Along the PCH


€ You certainly know that Malibu Canyon Road runs through a tunnel. You surely don’t know this: Another tunnel runs under Malibu Canyon Road. It is partly for drainage, but the tunnel is large enough for horses and their riders and was originally a part of an equestrian trail, now mostly grown over. The tunnel is about one-half mile from Hughes.

€ I think one of the sweeter characteristics of Malibu life is the free flow of pedestrians and automobiles along Cross Creek Road. I hope that doesn’t ever change other than a speed bump or two. The shopping plazas have practically merged. The flow is cautious, cooperative and efficient.

€ The 1970 Chamber of Commerce directory lists seven Malibu restaurants: Cardi’s-at that time in the PierView complex and later in the Allegria location; Colony Coffee shop-a Malibu institution at PCH and Webb Way, now Subway parking; The Malibu Inn-now the Malibu Inn; Sea Lion-another classic, now Duke’s; Tonga Lei-gave way to Don the Beachcomber for a while and now the Malibu Beach Inn; Trancas-later Borderline and now P.O. boxes, hardware and coffee; and King-a-burger-wow now La Salsa.

€ There is a new fire hydrant at the corner of Webb Way and Civic Center Way. Why?

€ Cheers to the Pepperdine volleyball team, national champions! That makes five times our local team has been tops in the nation, second to UCLA. It is hardly noticeable, but Malibu has been home to national collegiate champions eight times now, in little more than 30 years, including champs in baseball, golf and water polo. How does eight men’s national titles size up? It is more than the universities of Florida, Washington, Auburn, Duke, Arizona, Alabama, Florida State, Washington State, Princeton, Tennessee, Maryland, Army, Navy, Harvard or Kentucky-and about 300 other Division I schools of less athletic prowess.

€ Noticed the sign along the PCH that says “Texas State Line?”

€ There is a relatively easy hike to one of the highest peaks in the Santa Monica Mountains. Nearly two miles west of Kanan, on Mulholland Highway, is an access to Bodle Peak. The hike from the highway is just a little more than one mile and the peak offers spectacular vistas of both sides of the mountain. Down the backside is a unique view of the Las Virgenes Reservoir and of Westlake Village. On Thomas Brothers map page 587, A5, there are three gates shown along Mulholland Highway. Use the east access. The center gate is private and the west path is overgrown. Passing vineyards, you can easily reach the mountain peak within one half hour.

€ An important archaeological dig in 1968 uncovered about 100 corpses at the mouth of Trancas Canyon near the end of Zuma Beach. The bodies were of original aborigine settlers, but not Chumash Indians. Pre-Chumash! The dig, conducted by the Malibu Archaeological Society and UCLA, determined the remains were from 4000 BC.

€ There are three new books at Diesel, A Bookstore that touch on Malibu history: “Malibu – A Century of Living by the Sea,” by Julius Schulman and Juergen Nogai, is a coffee table pictorial featuring more than 300 photos, mostly of homes on the beach, or near it. Black and white historical photos highlight the first 40 pages of the book. Homes from each of the past nine decades are featured. Most of the selections are named after the original owner who commissioned unique designs. A 1950s contribution, for example, is the Wing Family House on the bluffs above Paradise Cove at the end of Zumirez Drive, which featured two terraced, flat-roof wings and innovative floor-to-ceiling windows to take advantage of the ocean view. Dozens of other homes are featured, beginning with the original Adamson Estate.

“My Fifty Years in Malibu,” by Dorothy Stotsenberg, reflects on many facets of Malibu history, going back well before 1949 when she and her husband Ed first moved to Malibu. This smoothly written book provides inside glimpses of many of the key moments, people and lifestyles of Malibu’s last half century. Detailed reflections on the original Decker School and Malibu Dam, for example, are most interesting.

“Malibu Diary-Notes from an Urban Refugee,” by Penelope Grenoble O’Malley, focuses on the land use and natural disaster challenges of the past generation within Malibu. Many of Malibu’s players and issues are on display, giving an inside look at the workings of a city always in transition and always involved in controversy.

Note: Stotsenberg and O’Malley have both been major past contributors to The Malibu Times over the years, as well as David Wallace (no relation to me), who wrote the forward to “Malibu – A Century of Living by the Sea,” and who continues to write for the Malibu Times Magazine.

€ Well, the pink Corvette in town wasn’t enough. We now also have a pink Miata.

€ There are now seven stoplights between Paradise Cove and Trancas. If you can get through them in less than three red lights, you are lucky.

€ There was once a canyon between Malibu and Puerco canyons. It was called Marie Canyon. Now it is Pepperdine.

€ Malibu averages about 150 days per year with no clouds.

€ Sept. 1, 1962 was an important day in Malibu history. Water came to Malibu! That was the day water lines were ceremoniously opened up along the highway (as far as Malibu Canyon, originally).

€ In the 1960s, a cable car brought the Zeman family from their bluff top home at Paradise Cove down to the beach. The Coastal Commission would freak out over such a thing now. The property next-door to that one has its own current-day distinction-it is for sale for $65 million.

€ If you review Malibu life of the past as I do, it almost seems like current times are stale and sterile compared to past periods. Once, this small town teemed with bar life, rodeos, boating, surfing, horseback riding and a myriad of local functions. It surprises me that there is not more boating life on the water. Why is boating not more popular? With the all the extra free time and money that people have, shouldn’t there be more kayaks and Hobie cats out there? Furthermore, I am certain the number of aircraft over our skies has diminished also. At least we have the paragliders occasionally adding color to our skies.

€ Malibu had five churches in 1965, four of which remain in their locations: Malibu Presbyterian, Our Lady of Malibu, St. Aidan’s, and Malibu Methodist. The fifth was the First Church of Christ Scientists, near Las Flores and PCH at the time.

€ According to old records, 60 people had phone service in 1930, mostly up the beach in the Movie Colony and near the middle of town, at Las Flores and PCH.