Browse Items (951 total)

Artist Bob DeWitt

Bob DeWitt was an artist and real estate agent who came to Topanga in 1941 with his wife Doi. He built a series of shacks on Topanga Canyon Blvd., where his family lived a free-spirited life. They all went barefoot and bathed each day in the ocean.…

Painter Linda Bolhuis in her studio

Painter Linda Bolhuis's medium is watercolor on paper or silk fabric. She is married to Rod, and has been part of Topanga's artist community for over 40 years.

Painter Arnold Schifrin

Painter Arnold Schifrin had art shows in LA's top galleries in the 1970s-1980s. He met Jack and Barbara Rice when they were students at Black Mountain College and followed them to Topanga. He taught art at UCLA. He died in 1994. His daughter…

Artist Megan Rice

Artist Megan Rice made this papier-mâché horse as a prototype for two sculptures that were commissioned by LA County for the Topanga Library's children's section. She is also a painter and has written and illustrated several books. She is the…

Stonemason Jack Rice visits Ireland

Stonemason Jack Rice visited Ireland with his son Aaron to get in touch with his Irish roots before his death in 2001. This photo was taken on the side of a country road, where they stopped to look at a dolmen, a megalithic tomb with a large flat…

Poet Barbara Rice sits in her study with her dog

Barbara Rice sits in her study with her dog. She was a poet interested in metaphysics, the wife of stonemason Jack Rice, and the mother of artist Megan Rice. She read widely and had a large book collection. She took daily walks around Old Topanga…

Jack Rice sits on the hearth of a fireplace he built

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Stonemason Jack Rice sits on the hearth of a fireplace he built for Carl and Leta Malone on Amy Way in 1981. Jack and his wife Barbara moved to Topanga in 1959. They met while attending Black Mountain College in North Carolina, a progressive Liberal…

Musician Fred Tackett sings and plays guitar

Musician Fred Tackett sings and plays guitar. Fred led the band Little Feat, which was popular in the 1970s-80s. He and his wife Patricia moved to Topanga in 1967. They were generous and community-minded. Fred played The Corral, and pro bono at many…

Musician Wally High sings and plays guitar

Musician Wally High sings and plays guitar. He was a member of The Grateful Dads, the only group that played Topanga Days in the early years. He wrote the song "Highway 27."

Musician Spanky McFarlane with her daughter Dee Dee

Musician Spanky McFarlane with her daughter Dee Dee. Spanky headed the Chicago folk group Spanky and Our Gang. When she moved to Topanga, she sang at The Corral, sometimes with Bear Hite (Canned Heat) and Lowell George (Little Feat).

The Messenger newspaper, last issue

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The portraits on the front page of the final Messenger newspaper were shot by Tony Verebes. He set up a studio in Pine Tree Circle especially for this "Topanga Community Quilt" project. The 33 well-known Topangans featured are Dan Larson, Joanne…

The Messenger newspaper, Issue #1

The first Messenger newspaper was published before a title had been found. Clockwise from top: Nico van den Heuval, Cornelius' Daddy, Intrepid Artist; Judee McBride, Ad Grabber; Jim Erickson, Friend; Mary Colvig, Typist, Moneybags, Saint; Mary…

The Nature Boys with Gypsy Boots and eben ahbez

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The Nature Boys—shirtless and eating watermelon—lived outdoors, sleeping in trees and caves. They were the first generation of Americans to adopt the German "naturmensch" philosophy that would later influence the Hippie generation. At back left is…

Kedric Wolfe revisits mural "Buddha on the Wall," 2017

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Liz Shepherd, David Totheroh, and Kedric Wolfe painted "Buddha on the Wall" on Labor Day 1982. The mural, designed by Shepherd, can still be seen on the retaining wall along Topanga Canyon Blvd., near Highvale Trail. In 2016, Clare Brown led a crew…

Elmer Wachtel painting, "Winter in Topanga," c. 1925

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Elmer Wachtel (1864-1929), "Winter in Topanga," oil on canvas, 30x40 in.

Elmer Wachtel painting, "Misty Sunlight, Topanga," c. 1925

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Elmer Wachtel (1864-1929), "Misty Sunlight, Topanga," oil on canvas, 24x32 in.

Aerial photograph with close-ups, 1962

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Aerial photograph with close-ups of Fernwood, Pine Tree Circle, Trippet Ranch, and Hillside Drive.

