Will Rogers State Historic Park

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Will Rogers State Historic Park
Will Rogers Park Trail.jpg
Hiking trail surrounding the park
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Will Rogers State Historic Park
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Will Rogers State Historic Park
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Will Rogers State Historic Park
Type State Park
Location Santa Monica mountains
Nearest city Los Angeles, California
Coordinates 34°03′22″N118°30′44″W / 34.05611°N 118.51222°W / 34.05611; -118.51222 Coordinates: 34°03′22″N118°30′44″W / 34.05611°N 118.51222°W / 34.05611; -118.51222
Area186 acres (75 ha)
Created1944 (1944)
Operated by California State Parks
Will Rogers House
Will Rogers House, Pacific Palisades.JPG
Location1501 Will Rogers State Park Road
Los Angeles, California
NRHP reference No. 71000149
Added to NRHPFebruary 24, 1971

Will Rogers State Historic Park is the former estate of American humorist Will Rogers. It lies in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles, in the Pacific Palisades area.



In what is now the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pacific Palisades, Rogers built his ranch, where he lived with his wife Betty and their three children, Will Jr., Mary and James. The 31-room ranch house, which includes 11 baths and seven fireplaces, is surrounded by a stable, corrals, riding ring, roping arena, golf course, polo field—and riding and hiking trails that give visitors views of the ranch and the surrounding countryside—186 acres (757,000 m²). The ranch became a State Park in 1944 after the death of Mrs. Rogers, and the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. [1]

California State Parks completed a major renovation of the ranch house in 2002-2006. The project included reconstruction of flagstone areas that surround the house, seismic safety work, replacement of electrical systems and installation of a new heating and air conditioning system. The house reopened to the public in March 2006.

Polo field and downtown Los Angeles from the park Polo field Will Rogers Historic Park Los Angeles 20160522 094403847.jpg
Polo field and downtown Los Angeles from the park

Beyond the ranch and the stables are the trails that lead to views of the countryside around the park. Since Will Rogers State Historic Park is on the tip of the Santa Monica Mountains, the trails have vistas of both the sea and the mountains. Visitors can hike to Inspiration Point, take the Rogers trail around the perimeter of the park or continue on into Topanga State Park via the Backbone Trail System.


Beyond the Rogers' home, the ranch reflects Will Rogers' roots in horsemanship, starting with the polo field, which is the first thing the visitor sees when looking south from the parking area.[ citation needed ] The field is the only outdoor polo field in Los Angeles County, and the only field that is regulation size. The ranch has been in many movies and television shows, including Star Trek IV , in which it stood in for Golden Gate Park. [2] The polo field features a gentle slope that forms an area for viewing the polo action. Up from the parking area are the ranch buildings, including the visitor center, which once was the Rogers' garage and ranch guest house. The visitor center features a film on the life of Will Rogers, photo mural displays, literature and an audio tour of the grounds.

The ranch buildings and grounds are maintained as they were when the Rogers family lived there in the late 1920s and 1930s. The living room of the main ranch house includes a collection of Native American rugs and baskets, and several original Western art works by Charles M. Russell and Ed Borein. It also features a porch swing in the center of the room and a mounted calf, which was given to Will Rogers to encourage him to rope the calf instead of his friends. The north wing of the house, also furnished in period, original family furnishings, contains the family bedrooms, Rogers' study, and the family parlor/sunroom.

Proposed closure

Will Rogers State Historic Park was one of the 48 California state parks proposed for closure in January 2008 by California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as part of a deficit reduction program. [3]

See also

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  1. Hill, Nancy Jo (January 28, 1989). "Will Rogers' Legacy : A Historic Park on the Site of the Family Ranch Stands as Memorial to the Cowboy Philosopher". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  2. http://www.filminamerica.com/Movies/StarTrek/04TheVoyageHome/
  3. CBS5.com: List Of Calif. Parks To Close In Budget Proposal Archived 2008-02-23 at the Wayback Machine