Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Malibou Lake Mountain Club

We attended a family Bar Mitzvah at the Malibou Lake Mountain Club in Agoura Hills over the weekend. The Bar Mitzvah boy, Miles, did a great job. He recited his portion of the Torah beautifully, gave an excellent speech and basically was star of the day! It's always fun seeing the family and getting together for a festive occasion.
Larry and I had been to Malibou Lake about 11 or 12 years ago for a family picnic reunion. My cousin Craig and his wife, Linda live in the community. In order to use the facilities, you must negotiate through a member.

Malibou Lake Mountain Club in the 1920s

This area has a rich history. Taken from the Malibou Lake site, here's a brief rundown of this region: The hills and canyons surrounding Malibou Lake and Lake Enchanto were inhabited by the Chumash Indians for several thousand years. After Spanish colonization, they became part of Rancho Las Virgenes. In the early 20th Century, the automobile manufacturer Harry Miller, famous for inventing the master carburetor, purchased the 65-acre Ranch as a weekend retreat. He established the private lake and club in 1922. In 1926, Miller built the current stone ranch house, the look-out tower and the aviary. During the Depression, Miller was forced to sell the property. In the mid 1930s, the property was purchased by noted cinematographer Arthur Edeson and Warron Shobert, both Malibou Lake residents, who name the property "Shoson" (a combination of their names) and transformed it into a recreational park for children and adults. "Shosun" was renamed Lake Enchanto when a dam was built on Triunfo Creek, creating a large lake for swemming, fishing and boating. Competition from larger amusement parks led to the delicine of Lake Enchanto which closed around 1960. In 1976 Peter Strauss purchased the property after filming the mini-series "Rich Man, Poor Man" at Malibou Lake. In 1983 Strauss sold it to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. The National Park Service purchased the ranch in 1987.

Malibou Lake Mountain Club, 2016

MANY movies and television shows have been filmed on this property, including the scene from the 1931 Boris Karloff classic, "Frankenstein" where Frankenstein and the little girl sit beside the Lake.

Scene from "Frankenstein" with Boris Karloff, 1931

The original clubhouse, built in 1924, burned down in 1936. It was rebuilt by well-respected, early Los Angeles architectural firm, Russell and Alpaugh. The club stands today, after much remodeling. The original footprint of the building, along with it's distinctive stone fireplace and guest rooms are still here.
My cousin Craig pointed out the historic murals in the Poker Room to me. In 1944, artist and member Earl Corbaley created these murals featuring portraits of several Malibou Lake members portrayed as residents of a western town and saloon. The murals seem to be under restoration. 
Larry photographed as much as he could, considering that this room was used as a holding room for the party in the nearby larger room. We were surprised to see tables, chairs, a movie screen and such propped against the murals, possibly submitting them to more damage. I do hope steps are taken to protect these beautiful murals after they are fully restored.
Click on picture to read mural conservation notice
Restoration in progress

I LOVE these murals! I look forward to examining them more carefully in the near future!  All mural photos by Larry Underhill.

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