“For the present Nathan Wise, founder and Mayor of the town of Cornell in the Santa Monica Mountains, fifty three miles from Los Angeles and fifteen miles from a railroad, will accept no more honors. Wise… is postmaster at Cornell, deputy sheriff, treasurer of the Cornell Improvement Association, justice of the peace, volunteer fireman, and was Santa Claus at the Christmas entertainment…. Wise founded the town two years ago immediately after an artesian well of hot mineral water was struck on the property of the Ramera Oil Company. The settlement was named after Cornell University. It now has a population of forty families.”
-Los Angeles Times December 30, 1913
The second Cornell School was built in 1926 and stands today lovingly protected by our friends Eric and Mary.
Hanks Country Store and the second Cornell Post Office before the western facade was attached to the front that lives today as The Old Place.
Cornell was been seen all over the world on the silver screen in hundreds of films, most notably in the 1931 classic "Frankenstein" in this scene shot at Malibou Lake.
Thousands poured into Cornell every month to enjoy themselves at Lake Enchanto (now Peter Strauss Ranch). The main entry arch is seen here looking out toward a dirt Cornell Road (now Mulholland Hwy.)
Long before Agoura existed, the Cornell township hummed along in the Santa Monica Mountains. It fully expected to become a bustling boom town with oil sought, but never discovered. Outside of its two popular recreation destinations (Lake Enchanto & Seminole Hot Springs) Cornell remained a quiet gem, hidden away (although it did maintain the only post office and school in the area for more than thirty years). Though isolated, it maintained a small business community serving the Los Angeles-Ventura Highway called “Cornell Corners" (where Cornell Road meets the 101 Freeway today).
Later came the freeway and Agoura, which eventually grew to such an extent that Cornell all but disappeared in its shadow. Cornell became thought of as part of Agoura although it enjoyed few of the benefits. But times have changed. Cornell retains its distinctive character and now incorporates the unique communities of Malibou Lake, Seminole Springs the homes along Mulholland Hwy and Cornell Road among many others and landmarks like Paramount Ranch, Malibu Creek State Park, the Rock Store, Ballard Mountain and a growing wine industry.
This 1949 map with the second Cornell Post Office (now The Old Place) at center shows historic Cornell Road as it originally connected to the Ventura Hwy., ran south along its current course, past Malibou Lake (where it is now Lake Vista Drive) through downtown Cornell and past Seminole Hot Springs (today's Mulholland Hwy.) Click to enlarge
Over 300 photos covering the colorful history of historic Cornell can be found in the bestselling book "Three Magical Miles" by Brian Rooney. Proceeds from book sales support Cornell preservation projects.
More information on the book can be found