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Welcome to Sherwood Lake

24 Aug

August 25, 1936

Harrison Carroll
Evening Herald Express

… Who comes closest to being the movie hero in real life? probably Errol Flynn. He was a good enough boxer to represent Ireland in the Olympics, his tennis is brilliant, and he is a fine swimmer. When Green Light was on location at Sherwood the other day, the troupe shot morning scenes on one side of the lake and afternoon scenes on the other. The rest of the troupe drove around in cars, but to Flynn, a straight line was the shortest distance between two points, so he swam the lake.

HISTORY OF THE LAKE
(Quoting Multiple Sources)

For many centuries, Lake Sherwood and the vast majority of Conejo Valley as a whole was inhabited by communities of Chumash Indians. This remained the case until the arrival of Spanish expeditions to much of California in the late years of the 18th century. At this point, Lake Sherwood and a substantial portion of the surrounding area was named Potrero Valley until California became the 31st state in 1850. Once this occurred, the land of Potrero Valley was sold and would eventually switch hands several times over the next 75 years, mainly to ranch owners and agricultural businesses. It wasn’t until the early 1920’s that the area now known as Lake Sherwood began to rise in popularity among residents of California, due mostly to the land being transformed into Sherwood Forest for the creation of the popular “Robin Hood” film that was helmed by legendary director Douglas Fairbanks. The 1938 film, The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Errol Flynn, also had a scene shot on location at “Sherwood Forest. (The attack on the treasure caravan scene.)

“These days everyone knows that Lake Sherwood homes are some of the most gorgeous in the Ventura County region. This small, upscale neighborhood is home to just over 1,000 of some of the wealthiest individuals in the country including David Murdock, owner of the Dole company. His estate spawns over 2,000 acres of land on a hill top. Prime Lake Sherwood real estate isn’t just for the typical rising stars in business either. This wealthy town has been home to countless celebrities and to this date attracts Hollywood stars like actor Jamie Foxx who follows fellow actors Sylvester Stallone, Sophia Loren, Tom Selleck and a caravan of other tinsel town elite in owning Lake Sherwood real estate. With such a rich history in wealth it might be hard to picture a Lake Sherwood without pomp and circumstance. But according to former locals of the area, there actually was a time when Lake Sherwood was just a really nice lake.

The story is that Lake Sherwood’s history goes back further than the 1922 Robin Hood movie accredited for giving it fame. It seems the neighborhood had rather tough beginnings in trying to solidify itself as a place where the rich call home. According to historian Miriam Sprinkling, the lake was formed when a rancher known as S.W. Matthiesson, who owned much of what is now Lake Sherwood and Hidden Valley, built a dam across four streams. Matthiesson had hoped the land would become a summer getaway for the wealthy to hunt and fish. However, this idea never caught on. It was Matthiesson’s son who eventually gave the okay for filming the Robin Hood movie years later in Lake Sherwood. The cabin in which Douglas Fairbanks was housed during filming is now a registered Ventura County historical landmark and the crest of The Sherwood Country Club proudly depicts Robin Hood.

Unfortunately, after the film was produced Matthieson’s son lost ownership of the lake to his wife during a divorce settlement (that doesn’t sound too gentry at all) and Mrs. Matthieson and her new husband Mr. Canterbury, decided to change the lake’s name to “Lake Canterbury”. Luckily, the name just never stuck. The two decided to begin a housing development project in the area and the real estate firm hired again changed the name to “Los Touras” by combining Los Angeles + Ventura. At this time, Potrero Valley was renamed Hidden Valley. So, what is exactly in a name, you ask? Millions. Until there’s a stock market crash. And in 1929 that’s exactly what ruined the Canterbury’s plans as they were forced to sell their property to none other than tycoon William Randolph Hearst. After the filming of Robin Hood by Fairbanks it was renamed Lake Sherwood.

— Gentleman Tim

 

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