Once a private ranch
Malibu may suggest wealth and glamour but when passing through you might well wonder where the famous faces are hiding. In fact, the big names and big money are either concealed in the inland canyons or in luxury beach-side homes carefully sited where there is restricted public access to the sands – despite the fact that all LA beaches are public property.
For many years, Malibu was the private ranch of one Frederick Rindge, who made every effort to keep the area separate and aloof from the expanding Los Angeles until the Supreme Court ruled that a road (the present Pacific Coast Highway, the local section of Hwy-1) could be driven through his land.
From the 1920s, a cast of Hollywood celebrities – including Clara Bow, Barbara Stanwyck and Gloria Swanson – moved into the luxury homes of the Malibu Beach Colony, a beachside area whose exclusivity is carried into the present by a household-name population of film stars, sports champions, rock musicians, TV personalities and others.
You’ll find the well-guarded homes of the Malibu Beach Colony on Webb Way, off Pacific Coast Highway, but if star-spotting (or hoping to) doesn’t appeal, time is better spent at Malibu Lagoon State Beach, which draws surfers to its southerly swells and local history enthusiasts to the Adamson House, a striking Spanish Colonial-style house from the time of the Rindge ranch, and the exhibitions of the adjoining Malibu Lagoon Museum (http://www.adamsonhouse.org).