From Tarzana, California
Memories from the 
Danton Burroughs
Family Archive
John Coleman
Volume 1358

East Lawn

Los Angeles Times ~ March 27, 1921

Creator of Tarzan Describes His Amazing Rise to Fame and Fortunes as Author
By Roselle Dean ~ Los Angeles Times ~ June 25, 1922

Back of a prosaic roll-top desk in Chicago eight years ago, Edgar Rice Burroughs was directing business and never giving his friends an inkling of his literary aspirations.

Today he is rich and famous -- the master of Tarzana, magnificent ranch home in the San Fernando Valley.

From ERB Homes Gallery ~ ERBzine 0252

The author says he never liked business and admits that for years he had been garnering "plots" for future development. With a living to make and a growing family to raise, these plots had of necessity to remain leashed in Mr. Burroughs's "brainery," only coming to light eight years ago when changes in the commercial career of the writer gave him more leisure to dip his pen into literary ink.

The submission by Mr. Burroughs of his first story was in a unique way, for the author, doubtful of his talent and half ashamed of his efforts, sent the story to a publisher when it was only half completed.

No one was more surprised than Mr. Burroughs when a letter came from the publisher to the effect that he liked the first half of the narrative and if the remaining pages were as interesting he would be glad to accept the story. The remainder was submitted and the story was accepted, published and was highly successful.

Mr. Burroughs soon after became famous as the author of "Tarzan of the Apes."

Later, with royalties rolling in from his books, and their screen versions, Mr. Burroughs made a visit with his family to Southern California and then returned to his home at Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago -- but the call of the mountains and the sea became more and more insistent. He bought and christened Tarzana Ranch, one of the show places of California.

Tarzana is reached through a red, ragged-robin rose hedge, and riding through this floral bower, hovered over by humming birds and butterflies is an experience at once and forever engraved upon the memory.

Tarzana Ranch Living Room

The interior of the interesting castle is both homelike and artistic, huge fireplaces suggesting the delightful evenings of the Burroughs family and their friends; inglenooks, the joy of kiddies in the picture book stage; a well-stocked library; spacious ballroom; stately dining hall, and the breakfast corner with its gorgeous view of the mountains.

The new Burroughs pool - looking north
ERB and Family at the Tarzana Pool

The swimming pool and the gym attest the athletic proclivities of the author and  his family, which includes three splendid specimens of young America, one daughter, Joan, and two small sons.

With orioles and morning doves fluttering in the sycamores, it was difficult to record anything about Tarzana other than the glories of nature, but as pure-bred Hampshire swine were much in evidence in another part of the ranch, they must, as rare animals, come in for their honorable mention.

Pete and a Prize Berkshire at the new piggeryEd and Pete, the Pig Foreman

Pedigreed, vicious-eyed bulls, sufficiently 100 per cent to win the commendation of a learned professor of husbandry, munched mildly back of an inclosure which we all noted with much satisfaction was of substantial quality, while less dangerous smooth, brown cows, tagged by their wobbly calves, grazed contentedly near by.

Even the high-headed steed that cantered and whinnied to the master of Tarzana, failed to bring one completely out of the enthralling grip of the first glimpses of Tarzana Fairyland -- its hush and restful appeal.

Koonskin Kabin 1919

Coon Skin Cabin

Coon Skin Cabin, a half-mile from the ranch house, a rustic structure of logs, utilized as a mess house and sleeping quarters for the employees of the ranch, is another interesting feature of this fine estate, and is a spot one would consider ideal for the author to obtain his inspirations -- until he tells you that he writes "up over the garage" and refuses to have his den "fixed up" according to his wife and daughter's ideas.

From Back to Tarzana 1921

Edgar Rice Burroughs, whom the writer knew "way back when," is a picturesque fellow, big frank and unassuming. Despite his successes he never is sure that a new story will "go."  His fortunes have in no way affected him, his ambition is to write "better and bigger stuff," and as he looks about his beloved Tarzana, one can easily realize just how contented and happy is his existence in the beautiful hills that almost conceal his home.

Mr. Burroughs is now busy on another Tarzan story, which will be his forty-second book.

