Peter Strauss Ranch, as the name implies, was once owned by Peter Strauss. The actor lived at the ranch until 1983 when he sold it to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. In 1987, The National Park Service purchased the ranch and now operates the park.
During the 1930s, way before there was ever a Disneyland, this property was used as a resort called Shomon. The park had the largest swimming pool west of the Rockies, a huge dance floor, and amusement park rides. After a dam was built across Triunfo creek, creating Lake Enchanto, the early theme park was renamed Enchanto.
Enchanto Amusement Park
Attractions at Lake Enchanto included a swimming pool with an island and beach area. A rocket ride, car ride, Ferris wheel, Merry-go-round, and amphitheater. The main feature was the quarter-mile-long lake which featured boat and canoe rentals.
Operations at Enchanto Amusement Park continued until the early 1960s when it closed. A flood had washed out the dam, the rides were old and outdated, and by this time, Disneyland had been built in Anaheim.
Some plans were to rebuild the resort into a huge theme park, but they were never realized. The never-built amusement park was to be called “Famous Places — Cornell World.” The name was taken from the nearby town that at the time was called Cornell.
Not much of the original theme park remains today. The pool is empty and fenced off, the lake is no more, and the rides are long gone. About the only building left from the early days is the bathhouse.
Peter Strauss Ranch
This enchanting oak woodland 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 west of the swimming pool. The upside-down letter “T” is still evident in the bark. The Peter Strauss Ranch Park has been noted for extensive California oak woodlands laced with walking paths and hiking trails.
Peter Strauss Ranch is a unit of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area operated by the National Park Service and located in the Santa Monica Mountains near Agoura Hills, California, in the United States.
Visitors to Peter Strauss Ranch enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery in the Santa Monica Mountains. There are several hiking trails to explore, and the original ranch house is still on the property. The park also features events, including concerts, weddings, picnics, and art exhibits.
This section of Mulholland Highway is called “The Three Magical Miles,” a historically rich area of the Malibu mountains covering a three-mile radius around Malibou Lake.
Directly across from the park is Cornell Winery tasting room and The Old Place Restaurant. Here you can sip wine, enjoy a meal and watch the parade of cars pass on Mulholland Hwy. Nearby Paramount Ranch is well worth a look, and a drive up Mulholland Highway to the Rock Shop is a definite must-do before you head home.
Directions: Peter Strauss Ranch Park 30000 Mulholland Hwy 29975 Agoura, CA. Website. Parking and admission are free. Open 8 am to dusk.