The name Comanche Trace is known in Texas History as a trail the Comanche Indians used to travel from one hunting/camping area to another. There were many of these trails and one of the most frequently used was west near Big Spring. Another was northeast outside of the Austin area at Liberty Hill.
The Paneteka Comanche (Honey Eaters) lived in the area that is now the Edwards Plateau or Hill Country. From history and artifacts we know they camped along the Guadalupe River and other streams that feed into it. We have learned from previous owners that the Comanche Indians used a trail that went from the north side of the Guadalupe across the river to a lookout peak or high point. This "lookout" was to become the location of the Pinnacle Building for The Club at Comanche Trace.
Because of the proximity to the Guadalupe River, Comanche Trace was always a property used for farming and ranching. The front fields were used for grazing and hay. The Old Rock Barn goes back to the early 1900's when it was used for hogs and later sheep and goats. In the 1950's the property was owned by Hugh A. Fitzsimmons, an oil and cattle man from San Antonio. Mr. Fitzsimmons helped develop the Brayford cattle breed. After Fitzsimmons' death, the property was purchased by G. L. Rousey, another oil man, who actually drilled for oil on the property. This well was located just behind the Comanche Trace front entry sign and was drilled to a depth of 1500 feet. When no oil was found, Rousey had the well plugged.
Bobby Shelton, a descendent of Captain Richard King of the King Ranch in South Texas named this property Comanche Trace when he purchased it from Carl Meek in 1978. Mr. Shelton's love for horses and his respect for the Comanche as great horsemen led to the name that became Shelton's horse ranch and corporate headquarters. La Cumbre or The Peak was the name of his headquarters. At one time, the ranch had over 600 Quarter Horses, a Veterinary Clinic and Breeding Facility. There were nine miles of oil field drill stem pipe fence that comprised the horse runs, pens, gates, barns and shades. Sixteen and one half miles of King Ranch wire fence enclosed twelve pastures and dozens of runs and holding pens. The main focal point of the property while it was operated as a ranch was the 35,000 square foot arena which was located at the end of the oak-lined entry drive near where Rock Barn Drive is today.
What an interesting history our development has had - from Comanche Indians, to ranching, to prospecting for oil. Today, Comanche Trace has become one of the most sought after Master Planned Communities and Golf Courses in the nation.
Look around and you will certainly find traces of Bobby Shelton and Comanche Trace when it was a quarter horse ranch specializing in cutting horses.
Everyone who comes through the front doors of the Pinnacle Building notices the S brand on the doors, the elevator, and the Grill tables. This brand consists of 2 stylized Rs that have been flipped on their sides to form an S. The Rs and S stand for Robert Richard Shelton. Watch for it as you tour the Club House.
Bobby and his wife Fronie had their offices in what is now the Vista Room. Bobby surveyed his ranch from his vantage point near the fireplace. He had a private bar which is still in use today. The bar is covered with Santa Gertrudis hides from the King Ranch - if you look closely you can see the famous running W brand on the hides. The bar has recently been restored. The bar itself is made from birdseye maple. One can only imagine the deals that were struck in that small bar. It is not hard to feel Bobby's presence. While the print hung over the fireplace in the bar is not of Bobby - it does represent his lifelong appreciation of a good horse. In what is now a storage closet some of the original wall covering, made from cloth printed with cactus, can be found. Behind the swinging bookcases at the back of the room is a large safe where he kept valuables.
The table that was in Bobby's conference room is beautiful hand finished mesquite and is now located in the conference room at the Sales and Welcome Center. It is used on a daily basis.
Many people believe that the Sheltons lived at Comanche Trace, but it was only the headquarters for his many businesses. The family lived near Mountain Home where Mrs. Shelton still resides. There were approximately 70 employees in the many branches of his ranching and oil and gas ventures.
The Grill we all enjoy today was the company cafeteria. The tables and chairs were custom made. The floor was originally like the floor in the lobby, but was sanded smooth so that the tables and chairs did not wobble. The bar area in the Grill was added after the ranch was purchased by Kemmerer Resources.
The beautiful antique Eastlake walnut doors that lead into the golf shop from the lobby came with Bobby from the King Ranch.
Bobby passed away in 1994, but his legacy at Comanche Trace lives on.