History of Corriganville
Built on land purchased by Corrigan in 1937, the ranch provided scenery as well as man-made structures and sets, and served as the background scenery for movies and television programs such as Fort Apache, Buffalo Bill in Tomahawk Territory, The Robe, The Lone Ranger, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Sky King, Circus Boy, and Star Trek. A small man-made lake featured a cliff waterfall, as well as an underwater bunker with thick-glassed windows that would allow underwater scenes to be shot, while keeping the camera and crew dry.
Cowboy stars who filmed there include: Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Buster Crabbe, John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Smiley Burnette, Clayton Moore, Jay Silverheels, Charles Starrett, Ken Maynard, Kermit Maynard, Hoot Gibson, Bob Steele, Tex Ritter, and of course Crash Corrigan himself.
The ranch was open to the public on weekends and holidays from 1949 to 1965. For an admission price of one dollar, visitors could experience a variety of stuntman shows, movie and TV actors (often Crash himself) signing autographs and posing for pictures, western street movie sets ("Silvertown"), frontier Army fort ("Fort Apache"), and Mexican village, many made up of real working buildings and not just set fronts as is common on many studio backlots. Other weekend attractions included live western music, Indian crafts, stagecoach rides, pony rides, and boating on the ranch's artificial lake.
In 1965 Ray Corrigan sold the property, which was acquired by comedian and property speculator Bob Hope. A housing subdivision called Hopetown was developed and built on a parcel near the park entrance. In the late 1960s and early 1970s part of the site was used for motorcycle racing. In 1970 the ranch was swept by fire. One of the last movies filmed there was Vigilante Force (1976). In 1979 another fire destroyed virtually all of the remaining structures.
Now named Corriganville Park, the site of Corriganville Movie Ranch is a public park operated by Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District.
Learn more about the trails and amenities at Corriganville Park.
To learn more about Simi Valley History visit the Simi Valley Historical Society Website.