Former Olympia Farms Property on the Rancho Potrero Open Space

The Rancho Potrero Open Space area is located in Newbury Park off of Lynn Road, just east of the intersection with Rancho Dos Vientos. The area includes an equestrian center where the former Rocking K Horse Rentals (now Rancho Potrero Community Equestrian Center) is located and is adjacent to the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

On the west end of the space is a a property that used to be called Olympia Farms, which was owned by Greek immigrant, textile businessman and Arabian horse breeder George Patarias Huck. (Huck was tragically shot and killed in front of his home in Mt. Olympus in August 1984 at age 46.)

Huck's 640 property was sold to the Mountains Recreation and Conservancy, City of Thousand Oaks, Conejo Recreation and Park District and National Park Service for $4.2 million in 1993. 312 acres were carved out as an addition to Rancho Sierra Vista. The remainder is part of Rancho Potrero, which is maintained by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA).

You can explore the Olympia Farms area when hiking in the area, to find large piles of old ranch buildings.

These old ranch buildings are actually a Ventura County historical point of interest that was designated as such in May 1986. According to the City of Thousand Oaks, there were two large barns built in 1930 on the Dos Vientos Ranch. Joseph Lewis, business partner of City of Camarillo namesake Adolfo Camarillo, farmed 8,000 acres of land in this area. The barns were dismantled to make room for home development in Dos Vientos and the lumber currently resides here. The Conejo Recreation & Park District is working with the Conejo Valley Historical Society in finding other appropriate uses for these materials, such as displays at the Stagecoach Inn Museum in Newbury Park.

Historic 1930 Dos Vientos Ranch buildings dismantled on stored here

Historic 1930 Dos Vientos Ranch buildings dismantled on stored here

Caspar Borchard and Family Have a Permanent Presence in the Conejo Valley

Caspar Borchard was born in 1842 in Werxhausen, Germany. He sailed to the U.S. with his uncle Christian Borchard in 1867. He liked it so much here that he went back to Germany to get funds (Bitcoin wasn't around back then apparently) to buy land. While back in Germany, he married Theresa Diedrich, who died 3 years later. Within a year he married Theresa Maring. They came back to the U.S. and he bought 205 acres in what is now El Rio (Oxnard).

In 1882, Caspar bought 3,285 acres in the Conejo Valley after his brother Johannes bought 4,000 acres. Theresa Maring died in 1898 at age 49. Their youngest daughter (8 total kids) was also named Theresa. Caspar retired in 1918 and died in 1930. leaving a large family and a permanent presence in the Conejo Valley (Borchard Road, Borchard Park and Community Center). Theresa Drive parallels Borchard from Wendy to Sequoia Middle School in Newbury Park.

This is an undated photo from Thousand Oaks Library archives. Pictured: Back row: Caspar, Rosa, Mary, and Leo. Middle row: Frank, Theresa Maring, holding Charles, Caspar holding Theresa, Antone.

This is an undated photo from Thousand Oaks Library archives. Pictured: Back row: Caspar, Rosa, Mary, and Leo. Middle row: Frank, Theresa Maring, holding Charles, Caspar holding Theresa, Antone.

Scenes Near the Corner of Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Rancho Road in 1970

Conejo Valley Days Parade 1970 with auto promoting Sizzler.

Conejo Valley Days Parade 1970 with auto promoting Sizzler.

Some of you may remember the Sizzler restaurant on Moorpark Road that is now a Hooter's. Well, before that, there was a Sizzler at 1259 East Thousand Oaks Boulevard, in a space that today (thanks to a generous donation from Thousand Oaks Storage) is the home of affordable housing non-profit Many Mansions.

Thousand Oaks Sizzler on Thousand Oaks Boulevard, just east of Rancho Road, in 1970

Thousand Oaks Sizzler on Thousand Oaks Boulevard, just east of Rancho Road, in 1970

Many Mansions moved in Spring 2015 at the long ago former home of the first Sizzler restaurant in Thousand Oaks.

Many Mansions moved in Spring 2015 at the long ago former home of the first Sizzler restaurant in Thousand Oaks.