Topanga Beach panorama, 1928

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Topanga Beach panorama, 1928. In the photo are Potter's Store, Topanga Service Station, billboards for Union Gasoline and Lightning Gasoline, a bathhouse, the De Long Cafe, and Cooper's Camp motel and tent city.

Map of Topanga/Malibu homesteads, circa 1900

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This map, created by National Park Service Cultural Anthropologist Phil Holmes, shows the historic boundaries (circa 1900) of the Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica, the Rancho Boca de Santa Monica, and Topanga/Malibu…

Map of Topanga Subdivisions and Points of Interest, 1930s

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A map of 1930s Topanga Subdivisions and Points of Interest, drawn by John H. Mac Neil, Licensed Land Surveyor: Fernwood, Topanga Oaks, Veteran Springs, Lida Park, Sylvia Park, Bonnell Park, Post Office Tract, Topanga Canyon Blvd., Old Topanga Canyon…

Map of Topanga homesteads in 1908

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A map of homesteads in 1908 along Topanga Canyon Blvd. and Old Topanga Canyon Road, drawn by John H. Mac Neil, Licensed Land Surveyor: Hiram Montgomery, Tony Von Arnswaldt, Frederick Mazet, Topanga Tavern, John Heron, Frederick Post, Templer Allen,…

Topanga Peace Alliance

The Topanga Peace Alliance held Friday vigils against the Iraq War, like this one at Topanga Canyon Blvd and Pacific Coast Highway, in front of Oasis Imports and the Malibu Feed Bin.

Topanga Canyon Docents

Topanga Canyon Docents at Trippet Ranch Nature Center in Topanga State Park. KNEELING: Don Murchie, Lynne Haigh, Deborah Low, D. J. Nellis, Geri Kelly. STANDING: Gene Cheltenham, Patty Ward, Beverly Weil, Patty Hill, John Kuiper.

Senator Fran Pavley swears in the Chamber of Commerce

California State Senator Fran Pavley swears in the Board of the Topanga Chamber of Commerce: Robin Feeley, Claire Hadley-Davis (behind), Ron Lebow, Kristen Carlson, Rebecca Catterall, David Green, Jenise Blanc Chance, Curtis Hein, and Larry Cohn.

Cinematographer Max Penner

Cinematographer Max Penner followed after his father John's profession. He is shown here on a film location in Cape Town, South Africa.

Belly dancers perform at Earth Day in Topanga State Park

Belly dancers from the Melanie Kareem Middle Eastern Dance School perform at Earth Day in Topanga State Park. The local dance school enrolled 450 local women and girls.

Little Feat

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Little Feat, a rock and roll band: Musicians Shaun Murphy, Paul Barrere, Sam Clayton, Bill Payne, Ken Gradney, Richie Hayward, and Fred Tackett (seated).

Blues Ryders band: Johnny B., Rick Ryder, and David Sear

The Blues Ryders band was made up of musicians including guitarist Johnny B., bassist Rick Ryder, guitarist David Sear, and singer Debbie Ryder (not pictured). Their song "Topanga Time" popularized the phrase "Livin' on Topanga time."

Architect Bob Bates with the tools of his trade

Architect Bob Bates moved to Topanga in 1956 and opened an office here in 1963. He was a founder of the Topanga Association for a Scenic Community (TASC). There is "no front or back" to his houses. They "bring the outside in and vice versa," making…

Barbara Anahita King painting, "Eagle Rock," 2004

"Eagle Rock, Topanga State Park," a painting by Barbara Anahita King.

Sid Francis painting, "Reflections with Round Mirrors," 1971

Artists Sid and his wife Jean Francis moved to Topanga after the 1959 fire. Sid painted still lifes in the tradition of the Dutch Masters. He was one of the most involved Topanga artists in the community. He was president of the Topanga Art Council…

Sculptor Gordon Wagner

Artist Gordon Wagner used detritus from Topanga Creek to create his witty junk sculptures.

Topanga Dry Cleaners

The Topanga Dry Cleaners at 137 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. was run by Teddie Michand. It was originally a store called Topanga Mercantile, built in 1947 by Stella Stoker.

A boulder fell on Topanga Canyon Blvd.

A boulder fell on Topanga Canyon Blvd. after heavy rains on January 9, 2005. Pictures of this "rock star" appeared in the news around the world.

Guy Bodman and Donny Hirlinger on the Topanga Beach Bus

Surfers Guy Bodman and Donny Hirlinger ride the Topanga Beach Bus to catch some waves.

