Cherokee Nation is buying the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch in Oologah from the state of Oklahoma for a price to be disclosed later.
"It was very fitting that we did this on Will Rogers’ birthday. He said that being a Cherokee was his proudest possession, and I think if he were here today, he’d be very proud of the Cherokee Nation and the state of Oklahoma," Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said by phone after a ceremony formalizing their acquisition at the ranch Wednesday morning.
The 400-acre ranch is home to cattle, goats, donkeys, horses and a peacock, along with the home Will Rogers was born in, dubbed the "White House on the Verdigirs." Rogers was born there Nov. 4, 1879, as the youngest of eight children. Oklahoma’s favorite son was one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors in the 1930s.
The ranch will be Cherokee Nation’s eighth museum. They plan to spend money on repairs and upgrades, and on marketing the ranch to tourists.
"We have a wide array of historic sites that I think we’re better positioned, frankly, than the state to take into the next 100 years of quality experience for people when they come to the site," Hoskin said.
In 2016, Cherokee Nation acquired Sequoyah’s Cabin from the state, and it re-acquired the Saline Courthouse in the late 1980s.