Friday, September 11, 2009

Woolaroc - The Museum

Woolaroc was the 3,700 acre (1,498 hectare) ranch of Frank Phillips, one of three Phillips brothers who founded the Phillips Petroleum Company in 1917. This ranch and the lavish log cabin mansion which he called his "Hunting Lodge" was begun in 1925. As Frank acquired artifacts and interesting animals the museum and animal park evolved until in 1938 a professional museum director was hired to oversee the collection. Although Frank died in 1950, the museum has continued to grow and expand under the direction of the Frank Phillips Foundation.

The main part of the museum is faced with native sandstone. It has been expanded several times and features a two story display of the historic Woolaroc airplane that flew non-stop from Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii in twenty-six hours, seventeen minutes on August 24-25, 1927. There is an excellent Woolaroc website which is well worth reading. The section with the history is HERE.

Native sandstone was very commonly used as a building material around the time that the museum was built. I have never seen stones pieced together so tightly that almost no mortar is visible.

The large bronze statue is titled "Giving Thanks for Rain". It is a recognition of the disastrous drought of the dust bowl days of the 1930s.

This is a recent addition to the several museum buildings on site. It combines the log cabin and sandstone style of the older buildings. This is nice stone work but does not have the tight fit of the originals. This kind of stone work is visible all over the ranch, even on road drainage and culverts.

But where are the pictures from inside the museum you may ask? Well, the truth is that we didn't go inside, we just drove around the ranch and took pictures of the animals. It was too hot to leave Smokey in the car and Susan did not feel up to pushing me around in my chair so we did all our picture taking from inside the car. You will have to wait for another time.


Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Fascinating blog but the bit that jumped out at me was the airplane that took 27 hours to fly from Hawaii to the mainland. My daughter started her journey home to England yesterday and I'm rather glad the planes have speeded up since 1927. I find it totally gobsmacking that such progress has been made in my lifetime.


DrillerAA said... [Reply to comment]

I was always amazed at the stone work of Woolaroc. As an architect, I am in awe of the craftsmanship.