In early May of this year my sister Diane, our friend Jean and me decided to hike around the Tapo Canyon area of Simi Valley. Our purpose was to see if we could gain access to the Big Sky Movie Ranch in order to photograph the former "Little House on the Prairie" film location. We meandered up and down small roads, photographing wild peacocks, checking out the old ranches and talking about the history of our hometown. Finally, we headed up Bennett Road, where the Big Sky Movie Ranch is located. Unfortunately we were unable to access the road leading to the former "Little House" set, but we did stumble upon some scenes being filmed for HBO's popular vampire series, "True Blood." Never one to miss an opportunity, I turned on my camera and captured some shots of the house.
Naturally, being the curious type (some would say nosy!) I wanted to know more about this little old house, it's use in the "True Blood" series, as well as it's history.
To find out more about it's purpose in the "True Blood" series only one person came to mind, Gary Wayne, webmaster of the "Seeing Stars" website. I have often utilized his informative and interesting site when seeking information regarding filming in the area. Gary was more than happy to help and he didn't disappoint. Not only that, he was silver-bullet quick with his responses! According to Gary, who took the time to re-watch older episodes in his efforts to provide identification, this house appeared first in Episode 12 of Season 3, when Hoyt surprises Jessica with her new house. But instead of telling you all about his discovery here, I invite you to visit his website and read for yourself. Gary has done far more justice to describing the scene than I ever could. Besides, I wouldn't want to deny you the privilege of having a look through the rest of his superb website.
Hoyt & Jessica's House - True Blood - Seeing Stars Website
Regarding the history of this quaint little ranch house, I believe it was originally part of the Tapo Rancho, which in 1904 was purchased by the Patterson Ranch Company of Oxnard, who intended to use this land for raising horses and mules, as well as grains and hay for feeding them. A 1911 map drawn up by Dessery & West, Civil and Hydraulic Engineers, shows this area of Bennett Road with a number of buildings identified, including the cook house, bunk house, Superintendent's house and the blacksmith shop. It is my belief that this was the former Superintendent's house. While part of the Tapo Rancho this area was known as the Home Camp, which indicated that this house was built before 1904. Later, this property was purchased by the Tapo Mutual Water Company, and is now owned by the Big Sky Movie Ranch.
If you'd like to view or purchase digitally filtered prints of this house please visit my gallery at:
Hoyt & Jessica's House gallery