Oilman gives Paisano Ranch to UT
On this day in 1966, Houston oilman Ralph A. Johnston signed the deed transferring Paisano Ranch to the University of Texas. The 254-acre ranch, fourteen miles southwest of Austin, was the country retreat of J. Frank Dobie. After Dobie's death in 1964, a group of his friends and admirers, including O'Neil Ford, Peter Hurd, J. Lon Tinkle, and John Henry Faulk, undertook to preserve Paisano as a writers' retreat. Johnston, to whom Dobie had dedicated his last book, bought Paisano to take it off the market. A gala dinner and art auction in Houston helped raise the money to purchase the ranch from Johnston, who died two days after signing the deed over to the university. Since 1967, more than sixty native Texan writers have worked and lived at the ranch as recipients of Dobie Paisano Fellowships, awarded by the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute of Letters.