Wednesday, June 20, 2012

~Welcome to Woolaroc: Part 2~

Last week, I started sharing with you our weekend trip to Woolaroc; the rustic retreat that became a beautiful lodge/museum and game preserve built by Frank Phillips, co-founder of Phillips Petroleum.  Today's post is about our drive through the preserve with most photos being taken from the comfort of our pickup truck as the rules stated we must stay in our vehicles while traveling through the preserve.  I must admit that there are alot of photos and this post is rather long, but there's just so much I wanted to share with you.  Think of it as a little vacation without having to leave the comforts of your home!  So, are you ready?  Come on, let's get started!

When you enter (and leave) the preserve, you are greeted by a statue of an Indian....the red man.  Did you know that name Oklahoma is derived from the Choctaw words..."okla", which means people and "humma", which means red?  At the time the preserve was built, Wild West shows and Western movies were quite the rage and Mr. Phillips was intrigued as well.  Building a place with the Western/Indian theme is quite fitting in a state known as Indian Territory.

In this photo, we have a a prairie dog village, a water buffalo and a "zony" (cross between a zebra and a pony).  Other wildlife you might see at Woolaroc also include longhorn cattle, ostriches, Sika deer, Fallow deer, buffalo, elk, Highland cattle, llamas and zebras.  We didn't see very many animals on this trip as most of them were probably in other pastures where it is cooler and offers more shade.

 There are several lakes on Woolaroc.  I don't know if all were man made.  I find it amusing that the lake on the left is called Stone Lake while the one on the right is called Swan Lake.  I don't know if this bridge has walls underneath to separate the two or if there is a spillway that separates one from the other.

Looking far over the right, we spotted this lovely little waterfall around the bend.

 This is the Welcome Center.  The top photo is the backside of the center.  The grounds are immaculate and lovely all the way around.

Mr. Phillips began purchasing bronze statues around 1929.  Several of these statues were purchased around 1940 from the E.W. Marland estate; he was a very prosperous oil tycoon who lived in Ponca City, which is west of Woolaroc.

 This is the museum.  The original hanger was built in 1929 as a place for Mr. Phillips to store his gifts, relics and collection of 'oddities'.  As the collection grew, the hanger turned into a showroom and then into the museum.  I believe the left side is the original building and the expansion took place in 1945.

We didn't have time to tour the museum on the day of our visit, but this excerpt from the website says it all:
"The Woolaroc Museum presents one of America's most unique displays of Western art and artifacts; Native American pottery, baskets, beads, blankets and cultural art; historical displays and one of the most complete collections of Colt firearms. It is one of the most outstanding western art collections in the world that also represents the culture and lifestyles of the people and peoples of America and the American West." ~

 Mr. Phillips was enamored by the Indian culture and had the entry into the museum decorated with Indian inspired drawings that came from an ancient tribe known as the Spiro people.  There was a strong mutual respect and bond between Mr. Phillips and the Indian people.  It was on their land that he found oil but he always dealt honestly with them and gave them the deference they so well deserved.  As a result, the Osage Indians officially adopted Mr. Phillips into the tribe giving him the name of "Hulah-Kihe-Kah"; the name of the chief's deceased son.  He was the only white man to ever have this honor of adoption.

 The first oil derricks were made of wood.  This is a replica of one of the many that dotted the Oklahoma landscape.  It was built to celebrate Bartlesville's centennial and moved to Woolaroc in 2001.

 Taking the drive from the museum to the lodge, you find this.  Yes, Frank Phillips and his wife, Jane, are buried at Woolaroc.

 The story goes that on a drive back to town one day, Mr. Phillips spotted this little area on the side of the hill and declared that this would be "where we are going to be buried".  Sure enough, after the death of Jane Phillips (his wife), 23 acres were set aside to build a mausoleum.  To begin construction, 18 feet of sandstone had to be sandblasted.  The construction took about a year to complete as it is not just any ordinary mausoleum.  It includes air conditioning and a telephone.
 This is the side view of the lodge.  After gleaning ideas and plans from ranches and lodges in our state and in the Southwest, construction began in 1925.  This palatial lodge is made up of eight guest bedrooms; connecting bedrooms for Mr. and Mrs. Phillips; and Mr. Phillips servant's bedrooms.  All with their own private bathroom.

This photo was taken from the Woolaroc website.  This is the main living room.  The walls of the lodge are covered with mounted heads taken from the Woolaroc ranch.  None are hunting trophies but rather from the Ranch animals as they died of natural causes,  There are 97 heads and 107 sets of horns.

 The Phillips' family spent many a day at this retreat, but they also had the privilege of entertaining many guests.  Dignitaries, movie legends, wealthy friends and business associates, Indian friends and leaders, and even the general public. In Mr. Phillips' latter years, he spent much of his time sitting on the porch enjoying the beauty of what he had been able to have created.

 From the porch, you have this beautiful view of Crystal Lake.  I believe this was created from Crystal Springs that runs through the preserve.  The lake is not open to the public but can be rented for special events.  When we were there, it was being set up for a wedding reception.

Frank Phillips was an extremely wealthy man but he was also a great philanthropist.  He gave away over three-fourths of his personal wealth (millions and millions) before he died.  He created a foundation for the sole purpose of aiding religious and charitable organizations, schools and educational institutions, and for scientific research in a variety of ways.  His legacy continues with Woolaroc.  A place he called home in the middle of the Osage hills in Oklahoma.

A lot of the information I shared with you came from the book, Frank's Fancy: Frank Phillips' Woolaroc.  It is interesting to read of the wheelings and dealings, the ups and downs, successes and failures that took place during the building of Wooalroc.  If you would like to learn more about this wonderful place, you can find it on their website:

If you're ever in or near Oklahoma, you must stop by for a visit!  You'll be glad you did.  So...what interesting places have you visited lately?

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Note:  Neither Woolaroc or the Phillips' Foundation know me from Adam.  I am not being compensated in any way.  I shared this with you because I find it so interesting and hope that you enjoy it as much as we have.


Kerin said...

Wowie! What a place!

The lodge is very cool... even with all those stuffed heads.

I'm glad that he got to enjoy the fruits of his labor before he passed away.

If I ever make it to Oklahoma... this would be a great place to visit!!

Thanks for sharing your pictures, and all the great info. too :)

Smiles :)

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

So pretty and green. What a lovely log and stone home. How I would love to live somewhere like that. They were truly lucky folks.

Carol said...

What a wonderful place to visit! It just looks like some place I'd really enjoy.
Thanks for taking me along!

My Vintage Mending said...

Isn't it amazing the beauty our country beholds and so much of it in our own backyard. Another beautiful place is Dogwood Canyon. Very near the Mo. Arkansas border. Just amazing...smiles...Renee

Erica of Golden Egg Vintage said...

It looks like an amazing place to visit Velma. Thank you for taking us along with you!
Erica :)

Sam I Am...... said...

Awesome! Thank you so much for taking the time to post it all. Taht was absolutely fascinating and something I didn't know!

TinaTx said...

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!


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