Historic photo of Misty of Chincoteague with Beebe family member Billy Beebe. Courtesy of Museum of Chincoteague Island Facebook page.

Misty of Chincoteague Ranch Put for Sale; Museum Rallies to Preserve it

Chincoteague Island is indisputably best known for its herd of wild ponies, and the story of the ponies is known far and wide thanks to the popularity of a 1947 book—Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague. The book tells the story of a real island family, the Beebes. In the story, siblings Paul and Maureen Beebe live on a ranch and overcome the challenge of buying the wild pony we now know as Misty.

The story is so inspiring it won a Newbery Honor and became a six-volume series with over five million copies sold in the U.S.

The Museum of Chincoteague Island’s exhibit holds the taxidermy body of Misty herself, along with artifacts from Beebe Ranch. Photo courtesy of the museum.

After 100 years, the Beebe ranch is up for sale. The family is aging, and the ranch is hard to keep up. Still, tourists and pony lovers still tour the property every year.

That’s where the Museum of Chincoteague Island comes in. Its leaders have just launched an effort to buy the ranch to preserve it and use it as an extension of the museum.

The remaining 10.3 acres of the ranch is where Misty spent most of her life and the Beebe’s original home still stands.

The Beebe family reached out to the museum in hopes they could acquire and preserve it. The museum has one month to try to raise the funds to purchase the property.

The Museum of Chincoteague Island has launched what it calls “a colossal grassroots effort” to crowdfund the sale.

Their goal is $625,000, as they say a developer already offered that sum to the Beebe family. If the museum is successful, they say, they can “preserve the ranch for future generations, keep a treasured part of Chincoteague intact and support the mission of the museum to protect our history.”

Interested folks can make a tax-deductible donation to the Museum of Chincoteague Island by mail at PO Box 352 Chincoteague, Va 23336, through their website, or on the GoFundMe page launched for this effort.

As of Monday, the total collected through all donation channels was up to $35,000.

-Meg Walburn Viviano