Sunday, September 15, 2013

Woolaroc Ranch, Bartlesville, OK

After being told about Woolaroc by a friend, Jean had been wanting to visit for a couple years. Now that we were only 13 miles from there (from Birch Lake), and it would be a great opportunity for the girls, we took a day to visit the ranch and museum.

Water Lilies
Frank Phillips (1873-1950) was a successful oil and bond speculator, who founded Phillips Petroleum (marketed as Phillips 66),in Bartlesville, OK, not too far north of where we were camping. While located in Oklahoma, like many successful enterprises, their holdings were incorporated in Delaware.

The Phillips' Woolaroc Ranch House
Frank Phillips loved everything Western, and wanted to preserve a bit of the
West that he had known as a young man before the turn of the century. With the success of his oil interests, he purchased 3,700 acres of land near Bartlesville and began stocking it in 1925 with one of the largest collections of wildlife and birds in the country. These were used to populate what he would call Woolaroc Ranch and Preserve. Including a herd of American Bison (buffalo) from South Dakota, elk from Montana, longhorn cattle, Japanese sika deer, Northern European fallow deer, water buffalo, llamas, Sardinian donkeys, ostriches, African mountain goats, and others, they all roam freely through the hills. Many can be seen as one drives two miles from the gate to the Woolaroc museum. The museum holds one of the world’s most unique collections of Western art, cultural artifacts, and Western firearms.

Woolaroc Ranch House Dining Room
Next to the museum is the Woolaroc Lodge and Ranch House on a ridge overlooking Clyde Lake. The lodge was started in 1925, and includes eight bedrooms, a spacious sitting area adorned with Western items, 97 wildlife heads and 107 sets of horns, and a dining hall. The lodge served as Frank and Jane Phillips’ home, and was also where many of his business deals were closed as business associates and friends enjoyed their hospitality. Woolaroc still operates as a functioning ranch to provide a home for and sustain the wildlife there. If you make your way to Oklahoma, a Woolaroc visit should be put on the “must-see” list, and plan to dedicate a full day to the visit.

If you want to have a view from your patio, this one isn't bad---
across the prairie and down to Clyde Lake.

We took enough pictures that there are way too many to incorporate into a couple short posts, so there will be a wildlife post day, birdhouse post day, and museum post day. I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed the visit.

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