It’s time for some good news. Misty of Chincoteague lovers around the world have issued a collective sigh of relief. After twelve weeks of frantic fundraising and help from philanthropist David Landsberger (who agreed to match $100,000 in donations), the Museum of Chincoteague raised more than $450,000 and the Beebe Ranch is under contract with a closing date of June 30th. While the entire amount of money raised to date is not complete, it was enough to secure a contract.
“For a lot of people, there probably was concern that we weren’t going to be successful, because we did have such a short amount of time to raise the funds. We have signed a contract. The closing will be on June 30th . So, we are going to continue the fundraising. If we are lucky enough, we will have all the funds we need by that date. If not, we will continue plugging away at fundraisers. We have several other things to do in mind, ourselves.”Cindy Faith, Museum of Chincoteague Director
Faith says this new development in the effort to save the Beebe Ranch isn’t just a win for the Museum; it was the ultimate dream of the Beebe family to see the property preserved, in fact, they agreed to sell the ranch to the Museum even though developers offered the family hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the final selling price.
The Power of Belief
With the clock ticking, many people thought the efforts to raise money were fruitless. What naysayers didn’t take into account is the huge number of Misty fans worldwide.
“I’m amazed at the love and the energy that we are getting,” said Faith. “The letters we’re getting in the mail are amazing. People have sent in, sometimes very small checks, sometimes big. But, they all come with this incredible story of how Misty of Chincoteague changed their lives.”
“I knew we were doing something that we thought was locally very important. But, I have been enlightened. It is important to people – hundreds of thousands of people all over the cou
Museum Director Faith says improvements are planned for the property while keeping its historic charm in place.
“We don’t want to change the feel of the property. We want to keep it mostly pasture land. There is an inkling of an idea of adding a walking trail in the back of the property,” said Faith.
Another idea, is to rebuild the barn that used to sit on the property. It burned down in 2019. Faith says the newly constructed building could be larger, and include educational space.
“We’ve promised to the Beebe family that the Misty descendants can stay there on the property. They need a proper place to live. So, we do want to rebuild the barn,” said Faith. “That is something down the road. This year, it’s just buy the property, maintain it, take care of it, secure it, and then next year we can talk about all the wonderful things to get folks to come out to the ranch, and kind of relive the whole story of Misty.”
Donations Still Needed
While they’ve cleared a major hurdle, the Museum still needs your help to renovate and maintain the ranch. Save the Beebe Ranch donations can be made through the Museum of Chincoteague Island website, GoFundMe.
“We are getting letters from folks all around the country, other countries,” said Faith. “I knew we were doing something that we thought was locally very important. But, I have been enlightened. It is important to people – hundreds of thousands of people all over the country.”