Lorne Greene built a personal replica of the Ponderosa in Arizona

The Bonanza star had his own private Bonanza-accurate ranch.

Image: ARMLS / Realtor.com

As much as you might enjoy your job, you still need time at home to relax and recharge. Lorne Greene obviously loved his job. He not only took his work home with him, but he also turned a home into his work.

Even casual fans of Bonanza know that the Cartwrights live on the Ponderosa (after all, there are steakhouse chains named in their honor), a sprawling ranch snuggling Lake Tahoe in northern Nevada. Of course, this being the magic of television, the Western was actually filmed at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. The production constructed the Ponderosa ranch house in Stage 16. For an added layer of realism, production designers shipped in real Ponderosa pines from Lake Tahoe.

Considering it was a mere set, the Ponderosa ranch seen on television was dismantled when the series ended in 1973. But it was not the only Ponderosa ranch. There was a Ponderosa II — in an altogether different state.

In the early Sixties, Greene, a Canadian citizen born in that nation's capital, built his own slice of the Ponderosa in Mesa, Arizona. The Ponderosa II sits at the end of a country club cul-de-sac overlooking a golf course. The property served as a getaway for Lorne and his wife Nancy. 

Nancy, a painter, helped decorate the interior of the abode, a dead-ringer for the "real" thing. Just look at Ben Cartwright working at his desk — compared to the same space in the Ponderosa II.

ARMLS / Realtor.com

The white grout between the thick wood-beam walls. The red curtains. It's spot on.

Elsewhere in the living space, you will spot the distinctive stone fireplace, piano and other facsimiles of the show.

ARMLS / Realtor.com

This was not Greene's only retreat. Pulling in $32,000 an episode from Bonanza alone, the Western star owned a ranch in Central California, a 22-room Spanish-style estate in Brentwood, and a summer escape on Long Island. He even held a potato-packing plant in Oregon, according to A Reference Guide to Television's Bonanza.

The Ponderosa II was placed on the National Register of History Places. In 2016, the property hit the market and was listed at $849,900. According to Estately, the house sold last year for $475,000.

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denny 9 days ago
Lorne built the house in 1963 to help attract people to build in the neighborhood as he was part owner of the golf community. He sold the house in 1967, I doubt he stayed there much, a few photo ops etc...Dan Blocker started the Bonanza restaurants in 1963.
TomBurkhart 9 days ago
sold kinda cheap....vs what a house in Malibu costs.
harlow1313 9 days ago
Sometimes, I have to wonder at a world where a pretend cowboy can live such a lavish lifestyle. Had I made huge sums of money, I often wonder what it would have made of me.

No judgment is intended. I have a favorable impression of Lorne Greene.
F5Twitster 10 days ago
"The white grout between the thick wood-beam walls. The red curtains. It's spot on."

It's NOT grout, because logs aren't bathroom tiles. The substance sealing the logs is called CHINKING.

And I doubt that the original Ponderosa featured a garage for the Cartwrights' horses.
Tommygunz 10 days ago
How I wish this was my house, wonder who owns it now?
MaryMitch Tommygunz 7 days ago
Before the most recent sale, the owners were big Bonanza fans (note the cutouts of Ben, Joe, and Hoss) and hosted a couple fan mini-conventions.
JohnHardesty 11 days ago
I loved Bonanza and Greene was my hero.
jeopardyhead 12 days ago
"Pulling in $32,000 an episode from Bonanza alone..." I'm definitely in the wrong line of work.
texasluva jeopardyhead 8 days ago
Plus the fact it was back in the 60's. He made more then 90% did in 2 years for one episode. $32,000 in 1967 is worth over $220,000 today. Minimum wage by 1968 was $1.15 an hour.
Lantern 12 days ago
Back in the 70's I remember seeing Mrs. Lorne Greene in TV ads for Blue Chip Stamps.
MrsPhilHarris 13 days ago
$849,900 in 2016 but sold last year for $475,000. What happened?
texasluva MrsPhilHarris 13 days ago
A lot of the housing markets went bottoms up in many places. Notably in CA but most everywhere in the States. Actually starting like 10 years or more ago. U.S. homes lose $2 trillion in value in '08.
MrsPhilHarris texasluva 13 days ago
That is a huge drop.
Pacificsun texasluva 9 days ago
Well it depends where in CA. Not much drop in SoCal. pricing. In the last 3 years on average homes have appreciated about 2/3 more than for what they lost as a result of the financial/real estate crisis and slow recovery. A LOT of investors bought low, since banks were shedding off those homes as fast as they could (Short Sales). Investors turned them over to the remaining people who could still afford to buy something right after that time. (Remember, people needed to be gainfully employed to afford everything else going along with home ownership). By the time those homes were turned over yet again, they appreciated more. And so it's progressed. To the point of where (they are once again, a bit over priced). Hard to find a Calif. bargain unless in need of upgrading, rehab, etc.

The home mentioned above (is in a retirement community) was on the market for 600+ days, which is kind of curious. And perhaps it was overpriced for that situation, who knows. However, many people exit California upon retirement exactly because it's more affordable in Arizona. From the price of that home, I can see why. Would be hard (not impossible) just tough, to find a home for that amount in a retirement community in California. Which is because of the cost of living (gas, taxes, utilities, services etc.).
With apologies, I admit my mistake in over quoting what I guessed it had to have sold for, but after looking at the Estately website, I was certainly wrong.
texasluva Pacificsun 8 days ago
While our gas prices went below $1.40 a gallon a couple months ago (now today it is $1.82) CA is over $3.15 for regular unleaded. Everything is higher there by a long ways. Actually the drop in real estate prices in CA started over 10 years ago. They have come back some. Many lost their shirts by losing so much equity. After awhile who can afford a $600,000 home?
DJS3 13 days ago
I appreciate Lorne's love of the Ponderosa, but I'd be more impressed if he recreated the Battlestar Galactica. For the size of it, he could have opened it to the public as a Sci-Fi themed resort. 🚀🛸
mememememe66 13 days ago
475,000???
A modest home in suburbs in NY goes for 775,000!
Pacificsun mememememe66 13 days ago
Yeah the "Ponderosa" house in a gated community in Arizona, more likely sold for $4,000,000. At least. Celebrity ownership also adds value.
texasluva mememememe66 13 days ago
I looked at the property value chart of its location. Value in 2014 was around 400K, spiked around 2015-2016. Then dropped to its selling price in 2019. CA and AZ lost at one time 40-50% in value during a 5 year drop 2008 and beyond. CA residents all lost tons of value on homes and could not sell except for loss and many had to have homes foreclosed on. In 2003 I bought house in Texas for $116,000. CA same house set up was like $325,000. Then the $600,000 homes turned into $400,000 homes years later.
MC1707 texasluva 10 days ago
Always been Amazing to me how the price of changes across the USA. There’s a photo of a house that sold for $1 million plus In California. Seeing it made me I look it up out of curiosity, due to the exact same house where I live in Illinois would cost maybe, $100,000 to $115,000. This was 2019.
TomBurkhart MC1707 9 days ago
million $ houses here,and not even that fancy.......stupid people.
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