Will Rogers, Cherokee Cowboy Humorist from Oklahoma
The Will Rogers Memorial Museums in Claremore, The Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch in Oolagah, and Will Rogers Gardens in Oklahoma City offer three opportunities to discover the legacy of America’s favorite cowboy humorist. His early years in Oklahoma helped him communicate to a wide audience across the United States and beyond and brought smiles to worldwide. No wonder President Franklin Delano Roosevelt arranged for Will Rogers to speak to the public before his “fireside chats.” His popularity was instrumental in creating public cohesion during a time when scores of people were clutched by deep worries or despair due to the fears brought on by war.
The Will Rogers Memorial Museums, in the midsize small town of Claremore, are tailor-made for tourists, families, and school field trips. Not only do the Museums include an impressive array of Will Rogers’s saddles, art gifted by major Western artists, and films and historic mementos, but the basement provides a festive wonderland intended especially for children to play. It is divided into distinctly decorated rooms, similar to American Girl Place, where students can imagine what it was like to live during Will Rogers’s lifetime and even take their pictures with a life-size cut-out of the famous cowboy humorist.
His Boyhood Ranch Home
About 20 minutes’ drive from the Will Rogers Memorial Museums is his birthplace in the sparsely populated ranch town of Oolagah, where Rogers lived in his younger years. Visitors can tour the first floor to see the Rogers family lifestyle while listening to audio narration recorded by Will Rogers, Jr.
Adjacent to the house is a barn with barnyard animals, such as pygmy goats, mules and even a proud peacock. The house has a view of a small peaceful lake and is surrounded by ranch lands with grazing horses and longhorn cattle.
Will Rogers Gardens is a little farther away in Oklahoma City, so you can either add it to the same day as the Museums and Birthplace or just make a day of visiting it and other fun things to do in sprawling Oklahoma City. While in Oklahoma City, you might enjoy stopping by two other literary landmarks there. Click here for information: Angie Debo in Oklahoma City and Ralph Ellison in Oklahoma City
Try visiting willrogers.com online and then two or three locations in a day. Then watch his films. Make it a Will Rogers marathon!
(Also see the California page for Will Rogers.)
The Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch is the fourth stop on our Oklahoma Author Adventures Trail and the Will Rogers Memorial Museums in Claremore are the fifth.