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Malibu History: Development & Diversification
"Oh, the happy vaquero! Who would be a banker when he could ride the smiling hills and hide himself and horse in the tall mustard! Who would be a slave to desk and electric light darkness in a back room, when sunshine is free to all? Aye, a liberal competence is splendid, but slavery is often it's price. But then we cannot all be vaqueros" . . .
Frederick Hastings Rindge, 1898
In the Twentieth Century Malibu made the transition from a unified Rancho with one owner to a diversified community of homes, rental units, and commercial areas with the land subdivided into more and more parcels. The process started in 1926 when May K. Rindge's Marblehead Land Company began to lease and sell property within her Malibu holdings to pay mounting legal bills from her fight against public agencies who wanted to extend public roads onto the Malibu Rancho. Ironically, her failed fight to exclude the public roads opened up Malibu to multiple ownership for the first time.
Almost from the beginning, Malibu was associated with glamor and wealth: first the aristocratic Rindge family and their fight to keep the vast estate exclusively theirs, then the influx of Hollywood royalty, and later the sun gods and goddesses of the American post-War youth culture came to be epitomized by the Malibu surfing and beach scene. Today's Malibu still basks in that legacy and continues to make new legends as billionaires (and mere millionaires) vie with regular people to hit the beach.
The history of Malibu from the 1920s to Cityhood in 1991 is organized into these pages:
Continue with Malibu History: Cityhood ...
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.
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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