Esteemed surf journalist and author of surfing books such as The Surfboard: Art, Style, Stoke, Surfing and the Meaning of Life, Graphic Surf: Decals, Patches, Stickers and Surfing USA!: An Illustrated History of the Coolest Sport of All Time, Ben Marcus, recently wrote a fascinating article entitled The Gates of Paradise – The Beginning of the Fall of the Malibu Ranch: 1905-1907, that highlights the colorful and tumultuous history of Malibu, California in the early 1900’s.
The article, from Malibu Magazine, documents the plight of May Rindge, a wealthy widow that owned all of present day Malibu (13, 315 acres, 21 miles of coastline, from Las Flores Canyon to the Ventura County Line, from Duke’s Restaurant to Neptune’s Net) and seeked to protect her land from trespassers and government encroachment. And while widows of the early 20th century might not float your boat, this article includes guns, brushfires, squatters, old-fashioned cowboys and, what some could argue, the first Malibu local. Valleys Go Home used to be followed by gun shots!
The article is a must read for anyone interested in the history of Malibu, coastal access in Malibu or surfing in Malibu. It is also a thought-provoking article from a property rights perspective as we get to examine the progress (or retraction) of property rights with respect to government meddling.