Bell Location Ranch
Santa Susanna Mountains
Located in the Santa Susanna Mountains between Chatsworth (Iverson Ranch/Spahn Ranch) and Simi Valley (Corriganville) on a plateau overlooking the San Fernando Valley, it was known in the 1920's as the Bell Moving Picture Ranch. The area has been used for filming since the silent days. This rugged and sage-dotted terrain is featured in "The Rattlesnake Brigade". The upper area of the Bell Location Ranch is not seen
in too many episodes, unlike as in Zorro, which was made at the highest plateau, overlooking the San Fernando Valley, from 1957-1959.
According to research performed by location expert Tinsley Yarbrough, a gentleman named Berry purchased the Bell property. He then sold the 120 acre ranch to Rosemary Couch and Jean Forsythe. They named their new property the Berry Ranch. Filming still continued. In 1950, five acres were sold to Tony Stimolo who then named his portion the Bell Location Ranch. In 1955 he built a western street on the ranch. This street burned to the ground in the mid 1960's. It was rebuilt. In 1990 the buildings were donated to the Wilderness Institute and relocated.
Many of the television westerns used the property and adjoining ranches, including "Gunsmoke", "Zorro", "The Monroes", "How the West Was Won", "Dundee and the Culhane", "The Big Valley", and "Have Gun Will Travel". Even Dennis Weaver as McCloud used the western street and surrounding area for one episode. On adjoining property (the Berry Ranch), there was a cabin that is said to have been used in the "Zorro" tv series.
DIRECTIONS: The fastest route from downtown Los Angeles is to take the 5 freeway north to the 118 freeway west. Exit at Topanga Canyon Blvd and turn left (south). At Santa Susanna Pass Road turn right (west). Go past the Iverson Movie Ranch site and the Spahn Ranch site. Now you have two choices of how to reach the Bell Ranch. To enter the Bell Ranch from the eastern side (the Berry Ranch side and closest to the "Zorro" house), turn left on Lilac Lane and head to the end of the road. You will be on the eastern side of the ranch. To reach the western side of the ranch, instead of turning on Lilac Lane, turn left on Box Canyon Road. Head up the hill until you find Studio Road on the left. Turn there and head on up. The end of Studio Road is the approximate location of the Bell Ranch western street.