Lake Los Angeles is located in the US Lake Los Angeles
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 34°37′4″N 117°50′1″WCoordinates: 34°37′4″N 117°50′1″W
Country United States
County Los Angeles
• Total 9.790 sq mi (25.355 km2)
• Land 9.741 sq mi (25.229 km2)
• Water 0.049 sq mi (0.126 km2) 0.5%
Elevation 2,661 ft (811 m)
• Total 12,328
• Density 1,300/sq mi (490/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
• Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 93535 (North of Avenue O) & 93591 (South of Avenue O)
Area code(s) 661
FIPS code 06-39612
GNIS feature ID 1666854
Lake Los Angeles is a census-designated place (CDP) in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 12,328 at the 2010 census, up from 11,523 at the 2000 census. It is located 17 miles (27 km) east of Palmdale’s Civic Center. According to the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance report of 2009, the Palmdale / Lancaster urban area has a population of 483,998, which Lake Los Angeles is a part of.
The region was once called Los Angeles Buttes, since they were the only ones in the northern part of the county. The film history of the region dates back to 1938. Numerous movies, serials, commercials and television series were filmed in Lake Los Angeles for decades. Filmed segments and stock footage of “Bonanza” episodes made at the region include “The Mission”, “Gallagher’s Sons”, “Twilight Town”, “Big Shadow on the Land”, “The Deed and the Dilemma”, “The Oath”, “Second Chance” and “Meena.” Lake Los Angeles has two filming locations named “Four Aces Movie Location” (located on the northwest corner of 145 Street East and Avenue Q) and “Club Ed” (located east of 150 Street East between Avenue N and Avenue K). Both locations and surrounding areas have been used for television series, featured films, music videos, and television commercials.
The eponymous lakes (one dedicated to fishing and one dedicated to swimming and boating) have dried up. The fishing lake was stocked with trout, bass and catfish. In 1967, during the 1960s land speculation boom in the Antelope Valley, land developers bought 4,000 acres (16 km2) in the region, subdivided it into 4,465 lots, and artificially refilled the natural lake and named it Lake Los Angeles as an enticement to land buyers. Advertisements showed a water skier on the lake (which was probably no more than 5 feet deep) and a showcase home on the top of the nearby hill, giving the impression of a resort town. There was a country club and a high-end restaurant that over looked the large recreational lake.
There was also a small store/bar and grill. Streets were named Biglake Avenue, Lakespring Avenue and Longmeadow Avenue to draw attention away from the fact that the town was in fact a barren desert used for filming westerns. The lake was allowed to evaporate in the early 1980s after the initial developers sold their interests. Much of the land was sold to buyers who never visited the area. There are efforts to get the lake filled again, but the main obstacle has been funding.
Lake Los Angeles sits lakeless on the western edge of the Mojave Desert at an elevation of over 2,600 feet, feeling much closer to an eastern California desert town and much further from the metropolitan image evoked by the name Los Angeles.
Once called Wilsona after then-president Woodrow Wilson, and then Los Angeles Buttes, real estate speculators in the 1960s Antelope Valley development boom changed the name to Lake Los Angeles. They took a small natural lake formed in a basin around Lovejoy Spring and developed it into a larger pair of artificially filled lakes, one dedicated to fishing and one to recreational boating and swimming.
Along with the new lake and name came a new image, reinforced by advertising portraying the area as a resort destination and mentions of a country club and lakefront luxury lots. In reality, the mostly barren region of the High Desert had a history of being used for filming movies and television Westerns which capitalized on the area’s sparse desert landscape, and the manmade lakes were only around 5 feet deep.