Fans Rally To Save Iconic “Misty of Chincoteague” Home From Developers

Two of Misty’s descendants graze near the original home, which still stands at Beebe Ranch on Chincoteague Island.

<p>Museum of Chincoteague Island</p>

Museum of Chincoteague Island

The race is on to save a cherished piece of literary history on Chincoteague Island.

The ranch that inspired Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague is up for sale, and a local museum is asking for help protecting the iconic property from eager real estate developers.

The beloved 1947 novel is based on the Beebe family and their purchase of Misty and her mother, Phantom, during Chincoteague Island's annual Pony Swim. It was adapted into a movie, Misty, in 1961.

<p>Museum of Chincoteague Island</p>

Museum of Chincoteague Island

The real-life Beebe property, which at one time spanned more than 100 acres, currently sits just over 10 acres. It is owned by siblings Barbara and Billy Beebe, who grew up on the property and helped care for Misty, her foals, and the other 150 ponies that grazed there. Two of Misty’s descendants graze near the original home.

<p>Museum of Chincoteague Island</p>

Museum of Chincoteague Island

“Billy is turning 70 and Barbara is in her 80s,” Cindy Faith, executive director of Museum of Chincoteague Island, explained to Southern Living. “They are not physically or financially able to keep up with the duties of the ranch. They reached out to the Museum of Chincoteague Island to see if it was possible for the museum to purchase it and protect it. We are honored that they asked.”

In March, the museum started a fundraising campaign to match the $625,000 offer from developers.

Faith said that they’ve received an outpouring of support and donations from around the world.

"It is a tremendous gift people are showing us, not just the donations but the hundreds of letters expressing encouragement, stories of how Chincoteague is a treasured vacation spot for their families or how Misty and Marguerite Henry made such an impact on their childhood,” she said.

As of May 20, the museum had raised $475,000—enough to put the Beebe Ranch under contract with a closing date of June 30th. They still have $150,000 to go.

“Our hope is to have all the funds by the closing date, but rest assured, we will continue fundraising until we are successful,” Faith wrote on the effort’s GoFundMe page.

Organizers are still seeking donations to the Museum of Chincoteague Island, with notations that donations are to help “Save the Beebe Ranch." You can send checks to P.O. Box 352, Chincoteague, VA 23336. Credit card donations can be received through the museum website at

For more information, call the museum at (757) 336-6117.

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Read the original article on Southern Living.