The ranch that Big Macs built: Home of McDonald's founder hits market

Big Mac Mansion: Stunning 554-acre property once owned by McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc hits the market for $29M… and even features a circular home known as the ‘hamburger’!

  • A real slice of fast food history has been served up in California as a stunning ranch once owned by McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc has hit the market
  • In a fitting ode to its former owner, the 554-acre property, situated in the serene Santa Ynez Valley, even features a home referred to by as the ‘hamburger’ 
  • Kroc and his then wife Jane Kroc, a former secretary to John Wayne, bought the property for $600,000 back in 1965, shortly after McDonald’s went public
  • Kroc named the property the ‘J and R Double Arch Ranch,’ and spent years turning the scenic plot into a research facility and a vacation spot
  • A small set of golden arches, designed to look like the McDonald’s logo, used to frame the entrance of the property
  • Health mogul Gerald Kessler of Nature’s Plus vitamins purchased the J & R Double Arch Ranch in 1990 and renamed it the Circle K Ranch

A real slice of fast food history has been served up in California as a stunning ranch once owned by McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc has hit the market for a piping hot $29 million.

In a fitting ode to its former owner, the 554-acre property, situated in the serene Santa Ynez Valley, even features a home referred to by locals as the ‘hamburger’ because of its circular shape.

Kroc and his then wife Jane Kroc, a former secretary to John Wayne, bought the property for $600,000 back in 1965, shortly after the fast food giant went public on the stock market and made Mr Kroc a millionaire overnight.

The entrepreneur named the property the ‘J and R Double Arch Ranch,’ and spent years turning the scenic plot into a research facility and a vacation spot for himself and for other McDonald’s executives.

A real slice of Fast Food history has been served up in California as a stunning ranch once owned by McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc has hit the market for a piping hot $29 million

In a fitting ode to its former owner, the 554-acre property, situated in the serene Santa Ynez Valley, even features a home referred to by locals as the ‘hamburger’ because of its circular shape

The stylish circular home – known as the ‘Round House’ – was built on property in the early 1970s, after Kroc remarried

Atop a knoll, and far afield from the property’s other structures, the house boasts 360-degree views of the surrounding valley and a central fire pit

One of the bedrooms of the Round House is seen above, with large windows providing panoramic views of the surrounding valley

The Round House also features a stained-glass design on its upper level

A small set of golden arches, designed to look like the McDonald’s logo, used to frame the entrance of the property. Though that feature has since been removed, many of its original structures still remain

Kroc and his then wife Jane Kroc, a former secretary to John Wayne, bought the property for $600,000 back in 1965, shortly after the fast food giant went public on the stock market and made Mr Kroc a millionaire overnight

A small set of golden arches, designed to look like the McDonald’s logo, even used to frame the entrance of the property.

Though that feature has since been removed, many of its original structures still remain.

Arguably, the property’s most impressive features is its massive 17,000-square-foot lodge, which was built in the late 1960s, and comes complete with a commercial kitchen, a dining room with enough space to sit 100 people, 3,000-square-foot great room and a 5,200-square-foot conference hall.

The lodge also holds 20 bedroom suits, and the property as a whole can host a total of 100 guests. 

Kroc divorced from Jane Kroc in 1968. He then married Joan Kroc, the former wife of a McDonald’s franchise owner, at the ranch in 1969. 

Their marriage took place ‘on a gigantic, bright white polar bear rug in front of the stately stone fireplace that had been constructed from 120 tons of native stone gathered from the grounds,’ according to the book, Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald’s Fortune and The Woman Who Gave it All Away, by Lisa Napoli.

The newlywed couple then built the stylish circular home – known as the ‘Round House’ – on property in the early 1970s. Atop a knoll, and far afield from the property’s other structures, the house boasts 360-degree views of the surrounding valley and a central fire pit.

Kroc named the property the ‘J and R Double Arch Ranch,’ and spent years turning the scenic plot into a research facility and a vacation spot for himself and other McDonald’s executives

 Kroc remarried on the property in 1969, ‘on a gigantic, bright white polar bear rug in front of the stately stone fireplace that had been constructed from 120 tons of native stone gathered from the grounds’

The property as a whole can host a total of 100 guests and was once used as a commercial retreat

The 3000-square-foot great room is shown in the above image, located in the lodge

Elsewhere on the ranch, there are four single-family homes, two bunkhouses, a gymnasium, resort-style pool, helicopter pad, two tennis courts and facilities for skeet shooting.

There is also barns, paddocks, fenced corrals for equestrian activities, in addition to multiple hiking trails that veer through the striking landscape.

Following Kroc’s death in 1984, Joan Kroc, a prolific philanthropist, tried to turn the property into a camp for children suffering from cancer, but the move was rejected by local authorities over zoning concerns.

She later listed the property for sale in 1989 for $14 million, intending to donate the proceeds to charity, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The ranch was later purchased the following year in 1990 by a buyer whose life’s work couldn’t be possibly be more diametrically opposed to Kroc’s.

Health mogul Gerald Kessler of Nature’s Plus vitamins purchased the J & R Double Arch Ranch and renamed it the Circle K Ranch.

Arguably, the property’s most impressive features is it’s massive 17,000-square-foot lodge, which was built in the late 1960s

It comes complete with a commercial kitchen, a dining room with enough space to sit 100 people, 3,000-square-foot great room and a 5,200-square-foot conference hall.

The lodge also features a stone fireplace, wooden floors and large glass doors

Following Kroc’s death in 1984, Joan Kroc, a prolific philanthropist, tried to turn the property into a camp for children suffering from cancer, but the move was rejected by local authorities over zoning concerns.

The lodge is also equipped with a 5,200-square-foot conference hall.

Kroc’s wife later listed the property for sale in 1989 for $14 million, intending to donate the proceeds to charity

The property also comes equipped with commercial kitchens, which Kroc once used to develop concepts for new McDonald’s products

Following his death in 2015, his widow Meadow Williams and his children and grandchildren battled in court over control of his estate, legal records show. 

Ms. Williams is the sole seller of the property, Coldwell Banker Realty told WSJ.

The ranch, located in the Happy Valley area, was once renowned for cattle ranching. But now the area draws some of the country’s wealthiest people and is esteemed for its wineries and thoroughbred horse training facilities.

The property is located around 16 miles from Michael Jackson’s famed Neverland Ranch, and roughly 10 miles away from a luxury polo ranch owned by California billionaire Tom Barrack.

Kroc franchised his first McDonald’s restaurant in 1955 and eventually bought the original McDonald’s brothers out of the business in 1961, rapidly expanding the fast food chain into a global empire over the next two decades.

He also owned the San Diego Padres for a decade and had amassed a fortune of $600 million by the time of his death, the LA Times reported.

A remnant of Kroc is still visible on the property today: a small, metal set of golden arches on a signpost.

The ranch was later purchased the following year in 1990, by a buyer whose life’s work couldn’t be more diametrically opposed to Kroc’s, Gerald Kessler of Nature’s Plus vitamins

Elsewhere on the ranch, there are four single-family homes, two bunkhouses, a gymnasium, resort-style pool, helicopter pad, two tennis courts and facilities for skeet shooting

The property’s resort-style pool is seen in the above image, and comes with a number of lounging chairs

Ray Kroc, then owner of the San Diego Padres, is greeted by the San Diego chicken in honor of Kroc’s 80th birthday at San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium with his wife Joan in 1982

A remnant of Kroc is still visible on the property today: a small, metal set of golden arches on a signpost on the long drive into the ranch

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