From 1941 to 1946, the Ward family served as caretakers of the Crags Country Club, a private club for wealthy Angelenos located
in the Santa Monica Mountains. This digital collection features photography of the Ward family living and working on the Crags
ranch, as well as images of Hunt House and Las Virgenes School, and behind-the-scenes images of several movies, which were
frequently filmed on location at the ranch.
The Ward family were caretakers of Crags Country Club from 1941 to 1946. The Club was founded by wealthy Los Angeles businessmen in 1900 on 2,000 acres of what is today Malibu Creek State Park. Joseph A. Ward was hired by John G. Mott, a prominent Crags Country Club member, to care for the Crags farm, grounds, and various buildings, such as the clubhouse
and members' private homes. Joseph A. Ward lived in the ranch house on the floodplain with his wife Elvira (née Rowland, called
"Vida") and son Joseph W. Ward (Joe Ward Jr.). During the early 1940s, the Crags Country Club fell into decline, with membership rapidly shrinking due
to pressure from the Great Depression and World War II. During this time, the Club grounds were primarily used as shooting
locations for Hollywood movies. Many movie studios used the property, and 20th Century-Fox Film Corp even hired Joseph A. Ward as a caretaker to watch over the movie sets. At this time, property still belonged to Crags Land
Co (Crags Country Club), with the movie studios leasing the land from the club for filming purposes. When the remaining shareholders
of Crags Country Club sold out to 20th Century-Fox Film Corp in 1946, the Ward family left. Fox brought in their own caretakers,
the Torpin family, to take over the job as caretakers and perform routine maintenance at the new "Century Ranch." The Ward
family lived at Crags Country Club for only five years, but they bonded with the property in that time. Joe Ward Jr. attended
the one-room Las Virgenes schoolhouse during his time there. Young Joe Ward Jr. remembered those years with fondness throughout
the remainder of his life.
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