Everything you ever wanted to know about Topanga Beach History, but didnâ€™t know to ask is here. In this meticulously researched chronicle of the events taking place at this mostly overlooked bastion of eccentrics, dreamers and schemers, you get the answers.
The spirit of enterprise began with marketing relics found in burial mounds of native peoples dating back about 7,000 years. With the arrival of the Spanish who doled out huge land grants to the elite, rodeos began. Soon makeshift lodging sprang up at Topanga Beach and the party that lasted more than a hundred years began.
The geography has changed since crowds of thousands clamored for seats at events at Topanga Beach. In 1906 a sea arch collapsed beneath where posh Mastroâ€™s Ocean Club sits today. The arch marked the end of the highway until the death of May Rindge, the â€śQueen of Malibu,â€ť who spent her fast fortune fighting those who wanted to lay railroad tracks through her land. Before Pacific Coast Highway was established there was a lagoon with a large bird population opening to the surf.
Moonlight dance parties often lasted the night. Rodeos with spur-jangling cowgirls and boys drew crowds of thousands. Rumors of bull fighting brought more. Bootlegging blossomed during prohibition and Hollywood made its mark there as well.
There was even a notorious cult performing secret ceremonies. Storms eventually took out the holiday cabins that popped up on the beach. Then, came the surf culture. An amazing array of characters populated the Topanga Beach between 1820 and 1920. The photo gallery included in this compact, yet concise history of this dynamic time is worth the price of admission.
Topanga Beach: A History by Pablo Capra is available from the Topanga Historical Society and Topanga Home Grown.