Sizzler was directly east of the Enco gas station at the corner of Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Rancho Road.

Enco was a short-lived brand name from the Humble Oil Company, which is now part of ExxonMobil. Apparently it translated into "stalled car" in Japanese.

Conejo Valley Days Parade 1970 at intersection of Thousand Oaks Blvd and Rancho Road.

Conejo Valley Days Parade 1970 at intersection of Thousand Oaks Blvd and Rancho Road.

Notice the Shell gas station across Rancho Road in the above photo. Today of course a different kind of fuel is served there at the first Thousand Oaks Drive-Thru Starbucks. I also notice the gas price at that time was 28 9/10th cents a gallon.

Conejo Valley Days 1970 Enco Station

Today, there is a Chevron station located at this former home of Enco. It is the exact same building shown above! But instead of "Happy Motoring!" there's a sign on the building that says "Food Mart."

This Chevron station is the former home of the Enco station pictured above.

This Chevron station is the former home of the Enco station pictured above.

Conejo Valley Days Parade 1970 Chicken Delight

And this last photo shows a 23 North sign west of Rancho Road. Partially hidden behind that sign is a Chicken Delight that was located at 1165 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard. Today, the closest Chicken Delight is in Winnepeg, Canada. 

Century Lake at Malibu Creek State Park

According to the Malibu Creek Docents, around 1903, the Crags Country Club constructed a 50 foot tall dam on its 2,000 acre property on what is now Malibu Creek State Park. The dam created a seven acre lake that club members used for fishing and duck hunting.

The Club closed in 1936, and 10 years later, 20th Century Fox Studios purchased the property to film movies and TV shows on what was renamed Century Ranch. The 1968 "Planet of the Apes" featured many prominent scenes shot here.

This is an awesome video showing Planet of the Apes (1968) film scenes at Malibu Creek State Park and local area beaches then and today.

As for the lake, it is now referred to as Century Lake, a hiking destination in Malibu Creek State Park. Only 1 1/2 miles from the parking area, Century Lake is in a secluded area, where you can eat your lunch at the picnic table and enjoy serenity (usually, depending on who else is there). I believe it is fine to wade in the water and even kayak in there if desired. although I've never seen anyone do so.

Century Lake is a left hand turn from the main Crags Road trail, after cresting the only significant hill going down the other side. The only indicator is this narrow sign.

Century Lake is a left hand turn from the main Crags Road trail, after cresting the only significant hill going down the other side. The only indicator is this narrow sign.

The hike has a moderately steep hill in it, but otherwise is quite flat and easy to do with kids and/or a stroller.

Malibu Creek State Park has something for everyone...camping, a visitor center, the "Rock Pool," the M*A*S*H set, the old Reagan Ranch, Century Lake, over 35 miles of trails, rock climbing (near the Rock Pool) and more.

The Century Dam is shown in this image. You don't wanna fall down that dam. Off limits.

The Century Dam is shown in this image. You don't wanna fall down that dam. Off limits.

Ventura County Area Listings in the National Register of Historic Places

NationalRegisterHistoricPlaces.jpg

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect America's historic and archaeological resources.

There are over 80,000 listings in the National Register in five general categories: building, structure, site, district and object.

To be considered eligible for the Register, a property must meet the National Register Criteria for Evaluation. This involves examining the property’s age (generally at least 50 years old), integrity and significance.

To learn more about the National Register of Historic Places and to search its database, visit www.nps.gov/subjects/nationalregister/index.htm.

Now let's highlight Ventura County area properties listed in the Register as of July 2019. Most of these you can visit (links provided where applicable):

Other nearby historic places:

Erbes Road in Thousand Oaks Named After Early Settlers in the Conejo Valley

Courtesy of Thousand Oaks Library    calisphere.org/item/ark:/13030/c8w093ww

Courtesy of Thousand Oaks Library

calisphere.org/item/ark:/13030/c8w093ww

This is Elizabeth Opper Erbes. She is the mother of Ernest and Otto Erbes, who were early settlers in the Conejo Valley.

