The New York Motion Picture Company leased several thousand acres of land from the Santa Monica Water and Power Company in Santa Ynez Canyon, reaching down to the beach. After Thomas Ince became a part of the company, the studio/ranch became known as Inceville. Filming ceased at the property around 1922 and the buildings burned to the ground in 1924. The property was also known as Bisonville, Hartville, and Robertson-Coleville.
Inceville, looking out to the Pacific Ocean
Another shot of Inceville looking out to the ocean
Inceville, circa 1919, in center of picture
Click image for a larger view
Another view of Inceville during the time of Hartville
Postcard view of a set at Inceville (thanks to Tommy Dangcil)
From the June 26, 1920, issue of Motion Picture News:
To finish the task of giving to its producing units situated on the Pacific Coast the most complete possible equipment, Robertson-Cole has acquired an extensive property at Santa Monica, California, which is to be known as the "R-C Ranch." Its acquisition supplements the purchase of ground in Los Angeles, announced last week, upon which the erection of a studio, to house the producing units, has been begun.
The "R-C Ranch" was secured for the purpose of giving the various producing units which are making pictures for Robertson-Cole, open space on which to make their exterior scenes. Work on some of the early releases of Robertson-Cole already has been started at the ranch, and within a short time all Robertson-Cole exterior scenes which do not call for an extraordinary background will be made here.
There is a total of 460 acres of ground in the "R-C Ranch" which is so situated that it has a broad sweep of ocean along one side. Besides this feature, which provides admirably for the making of beach, sea-side, marine and deep-water productions, there is a great wealth of other sorts of backgrounds. The ranch contains streams of several sizes, ranging from a river down to a brook. Not only has it flat grounds, but there are great stretches of rolling country, as well as an elevation high enough to furnish mountains.
The ranch, as it now stands, is partly improved, containing a number of buildings of various sorts, which may be used in the making of a wide variety of pictures. It is the intention of Robertson-Cole immediately to start further improvements of the "R-C Ranch," so that it will equal, before many months have passed, any similar tract in the world.
Street scenes of many types are needed, and these will be started at once. Then there are to be many types of cuntry house, from the humble cottage through to the mansion of the wealthy, besides every other sort of building fashioned after the architecture of many lands, as Robertson-Cole pictures are cosmopolitan, not only in their appeal and scale, but in their stories and locations.
The "R-C Ranch" will be under the direction of H. R. Hough. He is general manager of Robertson-Cole Studios, Inc., the company which was recently incorporated to erect the Robertson-Cole Studio which is under way in Los Angeles, and which will improve the ranch now taken over. Aided by a large staff of assistants, Mr. Hough will execute the Robertson-Cole plans which call for the complete operation of both studio and ranch at the earliest possible date.
The acquisition by Robertson-Cole of the "R-C Ranch" is another movement in the series which has been executed within the last six months with the aim of making the company the distributor of pictures which are surpassed by none. With its producing units scattered, and forced to rent at extravagant prices the equipment which they needed, Robertson-Cole realized the great need of a central producing point, as well as a central control.
Consequently the plan of a central studio, as will as a central point for the making of exteriors, was made, and carried out. On his recent trip to the Coast, A. S. Kirkpatrick, vice president and general manager of the Robertson-Cole Distributing Corporation, looked at certain properties from which were selected, after his return to New York, that on which the studio is being built, and that which comprises the "R-C Ranch."
DIRECTIONS: From Los Angeles, take Interstate 10 west to Santa Monica. At the end of the freeway continue on until you turn right onto Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway). At Sunset Blvd, turn right. You are at the front of Inceville. At Palisades Drive, turn left. You are now in Santa Ynez Canyon where most of Inceville and its sets were located.
"War on the Plains" (Bison 1912) Directed by: Thomas H. Ince. Cast: William Eagle Shirt.
"Custer's Last Fight" (Quality Amusement Corp. 1912) Directed by: Francis Ford. Cast: Francis Ford, Grace Cunard, Charles K. French, Ann Little, William Eagle Shirt.
"Indian Massacre" (Bison 1912) Directed by: Thomas H. Ince. Cast: Francis Ford, Ann Little, Grace Cunard, William Eagle Shirt, J. Barney Sherry, Charles K. French, Lillian Christy, Art Acord.
"The Battle of the Red Men" (Bison 1912) Directed by: Thomas H. Ince. Cast: Jack Conway.
"The Lieutenant's Last Fight" (Bison 1912) Directed by: Thomas H. Ince.
"Peggy" (Kay-Bee 1916) Directed by: Charles Giblyn & Thomas H. Ince. Cast: Billie Burke, William H. Thompson, William Desmond, Charles Ray, Nona Thomas, Gertrude Claire, Truly Shattuck.
"A Corner in Colleens" (Kay-Bee 1916) Directed by: Charles Miller. Cast: Bessie Barriscale, Charles K. Franch, Aggie Herring, Alice Lawrence, Roy William Neill, Walter Perry, Charles Ray, Alice Terry, Margery Wilson.
"Civilization" (Triangle 1916) Directed by: Reginald Barker & Thomas H. Ince. Cast: Howard C. Hickman, Enid Markey, Lola May, Kate Bruce, J. Frank Burke, Charles K. French.
"Eye of the Night" (Kay-Bee 1916) Directed by: Walter Edwards. Cast: William H. Thompson, Margery Wilson, Thornton Edwards, J. P. Lockney, Aggie Herring.
"Civilization's Child" (Kay-Bee 1916) Directed by: Charles Giblyn. Cast: William H. Thompson, Anna Lehr, Jack Standing, Dorothy Dalton, Clyde Benson, J. P. Lockney, J. Barney Sherry.
"The Woman God Forgot" (Artcraft 1917) Directed by: Cecil B. DeMille. Cast: Wallace Reid, Raymond Hatton, Hobart Bosworth, Theodore Kosloff, Walter Long, Julia Faye, Olga Grey, Charles B. Rogers, Geraldine Farrar.
"Flame of the Yukon" (Triangle 1917) Directed by: Charles Miller. Cast: Dorothy Dalton, Melbourne MacDowell, Kenneth Harlan, Margaret Thompson, William Fairbanks, May Palmer.