Tulsa is loaded with photo opportunities and incredible scenery. You will definitely “get your kicks on Route 66”. Visits on this Interlude include both the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch and the Will Rogers Memorial Museum. There is not a review that did not articulate how serenely beautiful both were. The birthplace ranch is a log-walled, two-story, post-Civil War home built in 1875. The house is an example of the vernacular interpretation of the Greek Revival style of architecture typical throughout the South and is where Will Rogers was born November 4, 1879, son of a Cherokee senator, judge, and cattleman. The birthplace house is authentically conserved and open to visitors. Also featured on the property is an era-correct rustic barn with a climate-controlled classroom with video program operating all day. Amazing!
With Will Rogers’ untimely death, debate began quickly on how best to honor America’s Cowboy Philosopher. Discussion on the location of where to build a monument or memorial was at the top of the list. Betty Rogers made the final decision of Claremore, Oklahoma because of the 20 acres they had bought in 1911 on a beautiful hill in Claremore, where they had planned on having a home after retirement.
The ranch house design by John Duncan Forsythe was chosen and the Memorial was to be built with native limestone and with granite shipped from Vermont for the rotunda floor. The centerpiece would be a Jo Davidson statue of Will Rogers.
Ground was broken on April 21st, 1938 dedicated on November 4th, 1938, the 59th birthday of Will Rogers. The dedication ceremony was heard around the country on the radio with President Franklin Roosevelt giving a touching tribute to Will and the new Memorial.
When the Memorial s opened to the public it was almost bare – except for the Jo Davidson statue. The crowds that came to pay their respects were large and Will’s wife Betty ended up giving a major portion of memorabilia to the Memorial. Over time, the Memorial has become a world class museum as paintings, sculptures and other artifacts were added to the collection. In 1982, a new wing was added with a theater, library, office space and exhibit space. The children’s area was dedicated in 1995.
As you will see, today the Will Rogers Memorial Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Will Rogers memorabilia and his entire collection of writings. The wit and wisdom of Will lives on!
Will Rogers was originally buried in California, but in 1942 a new sunken garden was built in front of the Memorial and Will Rogers was interred there in 1944. Betty, died a few months later and was also buried in the tomb.
Please review the itinerary of this fantastic Oklahoma Interlude and plan on enjoying the wit and wisdom of Will Rogers – it is not only funny but often… inspiring.
Some words from Will:
· Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
· Never let yesterday use up too much of today.
· If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.
Join us and learn more about Will Rogers and so much more.
Eadie, Interlude Blog Team
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