taca, Lucky, Kodiak, Sasha, Fang, Fuzzy and Rhino.

Each one has a marker with a name carved by Reagan. The latest addition was in September, when dog Rex died. But this time, a ranch hand carved the stone.

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