Hot off the MLS presses comes word of the former home of playright Christopher Hart (who is the son of playright Moss Hart and acctress Kitty Carlisle) in the San Fernando Valley's porn capital city of Chatsworth has just sold for $600,000 which was listed as a short sale. This property is also situated in the original Roy Roger's Ranch Estates before it got subdivided in the 60s and 70's. The property is located on Trigger St which pays homage to Roy's beloved horse, Trigger.
Before we talk about this specific home, lets start off with the rich history of this property and area. Roy Rogers originally owned this land which was also discussed in the new San Fernando Valley book by Marc Wanamaker which I reviewed recently here. According to the book which also contains a nice photo of Roy's home:
In 1952, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans moved into their new home, which was located at 9839 Andora Avenue. The Rogers family became well known Chatsworth celebrities. Rogers always attended the horse shows or skeet shooting matches at the nearby shooting club. Chatsworth was a horse town. Rogers and Evans kept their horses near them and could be seen riding in the neighborhood.
|Courtesy of CSUN Digital Archives, The Aqua Sierra Sportsman's Club in Chatsworth circa 1955|
|Courtesy Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection: Hollywood Citizen News/Valley Times Collection|
The Rogers lived in this house from the the 50's to 1965 (which was built in 1938) consisting of 5,774 sqft with 6 Beds/6 Baths where it was eventually subdivided. According to an L.A. Times Article, Rogers' House a Chatsworth Landmark by Martha L. Willman on July 7, 1998:
Still visible in the terrazzo tile floor are the fading initials of Dale Evans, Roy Rogers, and six of their children.....After they lost a child in a bus accident on a church outing--their third child to die--the couple in 1965 sold the property, saying it held too many sad memories for them......The ranch was purchased by Eugene D. Kilmer--an industrialist, Valley real estate developer and father of actor Val Kilmer--who died in 1993 in dire financial straits following the real estate downturn during the recession. The senior Kilmer's wife, Senga, continued to live in the house but closed off all but a small portion because of her inability to care for it.
So in 1965, the Rogers left for the Apple Valley and started the Roy Rogers' Double R Bar Ranch in Oro Grande which is about 10 miles northwest of Apple Valley. The Rogers owned this ranch up until Roy's death in 1998 which transferred to Roy Jr. who sold it to a family friend to be restored and is now available for sale. There was also a museum nearby in Victorville that was built in 1976, moved to Branson, Missouri in 2003 and closed in 2009. I remember seeing this museum off highway 15 onto Las Vegas. I never stopped by to visit this museum (which I now regret) because on the way up I was excited to get to Vegas and on my way back, well, you know, in a rush to get home for obvious reasons. On a side note, the Rogers lived in various locations in Southern California including Encino and Valencia according to the Movieland Directory.
|Courtesy of Postcardy: The Postcard Explorer|
So back to Chatsworth, this huge ranch prior to being subdivided was a filming location used by Roy for many of his Western films with the recognizable rock formations in the background. Val Kilmer's dad purchased this property and I believe subdivided into the many homes that exist today which he appropriately named the streets after Dale and Trigger. I guess he didnt want to include Roy for some reason. Fortunately, the original house still remains which is where Val Kilmer grew up at 22801 Trigger Street which I believe he left sometime in the late 70's after graduating from Chatsworth High School to attend Juilliard School in New York City.
I am not sure what has physically changed in the original home in terms of its size as it has had numerous sales transactions noted below. Based on the L.A. Times article by Willman noted above, it appears that Eugene Kilmer's wife, Senga owned it for some time and she may have subdivided the original estate. The estate is currently 3+ acres but homes located south of it were all built in 1996 vs. nearby homes of the ranch estate that were built in the 70's. There was a multi property sale in 1994 shown below suggesting that the land the homes occupy were originally part of Roger's estate. There was another multi-property sale in 2001 that could be other adjoining land. You can find exterior pics of the home today at this website. One other side note, Val Kilmer attended Chatsworth High School along with Kevin Spacey who also hung out near Trigger street (who also attended Northridge Military Academy and Canoga Park High School) and named his production company after it, Trigger Street Labs and Mare Winningham. The teacher of that drama department must have had the time of his life with those three future stars.
|Jul 26, 2001||Sold (Public Records) |
This was part of a
|Jan 19, 2000||Sold (Public Records)||$990,000||11.0%/yr||Public Records|
|Aug 24, 1995||Sold (Public Records)||$625,000||23.1%/yr||Public Records|
|Oct 31, 1994||Sold (Public Records) |
This was part of a
Based on a lookup of property records, John Swartzwelder purchased the property for $1,650,000 on Aug 9, 2001. Assuming my internet research is correct, Swartzwelder is an American comedy writer and novelist best known for his work on the Simpsons. He is a notorious recluse and according to Wikipedia, "When California passed an anti-smoking law, Swartzwelder bought the diner booth and installed it in his house, allowing him to continue his process in peace." So I wonder if one can find this booth in the old Roy Roger's estate today.
We got off on a huge tangent here with respect to the subject property of this post. The reason being is that the original listing for this property mentioned that the home was originally owned by Val Kilmer. So we did some researching and could not verify which doesnt mean it is incorrect but some things dont make sense which makes us question that assertion. What we do know from above is that Val's father, Eugene, owned the Roy Roger's original estate home which is where Val grew up while attending high school. The home that just sold which is literally two houses down the street was built in 1978 which was around the time that Val attended Juilliards in NYC. I guess its possible that he returned back to Chatsworth when his acting career took off in the 80's and 90's (remember Kilmer in Top Gun, The Doors, Tombstone, and Willow) and wanted to be close to his parents and live right next door to the original Roy Roger estate home. I guess someone out there needs to contact Val Kilmer or his agent to confirm if he lived in this house.
So now back to the subject property of this post. This home was purchased by Christopher Hart in May 1995 for $324,000 and sold 10 years later in September 2005 for $950,000 netting Hart a triple gain here. Pretty good timing there on Hart's part before the big real estate crash. You can read about Hart in an L.A Times article titled Like Father, Like Son? Sort Of by Daryl Miller on October 17, 1999 which also mentioned Hart being a resident of Chatsworth. The new buyer could not afford the property at $950,000 and sold its as a short sale for $600,000 in September 2011. So the bank took about a $300k loss from that original note. I guess it could have been worse. This property measures 4 Beds/4 Baths on 4,183 sqft that is tucked right into the Santa Susana mountains. The home has mountain and city views and had various updates.
This post ended up being a lot longer and containing more content than I expected but that is perfectly fine with me as I was able to discover that the original Roy Roger's estate is still intact and nobody demolished it despite the entire ranch estate being subdivided. As this post demonstrates, there are still hidden gems throughout the San Fernando Valley, just need to get out and look for them.
You can read more Celebrity R.E. here.