Will Rogers’ Pacific Palisades ranch to reopen

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Artifacts are carefully re-hung in the original ranch home owned by Will Rogers. Photo courtesy of California State Parks

More than 70 years after Will Rogers’ untimely death, his Pacific Palisades ranch, which became a state historic park after his widow’s death in 1944, underwent a 10-year plan to restore the ranch and grounds to its original appearance during Rogers’ ownership in the 1930s.

On Saturday, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the Rogers family and the Will Rogers Cooperative Association will host a celebration of the restoration at the Will Rogers State Historic Park.

The event will include a rededication ceremony with state officials, celebrities and members of the Rogers family, a Masonic Cornerstone Ceremony at the newly built Jim Rogers Barn, trail rides, a polo demonstration by the Will Rogers Polo Club and performances by trick ropers.

Live entertainment featuring music by The Lost Canyon Rangers, winners of the Academy of Western Artists’ “Will Rogers 2005 Rising Star Cowboy Award,” will accompany a Western-style barbeque catered by Calamigos Ranch.

Rogers built the ranch in the 1920s in what is now Pacific Palisades as a place where he could relax with his family and friends, and enjoy riding and roping, according to the California Department of Parks and Recreation Web site.

At the time of Rogers’ death, the ranch included a 31-room ranch house, a stable, corrals, a riding ring, a roping arena, a polo field, a golf course and hiking trails.

The restoration celebration will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m. Admission is free. 1501 Will Rogers State Historic Park Road, off Sunset Boulevard in Pacific Palisades. There will be no onsite parking. Information on the event and the park can be obtained by visiting the web site, www.parks.ca.gov/willrogers or by calling 916.651.9523.