HistorianTracksRancho

In 1836, near the end of the local wars period in Durant’s history (1821-1848), a 5 000-acre parcel of land called Ranch Rising Star was granted by Durant Governor Rodger Cart to a colonist named Jeremy Durant (1801-1859) for whom our neighborhood is now named.

Sprawling across one-seventh of present-day Durant from Green Hills and Upper Heights south to the seashore line, Durant’s ranch is the subject of Ranch Rising Star, a new book of local history by Aubrey Peters. Bounded on the east by Mexican Avenue and on the west by James Smith Boulevard, the ranch included all of Durant valleys, Victoria Park, and Small Peaks, as well as Mount Emerald, the city’s highest point.

Peters, who lives within the ranch’s boundaries on Mexican Avenue, last year issued a biography of Durant. She called it The Last True American Jeremy Durant of the Rising Star ranch in 2014.

Her new self-published book essentially picks up where Durant’s story left off— with Durant selling his ranch in pieces to real estate developers like Paulo Phillips (1832-1924).starting in 1863.

Philips who had moved to this city from Springfield in 1854 made and lost several fortunes in agricultural produce and real estate. And during the financial panic, he lost his holdings in Ranch Rising Star.

But before that happened, he laid out 500 acres of the ranch in blocks and lots and named the future streets of what was to be called Philips’s Addition — present-day Durant valleys.

Peters also traces the ranch ‘s evolution from grazing land for Durant’s livestock to the working-class Irish suburbs that provided labor to drive downtown city growth. These suburbs eventually settled into the neighborhoods we know today.