Our History

Babcock Ranch is and has been a place of possibility, a place where the lure of the land has been irresistible, a place for visionaries to embrace and fulfill their dreams.

Babcock, EST. 1914

Babcock is steeped in the McAdow family’s late 19th century visions of warmer climates and an easier way of living. The property, purchased in 1914 and held by the Babcock family for more than 90 years, was sold to Town Maker Kitson & Partners in 2006. Babcock Ranch has always held an allure all its own, a unique magnetism that has captivated forward thinking individuals who appreciate the uniqueness of the place.

The Babcock Family

After making their fortune in the Spotted Horse gold mines of Fergus County, Montana, the Perry McAdow family took to Southwest Florida’s warmer climes and purchased what is now Babcock Ranch in the late 1800’s. After settling at what they called the Crescent B Ranch, the family made their mark. By June, 1899, the Punta Gorda Bank was chartered by the state with capital of $15,000 and Perry Wadsworth McAdow as president. A one-story, brick façade corner storefront housed the bank with Earnest Dry Goods, the Punta Gorda Trading Company, Wade’s Drug Store, and McAdow Hall filling the remainder of the building. An avid horticulturalist, Mrs. McAdow proceeded to beautify downtown Punta Gorda.

Previous Land Use

In 1914, the 91,000-acre Crescent B Ranch was acquired by Edward Babcock, a Pittsburgh lumber magnate and politician. The renamed Babcock Ranch served as the base for the family’s timber business, the most prominent end-users being the diamond mines in South Africa that used the pine-based pitch to ward off termites. By the 1930’s, Edward’s son Fred was managing the property and became the face of Babcock Ranch. After Fred’s death in 1997, the heirs attempted to sell the property to the state. In 2005, discussions with the state were terminated. Enter Syd Kitson and Kitson & Partners.

  • Tree Farming
  • Limestone Farming
  • Vegetable Farming
  • Alligator Farming
  • Experimental Ostrich Breeding
  • Swamp Buggy Tours
  • Hunting Leases

2006 Land Purchase

On July 31, 2006, Kitson & Partners completed its purchase of Babcock Ranch from the Babcock family. On the same day, Kitson closed a $350 million deal with the State of Florida and Lee County for the largest single land preservation agreement in the state’s history. The agreement preserved 74,000 acres of the property, allowed ranching operations to continue, and provided Kitson with 17,000 acres, an area the size of Manhattan, for development. The transaction was crafted by Kitson & Partners Chairman and CEO Syd Kitson and required him to satisfy more than three dozen members of the Babcock family, the state, two counties, and numerous environmental groups.

The Buyer

Today, the town of Babcock Ranch that Syd Kitson envisioned is becoming a reality. Designed to accommodate 19,500 residences, an engaging downtown, numerous green spaces, lakes, and nature trails, Babcock Ranch will ultimately be home to approximately 50,000 residents.

Learn More About Syd Kitson

What Are We Doing For The Environment?

Restoration of Historical Green Ways

Maintenance of Surface Water Quality

Ecological Restoration of Disturbed Uplands

Functional Habitat Design for Wildlife

Enhancement of Wildlife Corridors

Habitat for Panther Migration

More than 80%

Of the Land Purchase Will Be Preserved