Businessman Ray Kroc turned McDonald's from a single burger joint to a fast-food empire in the mid-20th century, and he did much of it from his sprawling ranch home in California. Kroc bought the "J & R Double Arch Ranch" in 1966 at the height of McDonald's meteoric rise. Now, the property is for sale, and available for digital tours even if you can't consider the $29 million price tag seriously.
Siblings Richard and Maurice McDonald opened the first McDonald's in 1940, but Kroc founded the McDonald's Corporation in the decades that followed. He revolutionized the restaurant business, establishing a model that other chains sought to copy. In 1966, McDonald's went public, and soon after that Kroc purchased the J & R Double Arch Ranch. The property is 554 acres, located near Santa Barbara, California, in the Santa Ynez Valley, according to a report by TopTenRealEstateDeals.com.
Kroc not only lived on the ranch, but he also held corporate retreats and think tank meetings there. Many of the chain's most popular menu items were reportedly conceived at the ranch, including the McRib and the Egg McMuffin. The property's dual function as a home and business getaway are still clear to this day.
Kroc retired from running McDonald's in 1974 and died in 1984 at the age of 81. His widow, Joan Kroc, donated most of his fortune to various charities in the remainder of his life, though it is not clear who came to own the J & R Double Arch Ranch.
Regardless, the ranch is now on the market for $29 million, and with over 17,000 square feet of living space, there is a lot to see. Here is a look inside Kroc's infamous getaway.
Kroc's ranch covers about 554 acres of land in the California desert and consists of several buildings and outdoor features. The property is dotted with living spaces, barns and leisure spaces. The "main lodge" for living spaces is over 17,000 square feet, with a living room that is 3,000 square feet on its own.prevnext
The ranch aesthetic comes off strong at Kroc's home, especially from the outside. The home was made to host large gatherings, and it shows in every aspect of the facade.prevnext
Kroc ensured that there was plenty of space to hold business meetings on his property, from gatherings of 100 people or more to small staff meetings. The result is a number of halls, grand living rooms and long tables, all with different capacities.prevnext
The house is not all business, however — recreation such as a pool table and a full gym are available inside, while outside there are tennis courts, volleyball courts and so on. There are, of course, also barns, corrals and paddocks for conventional ranch activities.prevnext
The property has more than 20 bedroom suites in the main lodge, plus a few single residences on the property and a few bunkhouses as well.prevnext
From the pictures shown, the bathrooms are as lavish as any other part of the property, with deep tubs fine stone countertops.prevnext
Naturally, a restaurant mogul like Kroc had the finest when it came to kitchens put in at his home. These may also have been the site of experimentation on McDonald's menu items.prevnext
Kroc's property has two lakes — open defiance of California's dry heat. It also has at least two swimming pools. Water is stored in three cisterns and five wells, with a total capacity of 90,000 gallons.prevnext
Kroc included a full library on the property, with room for multiple people to study or read leisurely. The mogul only had one child.prevnext
Finally, many of the spaces on Kroc's property were clearly meant for idle leisure and mingling among guests. See a video tour of the property from TopTenRealEstateDeals.com here.prev