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Malibu History

Welcome to The Malibu History Research Guide



The Malibu Historical Collection covers a range of subjects and formats that you can begin to discover right here through this guide.

The goals of this collection are to tell the story of Malibu – its history, heritage, and people; to create a repository for papers, videos, oral histories, photos, books, and artifacts; and to collect, preserve, catalog, and exhibit materials related to the history of the region, thus making them accessible to a global audience.

Collections Online

Railway construction across beach with automobile
piece malibu tile in sand, green, clay, and blu

Post-Contact Malibu Historical Timeline

1542 First record of Spanish exploration by Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo in Bay of Santa Monica

1775 Jose Bartolome Tapia came to California [settled in San Jose], eventually to Malibu

ca. 1800 Tapia granted use of land [Malibu acres] for grazing stock by local governor in name of King

1848 Dona Maria Tapia sold 14,000 acres to Leon Victor Prudhomme; Prudhomme could not prove “rights” to domain

1857 Don Mateo Keller [Matthew] bought the property for 10 cents an acre during Panic of 1857

1892 Frederick Hastings Rindge bought “the farm” from Henry Keller for $10. an acre

1898  Happy Days in Southern California by Rindge published in Cambridge and Los Angeles

     It took a full day to drive to Malibu from Ocean Avenue by oxcart/buggy along shoreline

1903 Great Fire in Malibu took the ranch house and everything from mountains to shore

1905 Frederick Rindge died and left May Knight Rindge to be “Queen of the Malibu”

      During her remaining years, Mrs. Rindge spent their fortune fighting a public road through the Malibu.

1929 Opening of the coast road, public access highway 101 A [Pacific Coast Highway] through Malibu 

1940  May Knight Rindge, "The Queen of the Malibu" dies at the age of 76. 

1942 May's land and thousands of Malibu Potteries tiles are sold to the Franciscan Order for $50,000

1946  Reeves D. Templeman established a weekly newspaper, The Malibu Times

Source: Malibu Complete: Malibu History