WILL ROGERS STATE PARK
n the early 1930s, Will Rogers was the most popular and highest paid actor in Hollywood. From his start in vaudeville theater with a trick roping act, he rose to world-wide fame as a columnist, philosopher, radio personality, and movie star. During the 1920s, he bought land in Santa Monica, where he developed a ranch. Eventually, the Rogers? owned 186 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in what is now known as Pacific Palisades. The ranch became the place where Will Rogers could relax with his family and friends, pursuing his favorite pastimes of riding and roping. At his untimely death in a plane crash in 1935, Will Rogers? ranch consisted of a 31-room ranch house, a stable, corrals, riding ring, roping arena, polo field, golf course, and hiking trails. When his widow, Betty, died in 1944, the ranch became a state park.
The Park is undergoing a major historic renovation project that will restore the landscape to its appearance during Will Rogers? time. In the past two years, the Department has restored the ranch house and completed significant portions of the landscape restoration program. Over the next several years, the Department will be restoring the historic structures and relocating the maintenance facilities away from the historic zone. Details of the restoration program may be found in the Historic Landscape Management Plan.