Celebrated as the most shot-up movie location ranch in motion picture history, the Iverson Movie Ranch, situated in the picturesque rocky foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains just northwest of Chatsworth, has been used to simulate terrain in Africa, Asia, the South Seas, the Wild West and Alien Planetscapes.
As many as 2,000 motion pictures and television shows are reported to have used the Iverson Movie Ranch to shoot some or all of their outdoor scenes. Its picturesque sandstone boulders, oak trees, along with Chatsworth Peak, Rocky Peak and Oat Mountain backdrops, make it one of the most recognizable sites to movie viewers of all generations.
In its heyday, in addition to the magnificent rock outcroppings, rugged chaparral, and oak tree landscape, the ranch had miles of scenic chase and insert roads, a complete adobe village, a western street, and a ranch set that included a ranch house, bunkhouse, barn and other outbuildings. It also had many small buildings that were used as miner cabins, outlaw shacks and stagecoach relay stations.
By 1962, the ownership of the ranch had been divided into two sections: Joseph Iverson owning the lower Iverson; and Aaron Iverson, the upper Iverson. In 1966-68, the construction of the Simi Valley Freeway (California Route 118/Ronald Reagan Freeway) cut the Iverson Ranch in half. By the end of the ‘60s, the incessant freeway noise kept the ranch from being a viable movie location any longer.
In 1982, Joe Iverson sold the lower Iverson to Robert G. Sherman, who almost immediately began subdividing the property. By the 1990s, most of the ranch had been subdivided into three portions:
The Upper Iverson Ranch is now known as Indian Springs and Indian Falls--large estate-size homes in a gate-guarded community.
The Iverson Ranch Set, sometimes called the Middle Ranch, is now the Summerset Village luxury rental apartments.
The Lower Iverson Ranch now includes the old Joseph Iverson residence, the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village, the Cal-West Townhomes, the Church at Rocky Peak, and several acres of vacant land that once was the home of Carl and Agusta Iverson (and is often referred to as the Old Folks Home; it finally succumbed in 2008 to one of the many brushfires in the area). The only untouched portion of the lower Iverson Ranch is a 23-acre Garden of the Gods public park that straddles Redmesa Road, north of Santa Susana Pass Road.
To learn more about my research, and the books I've written about the Iverson Movie Location Ranch, and other Chatsworth, California filming locations see http://www.cowboyup.com/