Elvis Presley "Wheels on My Heels" from "Roustabout" Filmed in Hidden Valley, Thousand Oaks, 1964

The 1964 musical film “Roustabout,” starring Elvis Presley, was filmed at Paramount Studios, with carnival scenes in Thousand Oaks. And there was this scene of Elvis on his Honda 305 Superhawk motorcycle in Hidden Valley, singing “Wheels on my Hills.”

It is remarkable how little has changed in Hidden Valley, 55 years after the Elvis film was shot.

The History of Lake Sherwood

Lake Sherwood as seen from the  Sandstone Peak trail  in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Lake Sherwood as seen from the Sandstone Peak trail in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Lake Sherwood is an unincorporated community of about 1,500 residents in Ventura County overlooking the Lake Sherwood reservoir. It is south of Thousand Oaks and west of Westlake Village, off of Potrero Road,  accessible via Westlake Boulevard on the east and Wendy Drive and Reino Road in Newbury Park on the west.

For centuries, the Conejo Valley was inhabited by the Chumash. The Spanish came into the picture in the late 18th century and, when passing through what is now Hidden Valley, named the area the Potrero Valley.

The Potrero Valley was part of the original 48,761 acres constituting Rancho El Conejo. After California became the 31st state in 1850, a land commission was appointed to determine who owned land grants in the area.

Rancho El Conejo was sold in 1872 to John Edwards and Howard Mills. Mills received 22,240 acres that included the Potrero Valley in 1874. Mills sold the southeastern 8,476 acres to Joseph and Isabell McLaren Howard in 1875.

Photo of the Howard Ranch in the 1880s. The Howard residence was near where Triunfo Park is today in Westlake Village. (Courtesy of Conejo Through the Lens Collection; Thousand Oaks Library Special Collections.)

Photo of the Howard Ranch in the 1880s. The Howard residence was near where Triunfo Park is today in Westlake Village. (Courtesy of Conejo Through the Lens Collection; Thousand Oaks Library Special Collections.)

In 1888, the Howards sold the land to the Banning Company of Long Beach. In 1896, W. H. Matthiessen bought the Potrero Ranch from Banning. Then in 1904, Matthiessen built a 45 foot dam (originally called Alturas Dam) that created Potrero Lake (also referred to as Lake Matthiessen). Total capacity of the 156 acre lake, which today is called Lake Sherwood, is 877 million gallons of water.

In the early 1920s, the area around the lake was transformed into Sherwood Forest for the filming of Robin Hood, featuring Douglas Fairbanks. And of course that's where the name Lake Sherwood originated.

Meanwhile, W. H.'s son F. W. "Christy" Matthiessen married Elsie Mack in 1917. The couple made plans to develop the surrounding area as the Las Turas Lake Club in the 1920s. Except...they divorced in 1925, with Elsie receiving the portion of the ranch with the lake.

Elsie remarried. Her new husband's name was James Canterbury and briefly the lake became Lake Canterbury. After the stock market crash of 1929, the Canterburys sold the property to William Randolph Hearst. Hearst allowed the property to be used for filming of many films, including the 1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood.

In 1963, Dayton Realty purchased the lake and surrounding property. Dayton wanted to rezone the land to develop nearly 1,400 homes and commercial properties. This plan was fought off by local residents and rejected by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors.

From late 1983 to summer 1984, Dayton drained the lake, indicating that it needed to test the dam...which never happened...then never refilled the lake, leaving thousands of fish stranded and left to die in the mud. (Photo of draining of lake in January 1984)

Lake Sherwood was made available to the public after the depression of the 1930s until the lake was emptied in 1984.

A view of Lake Sherwood from the north off of Lake Sherwood Drive.

A view of Lake Sherwood from the north off of Lake Sherwood Drive.

In 1985, billionaire businessman David Murdock bought the dry Lake Sherwood lake bed and surrounding property.  His Ventura Farms and Lake Sherwood Ranch are on the old F. W. Matthiessen property in Hidden Valley.

In 1986, heavy rains filled Lake Sherwood back up, though it would take many years for the lake to regain the wildlife it lost after it was emptied.

Murdock developed the community with over 650 homes in three gated neighborhoods along with the Sherwood Country Club and Sherwood Lake Club. The lake is now privately owned and is not open to the general public. 

