Woolaroc Museum

Bartlesville, Oklahoma | C.1925

Photo Credit: Aric S. Queen

What provoked Will Rogers to call Osage, Oklahoma’s woods, lakes and rocks “the most unique place” in America? That’s easy: the combined preservation of natural scenery and national history on display at the wild-western world of Woolaroc Museum.

This hidden national treasure owes many-a-thanks to Uncle Frank (aka: Frank Phillips, co-founder of Phillips Petroleum Company) a successful oilman, decorated Chevalier, adopted chief of the Osage Indians, and an Oklahoma Hall of Famer.

In 1927, Uncle Frank sponsored two planes to compete in the Dole Air Race from California to Hawaii. One of the planes aborted the race due to mechanical issues, but the other, named “Woolaroc” after the bountiful land of Uncle Frank’s home in Osage County — won the transpacific contest.

After being crowned champion and spending some time in the Hawaiian sun, “Woolaroc” came home to Uncle Frank’s sprawling ranch where it was soon surrounded by decorative guns, Native American relics, and other artisanal crafts of the Wild Wild West. Uncle Frank’s “little airplane museum” soon grew to become the 50,000-sq. ft. museum it is today.

Aside from being home to a historic airplane and 3,700 acres of wildlife, Woolaroc Museum is also home to the Pioneer Woman models, the result of a competition to create miniature sculptures by 12 different artists, which toured the country and crowned a victor in a national vote. Adventurers to the wild-west world of Woolaroc can see the winning piece on display alongside the other 11 contenders.

With its collection of Western artifacts, exotic wildlife and sprawling scenery, Woolaroc is unquestionably worthy of wonder. But is it “the most unique place in the country”? Let us know after your visit.

:memo: Written by: Sam Jacobson

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