To freshen the rooms and help preserve precious mementoes, Nicholas-Booth plans to rotate artworks, rugs and other artifacts.
Rogers was, after all, a true cowboy. He was born in 1879 in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) to parents descended from mixed-blood members of the Cherokee Nation. As a boy, he honed his roping skills while herding Texas longhorns on his father's ranch.
Rogers first dabbled in show business doing rope tricks in a Wild West show. From there, he moved to vaudeville, the Ziegfeld Follies and Ziegfeld's Midnight Frolic, where his droll observations about politics and international relations made him a star.
By 1934, he was the movie industry's top box-office draw. He also wrote a daily column that appeared on the front page of many newspapers.
Over the years, he traveled the world to raise money for flood, drought and earthquake victims. Rogers was a favorite of presidents and paupers.
In 1935, Rogers' death in a small plane, piloted by aviator Wiley Post, sent the nation into collective grief. Flags flew at half-staff, and 50,000 mourners filed by his casket in Glendale.
Amid his hectic life, his Palisades ranch had been his peaceful Shangri-La.
He designed the entire layout, including riding trails through the Santa Monica Mountains. He oversaw the planting of every eucalyptus and oak tree.
Young and others are working to restore the grounds to the way they looked when Rogers lived there. Along the path to the barn, gardeners have planted black acacia trees, sea lavender and sage.
"Will Rogers was our boss on this restoration," Young said.
For Young, the crowning moment Saturday will be when he and other volunteers, using antique hammers, install a hitching post right below the picture window in Rogers' upstairs study. It will be similar to the one where Rogers tied Soapsuds, one of his favorite horses. Young and others are still scrambling to complete restoration of the horse barn and to finish a new barn built to re-create one that was torn down.
Much remains to be done. "The family is so excited, but at the same time we're also terrified the rest of the house will not get finished," Rogers-Etcheverry said. Seeking to create a funding stream for future park maintenance and restorations, Rogers-Etcheverry and others are forming the nonprofit Will Rogers Ranch Foundation. It will take over some of the efforts of the Will Rogers Cooperative Assn., a nonprofit group that has worked to build awareness of the park.
Rogers-Etcheverry said some noted Hollywood families, including relatives of John Wayne and Roy Rogers, have expressed interest in donating and serving on the board.
The house, meanwhile, is ready to open its doors. Will would feel right at home.