Thursday, March 16, 2017

Notes from Our Vacation - The Will Rogers State Historic Park

From February 22nd through March 13th, Agnes and I went on a cruise to Hawaii, with a few days on the end at San Diego and Los Angeles. Rather than one (or more) lengthy travelogues, I thought I'd do a few short posts with some of the highlights of the trip. Being in a contrary mood, I decided to begin with the last place we visited - the Will Rogers State Historic Park in Los Angeles.

We were visiting our son Matt, who lives in Los Angeles, and Matt - knowing that Will Rogers is my hero - punched his Good Son Ticket by taking us to the park, which is centered on the ranch house Rogers built and his wife Betty donated to the State of California in 1944, after Will's death.

This is the house (with Agnes enjoying one of the shaded rocking chairs on the front porch) ...

Unfortunately, we were only able to visit the original half of the house; the main living space (which is off to the right of the picture) was closed for some conservation work, and we were only able to see it on a video presentation.

The park ranger who conducted the tour did a great job of putting Will Rogers into historical context, and explaining his popularity in terms that young people in 2017 could understand ... he noted that Will combined skills as a professional cowboy, an actor, a radio personality, a newspaper commentator, a philanthropist, and - as we would think of it today - a blogger and master of humorous and satirical* Twitter commentary. Will Rogers was also a man well ahead of his time in his embracing of modern technology: his home featured an intercom system, full electric lighting, and an electric range and refrigerator (at a time when most homes used the traditional icebox). His willingness to use the latest technology led indirectly to his death in an airplane crash in Alaska in 1935.

Will Rogers was not only a funny and perceptive commentator, but a generous friend to everyone he met, and his philosophy was embodied in one of his most famous comments:

“I joked about every prominent man in my lifetime, but I never met one I didn’t like."

Wouldn't it be nice if more people nowadays had that attitude?

The park is mostly open land, and includes a polo field (Will Rogers, being a professional cowboy, loved to practice his riding and roping skills there) and a small visitor's center/museum and gift shop (which I, of course, patronized). Here's one of Will Rogers' classic comments that's immortalized in the museum ...

The Will Rogers State Historic Park - a wonderful monument to a truly great American, and a place I was delighted to visit!

Have a good day. Come back tomorrow for more Great Moments in Editing and Signage, and we'll continue the travelogue next week. More thoughts coming!


* Rather than bitter and nasty, as employed by the current occupant of the White House.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

Will Rogers was a great American! The airport in OKC is named after him.

Mike said...

The quote is still applicable today.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

What a nice non-touristy site!

allenwoodhaven said...

A good place to visit, especially for you. Glad to know about it now.