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King Gillette Ranch Opens Today

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Yup, it's what you were thinking -- razors. The baron of a clean shave himself, King Camp Gillette, bought this land off of the now Mulholland Hwy in 1926 after making a fortune in the early 1900s off of the safety razor. Today, his home and ranch are open to the public for the first time.

Near the entrance of Malibu Creek State Park, the 588-acre park was collaboratively purchased for $35 million by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, National Park Service, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and California State Parks.

But why all this money for a park smaller than Franklin Canyon or Temescal?

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Mainly because this land connects the Malibu Creek, the confluence of five major tributaries and the Mulholland Corridor, which serves as an access point for wildlife. Also eagerly waiting in line for the property were developers who possibly could have turned the historic landmark into a Day Spa or even a new community.

Homes already on the property are a Chumash settlement and nationally significant structures for Gilette designed by Wallace Neff, deemed architect of California’s Golden Age. After Gillette's death and misfortune in the depression, his wife sold the home to Clarence Brown, a MGM film director who held A-List Hollywood parties, which was cause enough for the construction of a private airstrip on the property.

In 1952, the famed Bob and Dolores Hope bought the property, but immediately turned it over to Claretian Order of the Catholic Church, which operated a seminary on the grounds for 25 years. "Elizabeth Clare Prophet, founder of the Church Universal and Triumphant, purchased the property in 1978, and ran her New Age church at the site until 1986 when Soka University of America bought the land." according to the Acorn Community Newspaper.

The ranch is not a huge hiking spot, but the steep but short trailhead offers gorgeous 360-degree views. This morning at 8 a.m. there is a bird hike led by park officials (or it could be tomorrow at 8 a.m. according to their website [pdf]). Parking is $5.

King Gillette Ranch
26800 West Mulholland Highway
Calabasas, CA 91302