Once home to the polygamous religious leader Warren Jeffs, the 1,700-acre compound in west Texas is for sale along US Highway 277, just north of Eldorado and about 45 miles south of San Angelo. Jeffs was a one-time “President and Prophet, Seer and Revelator” as well as “President of the Priesthood” of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS).
The property appears more tranquil than when it housed hundreds of followers between 2003 and 2008. Authorities arrested Jeffs for multiple sex crimes in 2008. He was convicted and sentenced to life plus 20 years in a Texas prison.
Jeffs, now 59, remains imprisoned at the Powledge Unit near Palestine.
It was called the “Yearning for Zion Ranch” and at the peak of activity, house around 700 people, including 416 children, who were put into CPS custody following Jeffs’ arrest in March of 2008. The property underwent significant improvements when the FLDS church members started arriving in 2003. Research shows it housed a temple, a waste treatment facility, a 29,000-square-foot house for Warren Jeffs, a meeting house, and several large log and concrete homes. There were generators, gardens, a grain silo, and a large stone quarry cut for the temple.
Jeffs purchased it for $700,000 in 2003. Approximately $3,000,000 in improvements have been made, and with the west Texas land boom in the last few years, District Attorney Allison Palmer says the have the property could be worth as much as $20,000,000.
In an interview with the San Antonio Express News, Palmer said the state is appraising and assessing the property “to decide what the best options would be,” but she hopes the property could be listed within the next few months.
“I’d love that… but I can’t guarantee that,” she said, adding that “we would try to get the word out to the public for anyone seriously interested” after the appraisal and assessment period.
The Schleicher County Sheriff’s Office has secured the property and the Salt Lake Tribune reported that the deputies for Sheriff David Doran’s have duties including irrigating an orchard, maintaining a sewer pond, and tending to livestock, which include axis deer and blackbuck antelope.
“It’s a beautiful piece of property, and there’s a lot of beautiful farm and ranch land,” Palmer said. “There’s a lot of appeal to it, but then there are improvements on the property that may not be what everyone’s interested in.”
She referred to those improvements as the living quarters, classrooms, barns, amphitheater and large temple placed throughout the property.
Palmer said anyone interested can call her office, but she asks for serious callers only.
“I am concerned, because the property does have some notoriety attached, obviously,” she said. “We’d like our time to be used for those who have actual interest in the property, not for those just wanting to sight see.”
Schleicher County Appraisal District Director Jani Mitchell spoke with Breitbart Texas, and said that she’s toured the property, and it has no amenities like a pool or tennis court, or an airstrip, that some potential buyers might be looking for.
Rob Milford is a news contributor to Breitbart Texas. You can follow him on Facebook.