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Original Malibuites


Chumash_who_shared_cultural_knowledge_with_AnthropologistsAn archeological site in Point Dume is listed on the state’s registry of historic places.  The site, called “Farpoint” was discovered by archeologist Gary Stickel.  Stickel said, “This find could change our understanding of the setting of North America by ancient peoples.  Instead of hunting parties traveling over the Siberian land ridge after the last Ice Age and settling here 14,000 years ago, this spear point might prove that early europeans arrived on America’s East coast and traveled over the whole continent to arrive here 17,000 years ago.” The spearhead now resides at the Santa Barbara History Museum.  The Chumash Indian were later inhabitants of Malibu.  Spanish settler Jose Bartoleme Tapia made the first legal claim to the lands of Malibu in 1802.  Tapia built a ranch in the canyons, a ranch occupied by several subsequent generations.


rindgefamilyIn 1892, a wealthy New England family headed by Frederick and Rhoda May Rindge bought the 13,316 – acre ranch for $300,000.  the family invested money from their own business in New England, acquired financial support from Union Oil and Southern California Edison, and ultimately purchased the entire 27-mile Malibu coastline.  They saw their newly acquired land as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern civilization.  Frederick Rindge died in 1905.

To keep trespassers off their land, the Rindges employed a virtual army of guards, and fought hard to keep the land private.  For 17 years, they battled with the City of Los Angeles to exclude the Southern Pacific Raiolroad, commercial development, and encroachers looking to acquire real estate.

The Rindges ultimately surrendered to economic pressures and a 1925 Superior Court order establishing the state’s right to eminent domain over the land.  In 1928, the Roosevelt Highway (now known as Pacific Coast highway) opened, allowing traffic to flow between Santa Monica and Oxnard, paving the way for future development and growth.

malibu1930The litigation cost the family most of their fortune.  Hard hit by the depression, May Rindge decided to ease her financial woes by leasing portions of the property.  In the 1930’s, she sold the La Costa area for six million dollars; and home sites were leased along a strand of the beach later known as the Malibu Colony.  As matters grew worse for mrs. Rindge, she began allowing outsiders to purchase land.  The area became a popular retreat for celebrities who spent their vacations at their Malibu homes.

Property owners were adamant that Malibu should remain a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city life of Los Angeles.  The desire to halt growth and development became even more pronounced in the 1970 – 1990 period when state concerns for the environment were also gaining momentum and publish support.


article courtesy of the city of Malibu


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