Exclusive Breaking News in the Conejo Valley Effective This April 2013

We are excited to announce a partnership with the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.  In exchange for placement of the iconic Conejo Valley Guide bunny on the south side of the Plaza, Conejo Valley Guide will provide free carrot cake to all Civic Plaza attendees at shows during the month of March 2014.

Mock-up of iconic Conejo Valley Guide bunny as it will be seen from 101 Freeway

Mock-up of iconic Conejo Valley Guide bunny as it will be seen from 101 Freeway

Jacque Rabitt of the City's Cultural Affairs department stated "We are thrilled that Conejo Valley Guide has offered us an image that brightens up the building" while Conejo Joe of CVG indicated "We are proud to be offering carrot cake at the plaza to those who believe that carrot cake is actually good for them!"

The Conejo Valley Guide bunny image will cover virtually the entire wall of the Plaza that will be in full view of both directions of Highway 101. Additionally, the bunny will be lighted with solar LED lights between the hours of 8 pm and midnight each night.

In other news, the National Park Service announced its first sponsorship agreement in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area with the renaming of Boney Peak as Milk Boney Peak. Similar to branding of NCAA Bowl Games, the Milk Bone logo will be prominently displayed on the shield face of the mountain directly below the peak, as shown below.

Mock up of Milk Bone Dog Treat logo displayed on face of peak looking towards Newbury Park.

Mock up of Milk Bone Dog Treat logo displayed on face of peak looking towards Newbury Park.

NPS official Louda Barker notes that "while dogs are currently not allowed in the Boney Mountain Wilderness, hikers tend to be dog lovers, dog lovers love giving out dog treats and, well, we've been looking to monetize these mountains for awhile, no bones about it."

And finally, a Hidden Valley resident has successfully petitioned the City of Thousand Oaks Planning Commission to change zoning of a horse property to a retail clothing store. A mockup of the new Trashy Lingerie store is shown below, reflecting an earnest effort to blend the store into the surroundings.

HidValTrashy.jpg

The Hidden Valley location will be Trashy Lingerie's second retail store; the other one is located on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles. City spokeswoman I. C. Undrewair notes that this could be a tremendous draw for city tax revenues, particularly with Britney Spears living in the nearby Sherwood Country Club.

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APRIL FOOLS'!

Just having some fun!

April Fools' fun in prior years

Scenes From the Ventura Farms Inaugural Concours Invitational Fundraiser Today

The Ventura Farms Concours took place today at the private, 2,200-acre Hidden Valley ranch owned by David H. Murdock, CEO of Dole Foods Company. Murdock, with a recent net worth of $2.4 billion and ranked #613 on the 2013 Forbes World Billionaires List (#213 in the United States) opened the California Health and Longevity Center at the Four Seasons Westlake Village in 2006 and welcomed visitors to his ranch today to help raise funds to build a new Westlake Village Park and YMCA on an 18-acre site located on the north side of Thousand Oaks Boulevard, west of Lindero Canyon Road.

Ventura Farms features various gardens such as the Family Garden, Secret Garden, English Garden, Rose Garden, Grand Allee of Thai Sculptural Boulders; mined from the River Kwai in Thailand, and Redwood Allee. A herd of Santa Gertrudis cattle, Reindeer, Kashmir sheep, Arabian horses and about 800 Koi in a large lake are part of the estate's zoological interests. Fascinating architectural beauty abounds, such as the Chinese Scholar House, Sound of Water Pavilion, Poet's House, Japanese Tea House and an 18,000 sq. ft. conservatory that houses over 25,000 orchids.

So how could I pass up the opportunity to visit the ranch of a billionaire just a few miles away! Here are some photos from the event, which featured amazing cars and great food from local vendors.

Quite an appropriate car to have on hand on St. Patrick's Day

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Recent Progressive Insurance Commercial Appears to Feature Flo in Hidden Valley

I could be wrong, but having driven through Hidden Valley hundreds of times over the years, I'm about 99% sure that this recent Progressive Insurance TV commercial entitled "Chick Flick" was filmed right here on Potrero Road in our very own Hidden Valley in Westlake Village. Progressive publishes the script of this commercial at www.progressive.com/commercials/chickflick.aspx for those of you looking to recreate it.

Hidden Valley view on a sunny day