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A Blast From The Past!

Brad Howard has contributed a copy of this Toluca Lake promotional brochure from the 1960s. Thirty-six pages of photos and information about Toluca Lake during a unique era.

General Charles Forman

Toluca Lake’s Founding Father


Written and submitted by Richard Bogy


One of the most popular television shows of the 1960’s was Bonanza, which told the story of a fictional character named Ben Cartwright. But was that character really fictional? Well, perhaps not entirely. There was a real person whose life greatly mirrored that of the television character, and that person is Toluca Lake’s founding father General Charles Forman.

General Forman was born near Owego, New York on January 14, 1835. Forman came to California at the age of 18 by way of the difficult Panama Isthmus route, where he first settled near Sacramento and worked for Wells Fargo and Company. The frontier and the mining riches of the Nevada territory soon called him and he moved to Virginia City in 1860. Forman quickly found success through his ownership in the Meadow Valley Mining Company. He expanded his business fortunes to include a lumber mill and a large cattle ranch along the shores of Lake Tahoe. 

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