Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children


1953 to 1962

Boys Ranch Town

Boys Ranch Town, Edmond - 1953
Boys Ranch Town early picture showing monument

Boys Ranch Town is located 15 miles N.E. of Oklahoma City near the gate to the Turner Turnpike. The water tower can be seen from miles around. The monument, given by Mr. & Mrs. J. M. Johnson, is at the entrance to the campus.

Boys Ranch Town was established in 1953 by a donation of 160 acres of land and a $500,000 trust fund by Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Johnson. The ranch was given in memory of their son Jimmy, who died in 1937 of infantile paralysis at the age of 14.

BRT residents, horse and J.A. Russell
First occupants of the Ranch: (L-R) "Spot," Charles Reid, Sammy Southerland, "Prince," Lloyd Brown and Ranch Manager, J. A. Russell.
Original ranch house and BRT brand
The original ranch house on the Johnson property. Above/right: The BRT brand was used with pride.

Immediately after the property ownership was transferred from the Johnsons to the Baptist Foundation, plans were made for a building program. In the meantime, Reverend J.A. Russell was employed as the first Ranch Manager of Boys Ranch Town. On June 1, 1953, the Russells moved into the farmhouse on the premises, which they shared with five boys until 1954.

Formal groundbreaking ceremonies were held on October 12, 1953. United States Senator Robert S. Kerr was the keynote speaker. Advance reservations indicated 938 people would attend the barbeque and groundbreaking. However, an estimated 2,500 attended, and only 1,394 were fed. Soon after the groundbreaking, construction began on the Johnson Cottage, named after the Boys Ranch Town founders, which was dedicated the next year. The spacious ranch-type cottages are the finest to be found on any children's home campus.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for Boys Ranch Town
Goundbreaking ceremonies for Boys Ranch Town held on Oct. 12, 1953. Sen. Robert S. Kerr was the keynote speaker.

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