Legacy of Will Rogers Lives on at Historic Park

This young participant managed to amaze roping expert Will Roberts during Family Day at the State Park.
Photo: Rich Schmitt/CTN

More than 300 visitors stopped by Will Rogers State Historic Park on August 13 for Family Day.

The five hour event started with a polo match and then  included tours of the historic ranch house, a scavenger hunt, button making and mechanical horse races.

After watching Brad Langenberg give horse demonstrations, about 65 visitors tried their hands at roping.

Will Rogers State Historic Park Interpreter Archivist Bill Hall said that many Palisades families attended and included one of his favorite cashiers from Vons, Mary, who came for the day with her daughter.

“They participated in all of the events, and her daughter even won a prize during the sack races,” Hamm said. “When they left, Mary said, ‘thank you for the perfect end to the summer break.’” LAUSD started school the next day.

Even though public school has started, there are still numerous activities available in the park, including hiking, picnicking and touring Will’s famous ranch house..

Those attending Will Rogers Family Day saw horse demonstrations by Brandon Langenberg and were allowed to get close to the equines.
Photo: Rich Schmitt/CTN


Hamm said the park is fundraising to replace 22 legacy trees that were felled between January and March. First, several years of drought and then heavy rains this past winter, caused them to topple.

Most of the historic trees were planted by Will Rogers and his crew prior to 1929, meaning that many of them will be turning 100 years old, shortly.

“The family recalled planting 5-gallon specimens along the roads and fence lines. Will used the trees (eucalyptus and pepper) to organize space at the ranch, defining paths of circulation and helping to separate spaces,” Hamm said. He’s asking for Palisadians to help donate to replace the trees.



The park allows the public to experience nature firsthand. The ranch is nestled up against the Santa Monica Mountains.

Hamm said, “The park offers the best recreational value I know of. Just pay for parking ($3/hour) and you can picnic, hike the one hour Inspiration Point loop, take a docent guided tour of the historic house (Thursday through Sunday), watch polo matches Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m., make advance reservations to ride horses (click here) and experience the park just as Will Rogers and his family did in the 1920’s and 30’s.”

Residents are invited to join the Will Rogers Ranch Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to honoring the legacy of Will Rogers. It is an all-volunteer organization, supported by the Rogers family, the Will Rogers Cooperative Association, long-time ranch advocates, the local community and Will Roger fans click here.

Everyone tried their hand at roping during Family Day at Will Rogers Historic Park.                      Photo: Rich Schmitt/CTN


New docent volunteers are being sought to lead ranch house tours that are given free to the general public Thursday through Sunday. Docent training begins in September and will offer a chance for people to learn about Will Rogers. “An amazing man that too few people remember or know about,” Hamm said.

Sign up or get more information at WR.interp@parks.ca.gov or call (310) 230-2017.

Docents are needed to give tours of the ranch.
Photo: Rich Schmitt/CTN

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