Annual Picnic at Pine Tree Circle

Topanga Historical Society To Hold Annual Picnic

Sunday, October 28th, at 12 noon

Meet-and-Greet Pine Tree Circle’s New Owners and Enjoy The Newly Hung Historical Vintage Business Signs at the THS Office!

Topanga’s Pine Tree Circle shopping center is the site for the Topanga Historical Society’s annual picnic to be held on Sunday, October 28th, at 12 noon. The program will include an opportunity to meet and greet the new owners of Pine Tree Circle, Joseph and Nathan, and to view the society’s recently installed collection of vintage Topanga business signs that grace the walls of its office. The program will also include a presentation of the colorful history of the Pine Tree Circle location, and Kathy Burke, former owner of Pat’s Topanga Grill, will be on hand to answer questions about the vintage business signs.

Bring your best dish to share for the now famous potluck feast! Paper plates, cutlery, coffee, tea, and lemon water will be provided. Please bring a folding lawn or beach chair for comfortable seating. Everyone is invited! Pine Tree Circle is located at 122 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.

Gail McTune
THS Event Chair


Tales from the Beach, Part 1

Ever wonder about the local folklore concerning cabins on Topanga Beach that were demolished in 1978? Or stories before the bulldozing of the Rodeo Grounds in 2003? And how did it get its name anyway? Your curiosity will be satisfied at the Topanga Historical Society Quarterly meeting, Wednesday evening, July 19 at the Topanga Community Club. The potluck begins at 7 PM before the 8 PM program.


Topanga Historical Society Ushers in Spring the “Wright” Way, Sunday, April 2017. See you there!

Usher in Spring the “Wright” Way! Join your fellow community members one week from today (Sunday, April 2nd) at the famous Wright Ranch to hear Mary and Eric Wright relate the awesome history of the property, as well as the personal histories and passions this awe-inspiring land has nurtured throughout the years.

In keeping with Topanga custom, the potluck starts at noon so bring some grub and have some fun! Check out this flier or for details.

We can’t wait to see you there!


Calling All Cowboys! THS Picnic, Sunday, October 23

Join us this Sunday at the famous Cheney Ranch at high noon for a fun fall picnic followed by our quarterly program! Members of our community will be sharing stories and historical information about Topanga’s Cheney Family, one of the longest standing and most storied lineages of Topangans to exist.

Western gear is encouraged so dust off your cowboy boots and Wranglers, don that well-worn 40 gallon hat and mosey on up.

See y’all on Sunday!



THS Quarterly Event, April 20, 2016


Artist Megan Rice is the featured speaker at the Topanga Historical Society’s April 20th program at the Topanga Community House. Her presentation, “Jack and Barbara Rice: Students of Black Mountain College”, will be based on her book Black Mountain College; My Creation Myth which describes the deep and lasting influence Black Mountain College had on her parents.

Founded in 1933, the school was a renowned experimental college that placed inquiry, discussion and experimentation at the center of its artful curriculum. Many well known artists, poets, musicians and dancers taught and performed there.

Those interested in knowing more about the school’s history can visit the Hammer Museum’s current exhibition “Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 which is on view now until May 15. The extensive show features many works by Black Mountain College students and teachers including John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Olson and Peter Voulkos.

Even before they had met Jack and Barbara were interested in Black Mountain College which Jack had learned about from a fellow paratrooper and Barbara from a magazine article. In 1948 shortly after their marriage they drove from California to North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and enrolled in the school that was near Asheville. They spent two years there until Jack’s G.I. bill ran out, and they returned to Los Angeles. In 1956 they moved to Topanga where they bought a one room cabin with an outhouse, and no water or electricity.

Megan writes “Daddy tore out the walls, put up beams, and scrawled literary quotes on them with carpenter’s chalk.” In time the rustic structure became a distinctive two story craftsman style house where Jack and Barbara raised their four children, Megan, Anthea, Caitlin and Aran, and welcomed their wide circle of friends. Megan recalls sitting at the dinner table with her parents’ guests when the conversation was “Black Mountain this, Black Mountain that” and knew “there was clearly great excitement associated with the stories.”

To support his family Jack turned to stone masonry because it was, Megan writes, “ the closest thing to sculpture.” For the next four decades Jack worked with stone, building magnificent fireplaces which Megan estimates number roughly sixty in Topanga alone. Slides of Jack’s work will be included in the presentation, and Randy Just, Jack’s employee of many years, and an accomplished Topanga craftsman in his own right, will contribute colorful memories and insights.

Barbara too devoted herself to artistic expression. Besides caring for her family, raising goats and chickens and tending her vegetable garden, she wrote poetry, often drawing inspiration during her hikes in Red Rock Canyon. She always carried a pencil and index cards ready to jot down phrases that came to her. Examples of her poetry will be read during the presentation

Come at 7:00 p.m. for our community potluck. Bring your best dish. The presentation starts at 8:00 p.m. Organic coffee, tea and lemon water will be provided. The Community House is located at 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. Signed copies of Megan’s book will be available for purchase as will copies of The Topanga Story Expanded Edition. The program is free and everyone is invited. We will pass the hat to defray the new Community House charges.

Outlaws of Topanga! THS Potluck and Talk Wednesday, January 20th, 7 PM

Come one, come all! Join your fellow Topangans at the TCC (Topanga Community House) on Wednesday, January 20th @ 7 PM, for our quarterly program and potluck.  Topanga Historical Society board member and local historian Eric Dugdale  will regale us with facts and legends surrounding three of Topanga’s most infamous outlaws: Mickey Cohen, Miguel Leonis, and Tiburcio Vásquez.  Please click link below for more information.

Join us for a fun evening of tall tales and amazing insights into some of the more colorful history of our amazing little community!

The potluck starts at 7 PM, so please bring a dish to share along with your favorite libation. We will be providing organic coffee, tea, and lemon water. The program begins at 8 PM and the more, the merrier! We look forward to seeing you there.

*For more info please visit