Abandoned Western Movie Ranch – Corriganville Part 1

Lex sez:

Corriganville, a currently abandoned movie location ranch named after western actor/stuntman/Man in a Gorilla suit actor Ray Corrigan, is located in a rocky, woodsy area of the Santa Susana Pass in southern California. 

Neek and I went out there on a beautiful sunny (and quite hot!) day to explore the terrain and see what remained of this western ranch which was open to the public as an amusement park from May 1, 1949 until 1966 when Bob Hope closed the ranch.

Snapshot 1 (8-24-2016 7-46 PM)

Most of what remains of the movie ranch are just the cement foundations of the buildings that used to exist.  But there are a number of different signs at the various locations informing guests of what building used to be at each site.  Dirt roads going in all different directions lead up and down hills to these sites.  The Vendetta Village, named after the Howard Hughes film Vendetta and the site of filming for the John Ford film Fort Apache are located up in the hills which are rocky, but not too tough to traverse.

Snapshot 1 (8-24-2016 7-59 PM)

But what I found most fascinating was in the lower part of Corriganville near the parking lot, an area I called “Stonehenge.”  It took a while to figure out what it was used for, then found out it was a barn area for the horses.  It was a really fascinating place, which only seemed to grow more fascinating the more we explored it!

Neek sez:

Corriganville Park is an old abandoned movie ranch that was made into a public park.  Remnants of building foundations are all around the entrance to the park.  Lex and I were excited to visit this fascinating place with all of its ruins.

Snapshot 2 (8-24-2016 7-46 PM)

The name Corrigan refers to a western actor named Ray “Crash” Corrigan who was also a stuntman and well-known for his uncredited roles as a gorilla in various movies during the 1950’s.  He mostly made films with Republic Pictures which was located in Studio City, California.

He purchased the area in 1937 and began construction of “Silvertown” in 1943 which was opened to the public as an amusement park in 1949.  Numerous films were made here including “Vendetta” directed by Howard Hughes and “Fort Apache” with John Wayne, Henry Fonda and Shirley Temple which was directed by John Ford.  In the 1950’s, the television shows “The Lone Ranger”, “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin” and “Lassie” were filmed here also.

Ray Corrigan leased the property to a group of businessmen in 1955 which included Jack Wrather who built the original Disneyland Hotel and brought The Queen Mary to Long Beach.  Unfortunately, they had disagreements on how the property should be run and with a lawsuit; Mr. Corrigan was able to gain control of the amusement park.

Snapshot 2 (8-24-2016 7-59 PM)

Ray Corrigan’s ex-wife Rita Jane bought the ranch and sold it to a man who again sold it to Bob Hope in the 1960’s.  Bob had hoped (no pun intended) to build a housing development called “Hope Town” but it never happened.  In 1970 a fire in the area destroyed most of Silvertown and in November 1979, an arson fire burned all of the remaining sets and buildings except for the cement foundations that still exist.

I wish I could have seen the park during its heyday.  I love the photos that show what the place looked like and what sets used to be there.  The trees, caves and imposing boulders are fun places to explore.  Hated the ants though!

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