The house at Peaceful Valley Ranch is the only original ranch house remaining in the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Today’s visitors might drop in to Peaceful Valley for a guided horseback ride, which has been a popular activity there since it was first offered in 1918. Like many historic sites, Peaceful Valley Ranch has seen its share of residents and guests coming and going, has undergone changes that reflect the changing needs of its occupants, and stands as a tangible reminder of a bygone era.
In its early days, the land where Peaceful Valley Ranch is today changed hands quickly and ambiguously, for no one in those days legally owned the land and little documentation exists. The earliest Euro-American settler to live in the area that became the Peaceful Valley Ranch was Eldridge “Gerry” Paddock in 1883. Paddock shot wild game and sold it to the railroad, and became a close associate of the Marquis de Morès. Theodore Roosevelt first came to the badlands in September of 1883. In December of that year, Norman Lebo moved in and was the sole occupant of Paddock’s original 14’ x 16’ cabin by 1884.