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7 August 2012 / leggypeggy

Woolaroc Lodge—a real western home

Woolaroc, the ranch built by Frank Phillips, is made up of three parts. There’s the magnificent museum, a wildlife preserve and a fully furnished lodge.

I’ve already written about the museum with its vast collection of American Western art and artefacts. There are all kinds of Native American pottery, baskets and beads, as well as impressive paintings and sculptures by leading western artists. There’s also a large collection of Colt firearms.

The 3700 acres of wildlife preserve are home to about 30 species of native and exotic animals—from bisons to zebras.

But the lodge is one of my favourite spots. This rustic ranch house was completed in 1927. It has eight bedrooms, a huge dining room and spacious entertaining areas. It was here that Mr Phillips welcomed East Coast investors, local Native American tribal leaders, and more than a few outlaws, bank bandits and train robbers.

The furnishing are a classic lodge style—and include an array of typically western gifts and artworks.

And then there are the stuffed animals. These are not hunting trophies. As animals from the wildlife preserve died from natural causes, their heads and horns were mounted and used as decorations. There are 97 heads and 107 sets of horns.

A long-time volunteer guide was there the day we stopped by. He was full of stories and tales that helped to bring the rooms and their contents to life. One story I particularly liked was about Mrs Phillips. She had a rather large photo gallery of friends in her bedroom. Your picture might hang there forever, but if you crossed her or made her cross, you got hung in the hall.

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