Statue of General Patton and his cowardly dog pal, Willie.
Statue of General Patton and his cowardly dog pal, Willie.

General Patton Memorial Museum

Field review by the editors.

Chiriaco Summit, California

If you get all of your information about Patton from the 1970 movie of the same name, you know this: he wore ivory-handled (not pearl) revolvers; he cursed and swore; he was the only WWII American general feared by the Germans; he channeled past warrior lives into his battle strategies; and he had anger management issues.

There's much more to the real George S. Patton, but you just can't help straining it through the filter of George C. Scott's scene-chewing portrayal. So it's a shock, for instance, to find out that the real Patton had a high voice.

The memorial museum was established in 1988, and has been open on Chiriaco Summit since 1992. The desert-ready tanks outside the museum evoke the great tank battles of North Africa. In 1942, the Mojave Desert is where Patton set up his army's Desert Training Center, eventually commandeering a 250 by 350 mile swath of land. Patton left later in 1942 to butt heads with Rommel in German-occupied North Africa, and training continued at this sprawling facility until 1944 (when major WWII battles had moved away from desert regions).

Tanks.
DAMMIT! Just a little more gas and we could be in Berlin by the weekend!

A statue of a helmeted Patton stands in front of the American flag. At his feet is a tank tread, and a bull terrier -- William the Conqueror, AKA "Willie" (portrayed in the movie as an easily frightened, yellow-bellied coward). The museum grounds also feature Patton's Christian altar, made of stone and facing the desert and mountains.

Inside are several rooms of exhibits, and a 26-minute film on US desert warfare training (which returned to this part of California to simulate Afghanistan and Iraq conditions). The best souvenir is reported to be .50 caliber machine gun bullets fashioned into key chains.

General Patton Memorial Museum

General George S. Patton Memorial Museum

Address:
62-510 Chiriaco Rd, Chiriaco Summit, CA
Directions:
General George S. Patton Memorial Museum. I-10 exit 173.
Hours:
Daily 9:30-4:30 (Call to verify)
Phone:
760-227-3483
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

International Banana MuseumInternational Banana Museum, Mecca, CA - 16 mi.
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Iwo Jima in the DesertIwo Jima in the Desert, Twentynine Palms, CA - 32 mi.
In the region:
Gene Autry Statue, Palm Springs, CA - 46 mi.

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June 22, 2017

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