Have you cruised up the coastline to enjoy the wild canyons and beaches of Malibu this summer? Even though the traffic can be odious, the scenery is spectacular. Ever wonder how Malibu came to be… before Gidget came on the scene, that is?
The King and Queen of Malibu: The True Story of the Battle For Paradise, written by David K. Randall, unlocks the mystery and provides a fascinating glimpse of life in early Los Angeles. Pop it in your beach bag and learn how Frederick Rindge came to California from Boston in the early 19th century to soothe his fragile health, and used his considerable inheritence to develop much of what we now know as downtown. He and his wife May settled in West Adams, where the hoi polloi lived and where many of the city’s early mansions still stand.
Rindge was one of the wealthiest men in the state and purchased some 13,000 acres of craggy coastline – for $10 an acre. After Frederick’s untimely death at 48, his wife battled the city for control of their extensive holdings; ultimately the case went to the Supreme Court and eventually May had to concede public access to what we know now as Malibu. May had run through her fortune, but wasn’t worn out – she developed the first movie star colony and founded Malibu Potteries.
The book surmises that if May Rindge had given up her holdings earlier, Malibu would be a very different place today. You can learn more about one of California’s most interesting women by visiting The Adamson House. Her only daughter Rhoda married Merritt Adamson and the prime piece of real estate was their wedding gift. It is now owned by the State of California, allowing us all to enjoy what was once the Rindge’s private, rugged ranch.