Otto (born in 1885, passed in 1959) owned a walnut orchard on what is now Erbes Road.

Estella Park on Erbes Road just south of Hillcrest is located on land donated to the city by Otto Erbes and his wife.

Erbes Road is a major north/south artery in the City of Thousand Oaks, stretching just over 5 miles, from Calle Zocolo, north of Olsen Road, on the north, to Thousand Oaks Boulevard on the south.

Olsen Road is also named after early Conejo Valley pioneer Nils Olsen. Olsen and four Norwegian compatriots purchased 650 acres of land from George Edwards in 1890.

Solstice Canyon in Malibu Has a Perennial Waterfall and Much More

Solstice Canyon is a worthy local hiking destination, located at the intersection of Corral Canyon and Solstice Canyon Roads in Malibu. It is home to one of the only year-round waterfalls in the Santa Monica Mountains and there is a handful of nice trails to explore.

The main trail is the Solstice Canyon Trail, a fairly easy, not too steep, 2.1 mile round trip hike, largely paved, to the stone and brick ruins of the Fred and Florence Roberts ranch house. This is called the Tropical Terrace. Missouri native Fred Roberts founded Roberts Public Market, a chain of grocery and liquor stores, in the late 1920s. He sold the chain in 1949, while in the meantime amassed nearly 1,000 acres in Solstice Canyon.

A large portion of the Solstice Canyon Trail is paved.

A large portion of the Solstice Canyon Trail is paved.

In 1952, Roberts hired renowned African-American architect Paul R. Williams to design the home, which featured beautiful architectural design that blended into the serene environment and incorporated fire protection features using pumps, pipes and water collection pools. Roberts passed away in 1976. In 1982, the Dayton Canyon Fire burned the site to the ground.

Remains of the home of Fred and Florence Roberts at the top of Solstice Canyon

Remains of the home of Fred and Florence Roberts at the top of Solstice Canyon

Today you can see the foundation, fireplaces, steps and other interesting features, then explore the shaded rock pool area, where you'll see the waterfall (which in drought years can be quite small, but perennial nonetheless).

Waterfall access is the right (east) of the Roberts home.

Waterfall access is the right (east) of the Roberts home.

Naturally canopied rock pool area where the waterfall can be seen and explored.

Naturally canopied rock pool area where the waterfall can be seen and explored.

On the way to the Roberts House, you will see a sign, "Built of Stone and Tin." Read about the wood cabin purchased by Henry Keller in 1901 that was destroyed by a fire two years later. Keller, who enjoyed hunting and fishing in Solstice Canyon, rebuilt the one room hunting lodge in stone and tin to withstand future fires. Over the years, wood porches were added. The structure was scorched in the Corral Fire of 2007.  But the stone walls are still there today...and are considered to be the oldest still-existing in Malibu today.

You can walk fairly close to the Keller House ruins.

You can walk fairly close to the Keller House ruins.

Other trails include the:

  • Dry Canyon Trail - 1.2 mile easy round trip canyon trail that in the winter brings a 150 foot waterfall and stream

  • TRW Loop Trail - 1.5 mile round trip loop that is fairly easy

  • Rising Sun Trail - 1.5 mile moderate trail on the eastern ridgeline of the canyon that connects at the top to the Solstice Canyon Trail near the waterfall

  • Sostomo Trail/Deer Valley Trail - Moderate to strenuous extension from near the top of the Solstice Canyon Trail of roughly 4 miles

There is a small amphitheater at the main parking area, public restrooms and several picnic areas here. A great place to bring the kids! Dog friendly too (except not dogs in the waterfall area), as long as they are on leash.

Solstice Canyon was opened as a public park by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy in 1988 and today is managed by the National Park Service. More information at www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/solsticecanyon.htm.

One way to get to Solstice Canyon from Thousand Oaks is to take the 101 south to Las Virgenes/Malibu Canyon Road, south to PCH, where you'll turn right (west). Turn right on Solstice Canyon Road (a light) and your first left is Solstice Canyon. There is limited parking at the entrance, but the main parking lot is about 1/4 mile up the hill.