Malibu Complete MALIBU HISTORY

Malibu History

Main entrance of the Adamson House, Rhoda Rindge Adamson's home on Vaquero Hill, now a California State Park and the Malibu Lagoon Museum.Copyright
Main entrance of the Adamson House, Rhoda Rindge Adamson's home on Vaquero Hill, now a California State Park and the Malibu Lagoon Museum.

Malibu History

The modern history of Malibu starts with the Spanish explorers of California, a heritage that continues to be expressed today in street and neighborhood names as well as architectural styles. The Spanish land owners were followed by Americans who loved the unique place nestled between the mountains and the sea. Today, the huge Rancho Malibu is divided up into commerical and residential parcels of all sizes, but Malibu is still loved by residents and visitors alike for the same age-old reasons.

The history of Malibu is described in these pages of

Sources and Recommended Books about Malibu's Development

These books offer a wonderful introduction to Malibu and its history, with many specifics and details not generally available. Highly recommended.

  • Malibu: California's Most Famous Seaside Community, by Marian Hall, is a delightful book with the details of Malibu's development from the original Malibu Beach Movie Colony up to 2005, with many beautiful current and historical photos illustrating the narrative.
  • Malibu : A Century of Living by the Sea by Julius Shulman and Juergen Nogai, is basically an architecture book but is also far more. Its flawless photos of Malibu homes span the entire history from the Rindge Rancho to the 2000s with insightful commentary on the trends and architects who created the trends in each period. Many of the photos show more than the home, supplying a glimpse of life in Malibu at the time.
  • My Fifty Years in Malibu by Dorothy Stotsenberg, is a rich serving of personal reminiscence and research about Malibu's history, recent past, and current issues illustrated with an excellent collection of historical photos. The Stotsenbergs moved to Malibu in 1949 and have been actively involved in the community since. The privately printed book is available in book stores in the Malibu area.
  • WW II Homeland Defense: U.S. Coast Guard Beach Patrol in Malibu, 1942-1944, by Ronald L. Rindge, is full of details, including the author's personal memories and experiences, of Malibu during World War II. Available at the gift shop of the Malibu Lagoon Museum if out of print elsewhere.
  • City of Malibu, General Plan, November 1995

In addition to the above publications, the archives of the Malibu Times -- articles by Rick Wallace in particular -- are invaluable, providing fine-grained details to illuminate the rich texture of Malibu's past and present. Other periodicals from Malibu, the Los Angeles area, and beyond have written about Malibu and its inhabitants. The Los Angeles Public Library, Malibu Branch, houses many unique items of Malibu history which can be uncovered there.

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