Writer Carolyn See

Writer Carolyn See wrote many critically acclaimed books. She moved to Topanga in 1963, and speaks of her early days in the Canyon through the voice of Edith Langley in the 1987 novel "Golden Days."

Kenneth and Louise York, and family

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Seated: Edna York and Louise York. Standing: Peter York, Kenneth York, Bjorn Zetterberg, John York, Andrew York, and James York.

Jan and Bert Moore with their children

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Jan and Bert Moore with their children Mike, James, Chuck, and David.

Karen Wood Moran, Nicole Elias, and Vera Wood

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Karen Wood Moran, her daughter Nicole Elias, and her mother Vera Wood represent three generations.

Herta Ware, Woody Guthrie, and Will Geer

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Herta Ware, Woody Guthrie, and Will Geer toured California's migrant camps together.

Herta Ware, baby Kate, and Will Geer

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Herta Ware, baby Kate, and Will Geer, when he was a successful character actor.

Woody Gutherie's Shack

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Will Geer and Herta Ware's first Topanga home later became "Woody Shack" when their famous musician friend took it over.

Actor Will Geer

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Actor Will Geer moved to Topanga to escape the Hollywood blacklist. He supported himself by growing and selling vegetables and plants.

Kenneth and Elizabeth Douphner's wedding

Three Topanga families celebrate Kenneth and Elizabeth Douphner's wedding. Front row: Junice Douphner, Helen Douphner Cheney, Kenneth "Ken" Douphner, Elizabeth "Betty" Douphner, and the minister. Back row: Daniel Baker, Callan Cheney, Jean Baker,…

Virgil Just, aircraft engineer

Virgil Just, aircraft engineer, spent three years building his home, at the pace that he could afford materials in. He said, "No lending institution would lend you a dime to build in Topanga."

Bandit Tiburcio Vasquez

Tiburcio Vasquez, one of California's most notorious banditos, was hung for his crimes in 1875.

Western Pond Turtle

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Topanga Stream Team member Ken Wheeland holds the elusive Western Pond Turtle.

View of San Fernando Valley from Topanga Summit

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View of San Fernando Valley from Topanga Summit, with The Topanga Story's Preface by Kenneth H. York, and Introduction by Buz Tarlow.

The Topanga Story, Contents

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The Topanga Story: Expanded Edition


Preface by Kenneth H. York
Introduction by Buz Tarlow
Foreword by Al Martinez
1. The Natural Canyon
2. The First Inhabitants
3. 1880-1900: The First Families
4. 1900-1920: Resorts & Ranches

Topanga Highway descends into the Valley

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The new Topanga Highway descends into the San Fernando Valley, as shown on the Acknowledgements page of The Topanga Story.

Pearl Sloan

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Pearl Sloan was a long-time board member and booster of the Topanga Historical Society.

Dr. Gerard "Gerry" Haigh

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Dr. Gerard "Gerry" Haigh, visionary President of the Topanga Historical Society, created a permanent home for its historical archives and offered his birding expertise to The Topanga Story.

Louise York, author and editor of The Topanga Story

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Louise York was the author and editor of The Topanga Story's first edition.

Native American pictographs in Santa Maria Canyon

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Native American pictographs appear on the wall of a cave in Santa Maria Canyon. The rock art was discovered by UCLA teacher Alex Apostolides and high school student Dan Larsen in 1965.

The Rust family at Topanga Beach

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The Rust family at Topanga Beach. Ella Rust sits in the center of sons Archie and Don Rust and their families. Granddaughter Thais Rust is at right.

"Boots Malone" film set at Topanga Post Office

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A scene from "Boots Malone" was filmed at the Topanga Post Office and General Store.

"Boots Malone" is a 1952 American film noir drama film directed by William Dieterle. It stars William Holden as a down-on-his-luck sports agent and Johnny Stewart…

Writer Al Martinez

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Al Martinez (1929-2015) was a novelist, essayist, and Los Angeles Times columnist.

Shell fossils found off Topanga Skyline Road

Shell fossils found by Cub Scout Eric Johnson off Topanga Skyline Road.


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The common lizard is uncommonly beautiful in this photo, which won a National Park Service award.

Fuchsia-flowered gooseberry flowers

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Fuchsia-flowered gooseberry flowers (Ribes specidsum saxifragaceae)

Topanga Rough Riders in Monument Valley, Arizona

Topanga Rough Riders Club on horseback in Monument Valley, Arizona