Paradise lost

Once a hidden playground, lake enchanto is now a fading memory


Photo Courtesy of Brian Rooney/

”Three Magical Miles”


Photo illustration by

David McMartin

 E njoying fun and sun is nothing new for our community. This image, taken from a 1940s postcard, shows locals splashing around in Lake Enchanto, touted at the time as the largest swimming pool west of the Rockies. Originally Chumash land, the Agoura Hills acreage was purchased in the ’20s by automotive tycoon Harry Miller, who partially developed the property, then lost it when the Great Depression wiped him out. In the ’30s investors Warren Shobert and Arthur Edeson transformed the land into a weekend amusement park with rides and a petting zoo. The pool, which could accommodate 2,000 swimmers, had an island that doubled as a bandstand. The popular weekend destination was advertised as a “natural paradise.” It closed in the ’60s. Sometime later actor Peter Strauss, of “Rich Man, Poor Man” fame, lived on the property, selling it to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in1983 so that all could again enjoy its natural beauty. Today the pool is dry, and the land is quiet except for the sounds of nature, occasional groups of hikers and weekend concerts. Still enchanting.      — L.G.Haukoos