The 1930’s were the middle of the Great Depression and the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Seabiscuit and War Admiral entertained millions when Thoroughbred horse racing was legalized in 1933 to help cities raise money. Add into this mix of extreme wealth and poverty, water from Mulholland’s aqueduct made the undeveloped San Fernando Valley prime horse property.
In 1936, Barbara Stanwyck was one of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses. With partners Zeppo Marx and his wife Marion, they spend some $200,000 to buy and develop roughly 130 acres in Northridge.
Two architecturally significant homes were built on 10 acres each. On the remaining property, a state of the art Thoroughbred Race horse breeding and training facility rivaling anything in Kentucky was built to trainer Harry S. Hart’s specifications. Included was a six furlong training track matching the length of Santa Anita. Sea water was trucked in to sooth the horses' sore muscles.
The property was named Marwcyk Ranch, a melding of the owner's names.
In 1942, west coast race tracks went dark after the onset of WWII. Afterwards, Marwyck was used solely for boarding.
In 1943, Marwcyk Ranch was sold to J.H. Ryan and renamed Northridge Farms.
Image is from 1940 Thoroughbred Breeding Ad for Marwyck Ranch owned by partners Barbara Stanwyck, Marion and Zeppo Marx.
The back of Stanwyck's home is visible in background.
A special thank you to Art Jacobs, for your image research, and Pat LoPresti, for your extensive Marwyck Ranch/Northridge Farms research.