Ed and Kids at Tarzana

Los Angeles Times ~ October 8, 1922
Plans Prepared for Subdivision of Part of the Famous Ranch

A portion of the famous Tarzana Ranch, the home of Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of "Tarzan of the Apes" and other books, is to be subdivided and placed on the market immediately, according to an announcement made yesterday.  On a tract of 100 acres at the corner of Reseda avenue and Ventura Boulevard, with a frontage of 2000 feet on the latter thoroughfare, a new town, to house a colony of artists and literary people, will be founded. 

The name of Tarzana has been selected for the town. Tarzana, one of the show places of the foothill section, was formerly the home of the late Gen. Harrison Gray Otis. The residence, built by Gen. Otis, stands on the summit of a hill about half a mile back from Ventura Boulevard, overlooking the entire valley.

The portion of the ranch to be subdivided comprises a stretch of rolling land from the base of the hill to the State highway. Under present plans, the property will be divided into seventy-eight residential lots of an acre each, and the Ventura Boulevard frontage will provide sixty-three business blocks, each 100 feet deep.

In order to develop the artist colony which Mr. Burroughs has planned, lots will not be sold indiscriminately, it is said, but intending residents must file an application for property and from these applicants purchasers will be selected. 

Early Tarzana Development Map
Click for larger image
Promotional Booklet to sell Tarzana Tract plots


Los Angeles Times ~ November 11, 1923

Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of "Tarzan of the Apes," "The Girl from Hollywood," etc., says:

"My profession is such that I can live anywhere in the world that I choos, and I have lived on Tarzana through five winters and five summers with a total absence of less than two months, and I hope and expect to live here the rest of my life. 

"Tarzna property is a splendid investment. In what other direction than along the foothills of the Santa MOnica Mouintains can the fine residential district of Los Angeles extend?"


Don't be content until you have fully satisfied yourself of the wonderful natural and improvement advantages of
TARZANA -- The new and delightful homesite subdivision is just 12 miles from Hollywood on the Ventura Boulevard at Reseda avenue. Here you can have health and happiness in abundance. Here you can seek an independent living from raising poultry, fruits and vegetables. Here you can seek all the comforts of the most modern city residence -- with every improvement readily available -- at prices so ridiculously low that EVERYONE CAN AFFORD TO BUY -- and BUY NOW.


Think of that! Where, in Southern California can you find an offer of that kind?  Where, from the mountains to the sea, can you select a splendid location for a HOME at such a low figure? These spacious tracts -- 21,500 square feet -- are JUST  the tracts you have been waiting for. And here they are, for the person who desires the best things of life at modest prices. Full acres, city property, as large as many city lots, as low as $2250.00. City water, electric lights, schools, churches -- all improvements -- magnificent scenery -- accessibility -- EVERYTHING, right within your reach -- and at prices which should mean tremendous profit for the foresighted men and women who BUY now.

Call 62579. Ask for Mr. Currier or Mr. Long. A machine will call and take you to see TARZANA with absolutely no obligation to buy. Map of San Fernando Valley, Bulletin on Ventura Boulevard, etc. mailed upon request. If you live in Hollywood call 596-870. Tract office at Tarzana, Ventura Boulevard at Reseda Avenue.

617-618 Chamber of Commerse Bldg.
Los Angeles, California

News clippings from the Dale Broadhurst Collection
Photos from the Danton Burroughs Family Archive and the Hillman ERBzine Collection

Back to Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzana Ranch 1921
An Illustrated Docu-Novel by Bill Hillman
 A rare booklet from the '20s 
 written and published by Edgar Rice Burroughs 
The Tarzana Ranch Story
Home  by Edgar and Mary Evaline Burroughs
Article and Letters describing Tarzana 
Ranch Tour: ERBzine 0064
Farewell Tarzana
A Last Photo Tribute and Poem
Tarzana Ranch Mosaics:
ERBzine 0954 and ERBzine 0955
El Caballero Promotional Booklet 
Photos ~ Text by ERB ~ Art by Studley Burroughs
ERBzine 1091 ~ ERBzine 1092 ~ ERBzine 1093
Tarzana Trek
A Photo Diary by Bill Hillman
Tarzana Ranch Estate
Then and Now


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