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THE BEST OF MALIBU BEACH
Everything you want to know about the surf, the sun, the fun, the stars, the funkiness and surfer stars, the 50’s, 60’s, the arts and music, now and way back when Malibu was this magical little place where rebels, poets, writers and eclectic mavericks made their special place.
Just saying the word “Malibu” probably brings on all sorts of images in your head, pictures of the beach and the Pacific Ocean, the amazing houses and estates along the bluffs overlooking the scene, and more. If that’s what you’re thinking about, it’s certainly no mistake, as that is exactly what Malibu is known for, and what it looks like. From its super exclusive residential communities for rich and famous, to its vast miles of beaches which attract surfers from around the world, Malibu is a place all to its own.
History of Malibu
Malibu Demographics and Geography
Malibu has over 100 square miles of area, which technically makes it one of the largest single city areas anywhere in the United States! However, that can be misleading. Over 80 square miles of that is water and ocean space, leaving a bit less than 20 square miles of land. Being right on the shore, the elevation is basically right at sea level, and there are 21 miles of pristine Pacific coastline which has become the world renowned appeal of the city of Malibu.
According to the most recent census, there are about 12,500 year-round residents of Malibu, and over 5,000 households. It’s a predominately Caucasian area, with over 91% of residents being white, and then 8% being Asian. Of course, it’s also a very wealthy community, and the median household income is over $102,000.
Malibu Real Estate
Malibu real estate is certainly in high demand, and it has become even more so as prices have dropped with recent economic struggles felt both nationally and globally. It’s a luxurious mix, with hundreds of homes valued at more than $2.5 million being for sale. At the same time though, there are also more affordable finds in different neighborhoods and for smaller households too.
Any talk of Malibu real estate of course has to touch upon Malibu Colony. The famous Colony dates back the better part of a century, and is an extremely private, exclusive and wealthy gated neighborhood. The multi-million dollar homes offer astonishing coastline views and beach access, and it has long been a celebrity haven and enclave, whether for full-time living or beach house vacationing. If you’re looking to purchase real estate within Malibu Colony, well, you’ve certainly made it!
Malibu (pronounced /ˈmælɨbuː/) is an affluent, beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 12,575. Malibu consists of a 21-mile (34 km) strip of prime Pacific coastline. The community is famous for its warm, sandy beaches, and for being the home of many Hollywood movie stars and others associated with the entertainment industry. Signs around the city proclaim “27 miles of scenic beauty”, referring to Malibu’s original length of 27 miles (43 km) before it was incorporated in 1991.
Most Malibu residents live within a few hundred yards of Pacific Coast Highway (State Route 1), which traverses the city, with some residents living up to a mile away from the beach up narrow canyons, and many more residents of the unincorporated canyon areas identifying Malibu as their hometown. The city is also bounded (more or less) by Topanga Canyon to the east, the Santa Monica Mountains consisting of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, and Woodland Hills to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the south, and Ventura County to the west.
Malibu’s beaches include Surfrider Beach, Zuma Beach, Malibu State Beach, Topanga State Beach, Point Dume State Beach and Dan Blocker Beach; its local parks include Malibu Bluffs Park (formerly Malibu Bluffs State Park), Trancas Canyon Park, Las Flores Creek Park, and Legacy Park, with neighboring parks Malibu Creek State Park, Leo Carrillo State Beach and Park, Point Mugu State Park, and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and neighboring state beach Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach, that was once part of Old Malibu (before Malibu became a city), and better known as pristine beaches, El Pescador, La Piedra and El Matador.
Malibu was originally settled by the Chumash, Native Americans whose territory extended loosely from the San Joaquin Valley to San Luis Obispo to Malibu, as well as several islands off the southern coast of California. They named it “Humaliwo” or “the surf sounds loudly.” The city’s name derives from this, as the “Hu” syllable is not stressed.
Spanish explorer Juan Cabrillo is believed to have moored at Malibu Lagoon, at the mouth of Malibu Creek, to obtain fresh water in 1542. The Spanish presence returned with the California mission system, and the area was part of Rancho Topanga Malibu Sequit — a 13,000-acre (53 km2) land grant — in 1802. That ranch passed intact to Frederick Hastings Rindge in 1891. He and his widow, Rhoda May Rindge, guarded their privacy zealously by hiring guards to evict all trespassers and fighting a lengthy court battle to prevent the building of a Southern Pacific railroad line. Few roads even entered the area before 1929, when the state won another court case and built what is now known as the Pacific Coast Highway. By then May Rindge was forced to subdivide her property and begin selling and leasing lots. The Rindge house, known as the Adamson House (a National Register of Historic Places site and California Historical Landmark), is now part of Malibu Creek State Park and is situated between Malibu Lagoon State Beach and Surfrider Beach, beside the Malibu Pier that was originally built for the family yacht.
In 1926, in an effort to avoid selling land to stave off insolvency, Rhoda May Rindge created a small ceramic tile factory. At its height, Malibu Potteries employed over 100 workers, and produced decorative tiles which furnish many Los Angeles-area public buildings and Beverly Hills residences. The factory, located one-half mile east of the pier, was ravaged by a fire in 1931. Although the factory partially reopened in 1932, it could not recover from the effects of the Great Depression and a steep downturn in Southern California construction projects. A distinct hybrid of Moorish and Arts and crafts designs, Malibu tile is considered highly collectible. Fine examples of the tiles may be seen at the Adamson House and Serra Retreat, a fifty-room mansion that was started in the 1920s as the main Rindge home on a hill overlooking the lagoon. The unfinished building was sold to the Franciscan Order in 1942 and is operated as a retreat facility, Serra Retreat. It burned in the 1970 fire and was rebuilt using many of the original tiles.
