"The Trusted Outlaw" (1937)
I've been trying for a few years to figure out what this compound is that appears briefly in the background of a scene in the Bob Steele B-Western "The Trusted Outlaw." I always assumed it was a farm, as that's mainly what could be found in the northwest San Fernando Valley back then.
"The Trusted Outlaw"
I knew from the context that the shot was taken on Sheep Flats, on the Lower Iverson, and that the camera was aimed more or less toward the east. That meant that whatever the compound was, it was the Lower Iverson Movie Ranch's neighbor to the east.
1959 aerial photo
I was able to determine that the compound was situated inside a U-shaped (or C-shaped) bend in the road along the old Mayan Drive. Outside of "The Trusted Outlaw," it was all but impossible to find photos of the place — this old aerial provides one view, but it's not much help. At best, you can "kind of" make out some buildings.
L.A. County Fire Department: Station 75 (1937)
Then I ran across this photo in a presentation by the Chatsworth Historical Society. It's the mystery compound, which turns out to be a fire station. The photo — taken the same year "The Trusted Outlaw" was filmed — originated from the L.A. County Fire Department archives.
The station reportedly dates back to 1935, so it was still pretty new when these photos were taken — and when it made its fleeting appearance in "The Trusted Outlaw."
Topanga Canyon interchange with the 118 Freeway
The Fire Department moved out in the mid-1960s when the 118 Freeway came through, with Station 75 relocating to Chatsworth's Lake Manor community a few miles to the southwest. The freeway now runs pretty much directly over where the station used to stand.
The site of Fire Station 75, as it appears today
Thanks to the durability of rocks, we can still get a fix on the general location of the old fire station — even with the freeway now dominating the terrain. Iverson researcher Cliff Roberts snapped this shot of the site on a recent visit, shooting from the north side of the 118, looking south.
"The Rifleman" (1961): The Lower Iverson's East Gate
While we're focused on the eastern boundary of the Lower Iverson, I wanted to share a related shot I found in an episode of the TV show "The Rifleman." Anytime a gate turns up, it's interesting, and this particular gate is one I've never seen in any other production. It appears in an episode called "First Wages," which premiered Oct. 9, 1961.
1959 aerial map — eastern half of Sheep Flats
Going back to that 1959 aerial, here's the lay of the land at the east end of Sheep Flats, including the location of the gate leading to Mayan Drive and the fire station. I've also noted the location of the landmark Center Rock, which remains in place today as part of the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village.