Saturday, June 4, 2011

Peter Strauss Ranch

These are color sketches 16 to 20

I painted four color sketches at the Peter Strauss Ranch today. When they are dry I will add them to this post. . .
"This enchanting oak woodland in the Santa Monica Mountains has long been a source of dreams, visions, and memories. Inhabited for thousands of years by the Chumash people, this area became part of Rancho Las Virgenes after Spanish colonization. The original coast live oak, used as the marker in the 1881 land grant survey, still stands just west of the swimming pool. The upside-down letter “T” is still evident in the bark. The “vision of enchantment” continues at this site today with hiking, concerts, picnics, and art exhibits. Explore this peaceful refuge and create some memories of your own.
At the turn of the century, Harry Miller purchased the ranch as a weekend retreat from his residence and automobile factory in Los Angeles. His patented master carburetor and “Miller Specials,” featured at Indianapolis 500 car races, brought him fame. In 1926, Harry built many structures including the stone ranch house, the “look out tower” and the aviary. The Depression and his attempt at aircraft-engine development resulted in financial ruin, the loss of the ranch, and an end to his dreams.
In the mid 1930’s, Warren Shobert and Arthur Edeson purchased the ranch, transforming the place into “Shoson”—a fairyland of charm and a paradise for children and adults. Later, a dam was constructed on Triunfo Creek, creating a small lake. The resort was renamed “Lake Enchanto.” Competition from other, larger amusement parks and resorts led to the decline of “Lake Enchanto.” It fell into disrepair and closed around 1960.
Actor Peter Strauss was deeply moved by the area’s natural beauty while filming the mini-series “Rich Man, Poor Man” at Malibu Lake in 1976. He purchased the property and restored the site to its original splendor, living here until 1983. Due to his sensitivity and concern for the natural environment, Strauss sold the ranch to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. The National Park Service purchased the ranch in 1987 as part of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, dedicated to the preservation of our natural and cultural history."

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