Malibu Colony was one of the first areas inhabited after Malibu was opened to the public in 1929 and it is one of Malibu’s most famous districts. It is located along Malibu Road, westward of the Pacific Coast Highway, on the opposite shore of the Malibu Lagoon State Beach and adjacent to the Malibu Bluffs Park (former state park). Initially May Rindge kept control of Malibu Beach, allowing a few wealthy Hollywood stars to build vacation homes. Nearly a decade later, money woes forced Rindge to sell the land, and the Colony was born. Long known as a popular private enclave for wealthy celebrities, the Malibu Colony today is a gated community, with multi-million dollar homes on small lots. The Colony commands breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, affording a spectacular coastline view stretching from Santa Monica to Rancho Palos Verdes to the south (known locally as the Queen’s Necklace) and the bluffs of Point Dume to the north.
High technology in Malibu: the first working model of a laser was demonstrated by Dr. Theodore Maiman in 1960 in Malibu at then Hughes Research Laboratory (now known as HRL Laboratories LLC). In the 1990s HRL Laboratories developed the FastScat computer code, for frequency domain algorithms and implementation, recognized as perhaps the most accurate code in the world for radar cross-section calculations. TRW built a laboratory in Solstice Canyon without any structural steel to test magnetic detectors for satellites and medical devices.
Incorporation: in 1991 most of the old Malibu land grant was incorporated as a city to allow local control of the area (as cities, unlike townships, are not subject to the same level of county government oversight). Prior to achieving municipal status, the local residents had fought several county-proposed developments, including an offshore freeway, a nuclear power plant, and several plans to replace septic tanks with sewer lines. The incorporation drive gained impetus in 1986, when the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved plans for a regional sewer that would have been large enough to serve 400,000 people in the western Santa Monica Mountains. Residents were incensed that they would be assessed taxes and fees to pay for the oversized sewer project, and feared that the already-capacity Pacific Coast Highway would need to be widened into a freeway to accommodate growth that they did not want. The Supervisors fought the incorporation drive and prevented the residents from voting, a decision that was overturned in courts.
The city councils that were elected in the 1990s were unable to write a Local Coastal Plan (LCP) that preserved enough public access to satisfy the California Coastal Commission, as required by the California Coastal Act. The state Legislature eventually passed a Malibu-specific law that allowed the Coastal Commission to write an LCP for Malibu, thus neutering the city’s ability to control many aspects of land use. Because of the failure to adequately address sewage disposal problems in the heart of the city, the local water board ordered Malibu in November 2009 to build a sewage plant for the Civic Center area. The city council has objected to that solution.
The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in central Malibu
The Paradise Cove pier in Malibu
Malibu is located at 34°1′50″N 118°46′43″W (34.030450, −118.778612).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 101.0 square miles (261.5 km²). Thus, Malibu is one of the largest cities in California and the United States in terms of land and water area. 19.9 square miles (51.5 km²) of it is land and 81.1 square miles (210.0 km²) of it is water (the city boundaries extend three miles (5 km) into the ocean). The total area is 80.32% water. Malibu has a population density of 632.9 persons per square mile of land area.
Malibu’s dry brush and steep clay slopes make it susceptible to fires, floods, and mudslides. Poor grading practices and over-irrigation or leaking pipes exacerbate the tendency for landslides.
Carbon Beach, Paradise Cove, Escondido Beach, Surfrider Beach, Broad Beach, Pirate’s Cove, Westward Beach, Zuma Beach, and Trancas are places along the coast in Malibu. Point Dume forms the northern end of the Santa Monica Bay, and Point Dume Headlands Park affords a vista of stretching to the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Santa Catalina Island. Directly below the park, on the western side of the point, is Pirates Cove, named for rum-runners during Prohibition who liked the secluded beach for offloading their cargo. Because of its relative seclusion, Pirate’s Cove was previously used as a nude beach, but because nudity is now illegal on all Los Angeles County beaches, nude sunbathers are subject to fines and/or arrest. On the eastern side of the point is “Little Dume”, a surf spot which is accessible only by an unmarked trail below Wildlife Drive which has a locked gate. Surfers often paddle out from Paradise Cove to the area when the waves are breaking.
Like all California beaches, Malibu beaches are technically public land below the mean high tide line. Many large public beaches (Zuma Beach, Surfrider Beach) are easy to access, but such access is sometimes limited in some of the smaller and more remote beaches. Some Malibu beaches are private, such as Paradise Cove, which charges an entrance fee to keep the crowds at bay. Although access to most all Malibu beaches can be obtained after a bit of a walk, the issue of expanded public access is continuously addressed and debated by the City. Many Malibu homeowners[who?] favor limited public access expansions to some beaches, claiming that many visitors are less likely than residents to respect the beaches or private property.
View from Malibu Bluffs State Park. Camera facing West toward Point Dume.
Malibu lies on the fringe of an extensive chaparral wilderness area, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Various environmental elements collectively create a recipe for natural disasters: the mountainous and geologically unstable terrain; seasonal rainstorms that result in dense vegetation growth; seasonal dry Santa Ana winds;
Not only known for its infamous beaches, and movie stars, Malibu has some of the finest art, music, venues and events in California. The area is also know for filming locations, and surf shops, surfing culture, and there are many philanthropic charity and humanitarian work being done by many of its beach residents.