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Larry Cameron's Legacy: Cameron Park

 Robert "Larry" Cameron, a man who transformed ranch land into prestigious neighborhoods, died January 9, 1992 from a long illness. His legacy is Cameron Park.
image of Cameron Park Country Club
"I think there are giants in this world, and Larry is one of them" said Cameron's long-time friend and Business associate, Dick Smith. Larry Cameron has also been described as a visionary and a dreamer and his road to greatness started early.

image of the Gazebo at Cameron Park LakeBorn in Calgary, Canada, January, 24, 1904, Cameron grew up in the saddle and became a champion rider in the 20's. He toured for two seasons with the Ringling Brothers' Wild West and made friends with Jack Dempsey along the way, a friendship that was to last 45 years. Dempsey became one of the early property owners in Cameron Park.

image of Cameron Park LakeRodeo injuries soon forced Larry Cameron to try other ventures. He became a sale representative for a hardware company and while traveling the western states, he met Ruth Harris.

It was the 1930s, Cameron moved to California and entered auto the sales business. He devoted 26 years to his image of Cameron Park AirportPontiac dealership in North Sacramento and became the world's largest volume auto retailer from 1957 until he sold the business in 1962. He made his fortune in auto sales and acquired 5,000 acres of land in the Sierra foothills for quarter horses and cattle ranching. His prize-winning livestock were sold throughout the world during the 1950's.

By 1959, however, Cameron was planning the development of a community that would one day embrace a private golf course, a lake, stables and parks. Cameron Estates was first born in 1961 from subdividing his ranch land into 200 small horse ranches. That same year, Cameron Park Country Club was under construction. It was completed September 1963 and was named El Dorado Royale Country Club. The Red Coach Inn had also been built, known as Sam's town, and plans were approved for Cameron Park Airpark Estates.

Larry Cameron once said "I had read about the same type of city in France. There aren't many like it in the world. I wanted a city you could park your airplane in your garage next to your car and your golf cart."

Larry Cameron sold nearly all his holdings by 1965. Cameron Park continued to flourish, with County officials predicting a population of 53,000 in the 21st Century.

And he did it with little formal education. "His education was from the streets", friend Dick Smith said. "He was like Henry Ford and other visionaries who knew they were visionaries. They're going to do it their way and they have the ability to do it. They have the confidence in themselves to overcome all obstacles. Larry was a humble and great man. There are 20,000 people now because of the vision and guts of Larry Cameron."  


Source courtesy of the County Museum
Mountain Democrat article published February 23, 1994