Malibu Complete MALIBU HISTORY: 1970 TO CITYHOOD IN 1991

Malibu History: 1970 to Cityhood in 1991

Pepperdine University, Malibu Campus, opened in 1972.  The cross on the Phillips Theme Tower at Pepperdine is a visible symbol of the university’s commitment to Christian values.Copyright
Pepperdine University, Malibu Campus, opened in 1972. The cross on the Phillips Theme Tower at Pepperdine is a visible symbol of the university’s commitment to Christian values.

Malibu Poised for More Development

Malibu Barbie book cover

As the 1970s opened, Malibu remained the icon for the California beach life, youthful fun-in-the-sun and a magnet for international attention, tourist visitors and new residents. Mattel's 1971 "Malibu Barbie" doll captured the spirit of Malibu, dressed in an aqua bathing suit and equipped with a yellow towel and sunglasses, ready to step out onto Surfrider Beach. According to Mattel, Malibu Barbie was one of the most popular Barbie dolls ever created. The cover of the Malibu Barbie book (image,left) says it all.

By 1970 Malibu had developed substantially since World War II, but it was still a long way from what it was to become. Many of the landmarks of Malibu today were built in the decade of the 1970s. These sections of provide many of he key changes during the 1970s and 1980s leading up to Malibu becoming its own city in 1991.

Continue with Malibu Becomes a City ...

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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