The 64 acre Peter Strauss Ranch is located at the juncture of Troutdale Drive and Mulholland Highway in Agoura Hills. The property is managed by the National Park Service (NPS) and is part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. It features a ranch house, .6 mile hiking trail, restrooms, and an amphitheater area. There is also usually a free summer concert series there.
The Ranch has quite a history. According to the NPS, auto manufacturer Harry Miller bought the ranch at the turn of the 20th century as his weekend retreat. He built many of the structures on the site in the 1920s, including the stone ranch house, lookout tower and aviary. He lost the ranch in the Depression.
Warren Shobert and Arthur Edeson purchased the ranch in the 1930s and created “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 purchased the property in 1976, restored the site, lived there until 1983, and later sold it to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. The NPS purchased the ranch in 1987 and the site will be preserved as part of our local natural and cultural history.
Here is the ruins of the 640,000 gallon Lake Enchanto pool on the Peter Strauss Ranch site. The pool is said to be the largest of its kind west of the Rockies.
More on the history of the Peter Strauss Ranch at peterstrauss.net/storyofranch.html.