Growing up, Douglas Box knew his family was unlike most other broods.

His father was, after all, Cloyce Box, a WWII U.S. Marine Corps captain-turned-NFL champion who played for the Detroit Lions before launching a storied career as a successful oil man. “I knew he was this extraordinary guy and that he’d done extraordinary things just by virtue of the fact that we were living out there,” he said.

By “out there,” 61-year-old Box is referring to the stately, sprawling ranch house and acreage near the intersection of Preston Road and Main Street in Frisco. Known back then as Box Ranch, the homestead gained worldwide fame when it served as the original Southfork Ranch during the first season of the megahit CBS television show Dallas.

However, a series of tragic events – including a fire in the late 1980s that destroyed the house, bad business deals, and the elder Box’s unexpected death in 1993 – all but decimated the family’s bond along with its fortunes.

Still, Douglas Box persevered. In the years since, the Dallas resident has penned a pair of books – the first titled “Cutter Frisco: Growing Up on the Original Southfork Ranch,” followed by “Texas Patriarch: The Rise and Fall of a Family Empire.”

Box will discuss the books and share tidbits about his life and family when he speaks during a special event being hosted by the Celina Public Library at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 17 inside Celina Council Chambers, 112 N. Colorado St. The public is invited to attend. Admission is free.

“Cutter Frisco” touches on the notoriety the family and ranch received courtesy of the television show, he said, while “Texas Patriarch” is “a cautionary tale” that details the life of Cloyce Box, as well as the missteps that led to legal battles resulting from the family’s business dealings, which ultimately caused major rifts between Douglas Box and his three older brothers.
These days, Box said he is struck with sadness whenever he drives past his family’s former home, which was in the process of being rebuilt when Cloyce Box died of a heart attack at age 70. Construction ceased at the site, and the property fell into foreclosure before being sold to businessman Baxter Brinkmann (it is now known as Brinkmann Ranch).

For decades, the house’s unfinished steel frame has seemingly sat suspended in time as the city of Frisco has flourished around it.

“It just pulls at my heartstrings. I literally grew up there. I learned how to swim there, I learned how to ride a bike there, I learned how to shoot a gun there,” Box said. “It’s very hard for me to drive by the ranch and not have a key to the front gate anymore and go in there, because it was my home. … It was in my family for decades. It was … our nucleus, and it was the center of my dad’s world.”

Click Here For The Celina Public Library Calendar for May 2018

Douglas Box FREE author lecture 7pm, Thursday, May 17 @ Council Chambers.