Edgar Rice Burroughs bought the sprawling Harrison Gray Otis estate
in 1919 which he named Tarzana Ranch. The years here were happy ones but
the operation ran into financial difficulties after a few years.
Ed's mounting debts from his unsuccessful farming and ranching ventures
resulted in the Tarzana Ranch livestock and equipment being auctioned off
on January 15, 1923. The Burroughs Tarzana Tract subdivision project was
very slow in getting off the ground. Sales of residential lots in the Ventura
Boulevard section of the ranch were sluggish. Film companies made occasional
use of the Koonskin Kabin location of the ranch for film production, but
income from this source was sporadic. After some initial excitement, the
Golden Gate Oil Company had little success in finding oil reserves on the
ranch. Book sales were in a bit of a slump. Income from all sources was
not enough to balance the mounting debts from bad investments, high overhead,
and extravagant lifestyle.
In desperation, Burroughs sold 120 acres of the Tarzana Ranch in
early 1924. The property sale included the main house and grounds. Investors
planned to turn the property into an exclusive country club called the
El Caballero. Ed, in his role as managing director of the Club, was very
involved in membership drives, building plans and the running of the Club.
He seemed surprisingly contented with this turn of events, as it lessened
his financial difficulties and family pressures... temporarily, at least.
The move to a rental home in Los Angeles got them out of the social whirl
trap that they had gotten into at the Ranch, and it was also more convenient
for the kids' education. Perhaps the move could have been predicted as
in the 24 years that Ed and Emma had been married they had moved to about
24 different homes.
Burroughs severed all official connections with the foundering club
in late 1925. A year later the Burroughs family moved back to Tarzana to
live in a small house they had built on a lot on Mecca Avenue, from
which they had an excellent view of their former mansion on the nearby
hill. The lodgings may have been somewhat humble but their new location
still gave them free access to their beloved hills and trails to the south.
Although not a great financial success, the El Caballero golf
was highly respected and the course played host to the Los Angeles Open
Golf Tournament in 1927. The booklet featured here, and in the two following
Web pages, was produced as a souvenir of that event which was won by Bobby