Waite Phillips gave 127,395 acres of his vast Philmont Ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico to the Boy Scouts of America in two gifts, one in 1938 and one in 1941. Developed as a wilderness camping area for Boy Scouts and Explorers, the property was named Philmont Scout Ranch and has since hosted more than 715,000 participants in backpacking and horseback riding expeditions.
Phillips was born on a small farm in Iowa in 1883. After completing his education, he joined his brothers in their Oklahoma oil business. In 1914, he organized his own oil company in Tulsa and sold it in 1925 for 25 million dollars cash.
The Philmont Ranch was started by Phillips in 1922. He derived the name from his own name and the Spanish word for mountain, "monte". The ranch emcompassed more than 300,000 acres of mountain and plains range land and ran over 3,000 head of cattle.
In the summer of 1925, Phillips and his wife, Genevieve, embarked on a Mediterranean cruise to gather architectual ideas for their residence on the ranch, the Villa Philmonte. Designed in the Spanish Mediterranean style, it was completed in 1927. It was home to the Phillipses during their vacations to the ranch each summer. The majority of the furnishings were acquired by the family during a 1926 trip to Europe.
The Villa and the ranch headquarters were included in the Phillips' gift to the BSA in 1941. Surrounding the "Big House" today are the facilities of the Philmont Training Center where each summer Scouters from across the nation participate in traing courses. The Villa has been restored to the time of Phillips' ownership and is maintained as a memorial to his generosity and foresight.
This used to be a swimming pool. Waite Phillips
The Scout Proclamation to Mr. Phillips. The inner courtyard.
The Living Room
The Dining Room
The Fountain Room
Mrs. Phillips' dressing room (complete with a wall safe) and the master bedroom.
The Upstairs Garden Room