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Campus News
Week of July 30, 2001

University Notes Historical Moment at Mansion Stables


Dressed in traditional Arabian garb, Elizabeth Kroutil rides Ama Fire as part of the 75th anniversary celebration of the Kellogg Arabian horse herd.


Kroutil takes Ama Fire for a celebratory ride around the ring.


Fire Tu, a 21 year old Arabian, looks on during the festivities.

W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library curator Melissa Paul had a lot to deal with on Friday, July 13. She had been planning an event to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the day that W.K. Kellogg moved his fledgling herd of purebred Arabians into their new stables, but things just weren’t working out.

“I have a few announcements to make,” she said to a crowd of about 150 Arabian horse aficionados who had gathered in the old stables to celebrate move-in day and pay homage to the lasting contributions the Kellogg Arabians have made to the breed. “The main scheduled speakers, W.K. Kellogg’s grandsons John and Norm Williamson, cannot be here today. And neither can Mary Kay Parkinson, author of ‘The Kellogg Arabian Ranch: the First Sixty Years.’ We are truly without our main speakers today.”

Despite these setbacks, it was a wonderful event. Guests were treated to an anecdotal presentation of Kellogg “moments,” rare displays of historic photographic memorabilia and a broadcast of the dedication ceremony in which Mr. Kellogg gave his grant the first time to the University of California. The broadcast, which hasn’t been heard since 1932, featured humorist Will Rogers as master of ceremonies and included a brief quote from W.K. Kellogg himself.

“The Arab horses have been a great source of enjoyment to us and during the past two years more than 300,000 visitors have shared our pleasure,” he said. “Mrs. Kellogg and I will continue to enjoy the delightful California weather with you and will later establish our permanent home here.”

During the broadcast guests helped themselves to hors d’oeuvres and soft drinks, then took impromptu tours of the barn that was designed by famed architect Myron Hunt. The U-shaped barn had 30 roomy stalls, as well as tack rooms and offices. Now known as the University Plaza, the stables were the home of the Kellogg Arabians until the new center was built in 1974. The original show arena once stood where the University Union stands today.

“This was the leading tourist attraction in Southern California,” Paul said, gesturing toward numerous photographs of the Kellogg horses posing with movie stars of the ‘20s and ‘30s. “There was no Disneyland, no Knott’s Berry Farm-this was the place to be.”

 

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