Old Events page

Old Events page

ths-picnic2Quarterly Program:


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.

More info….

Quarterly Program:


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.

More info…

 Quarterly Program:

Topanga Corral Music Reunion was October 27th! Thanks for making it a huge success!

The Topanga Historical Society is taking you in a time machine back to the Topanga Corral, for their annual potluck picnic on the old Corral site at Horseshoe Bend.

Music will live again on Tuesday evening, October 27th for one magical night only. The old posse is coming together for this musical reunion.

Gracing the Corral stage will be Taj Mahal, Debbie Ryder, and Little Feat’s Fred and Miles Tackett. Greeting the old posse will be Marie Janisse, keeper of the door back in the day.

Space is limited and the demand will be high.

More info…


Questions can be addressed to buztarlow@hotmail.com

Past Events:

THS Quarterly Program

Topagna, Topango, Topanga

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

This title is not a typo! Learn why at the next Topanga Historical Society pot-luck meeting, Wednesday, July 15th, 7 PM, at the Community Club.

You will get to meet your neighbors, your very early neighbors. Who came to Topanga? When? Where? What was life like in the vary early days of our bucolic, but occasionally disasters prone, canyon?

Eric Dugdale will present an informative and impactful program answering many of these questions. He is the current president of the Palisades Historical Society and he knows much about the local mountains.

The story starts about 9,000 years ago and the presentation will include early photos of drawings, paintings and murals from the first peoples up to old postcards. Also shared will be a creation myth and legend, stories through the Rancho days, to the brief time during the Depression when we called ourselves Topango. And don.t forget the outliers and outlaws who have found their way to our hills.

Growing up in Topanga, Dugdale.s interest in local history was sparked by his Topanga Elementary fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Brunslott. With him were kids from the Rice, DeWitt, Musch, Swenson, Wiley, Hoover, Morse, York, Raymond, and Gentle families. He grew up in the house his dad built across from Camp Wildwood in 1958. His dad also helped to build our beloved Community House.

Local history buffs, kids, and just the plain curious will not want to miss this fun and informative program. The program is open to all and free of charge. However a bucket will be passed to help defray the cost of a parking attendant and a clean up crew. The potluck begins at 7 PM in the Topanga Community Club, 1440 N. Topanga Cyn Blvd. Bring a main dish, side dish or dessert to share and your own place setting. Coffee and tea will be provided. The program starts at 8 PM. The beautiful, updated Topanga Story will be available for purchase and participants will have an opportunity to become new members or renew their Topanga Historical Society membership for $20 individual or $30 for a family.

The History of Mystery

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


The Topanga Historical Society invites everyone to our quarterly pot-luck and program on the history of sleight-of-hand and a thrilling magic show that will leave all of us gasping and open mouthed,; uttering,——how did he do that?? Master Illusionist, Vaclav Havlik, Topanga resident, will surely thrill us with fun historical facts about magic through the ages and send us all home wondering……what did I just not see???

The pot luck starts at 7:00 pm,. Bring your finest dish to share, your own plate, table setting and any favorite libation or favorite drink to share. The THS will supply hot coffee, hot tea, and cold lemon water. We look forward to seeing all old friends, new friends, and all curious folks who haven’t joined us before—-come on down !! Membership in the THS is the best buy in town. Please consider joining and becoming one of the herd. You can join Wed., night, and pick up a copy of The New Topanga Story, that will be for sale, as well. It is Topanga’s newest history book and is full of great photos as well as a great read.

THS Quarterly Program

Going to the Bees

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Bee keeping in Topanga dating back to the 1950s with the Varney family up to today.

THS Annual Picnic

Historic Camp Wildwood

12 P.M. Potluck / 1 P.M. Program

Sunday, October 26, 2014

If you lived in Topanga in the mid-1980’s or before you might have taken a dip or jackknifed off the high dive into the Stewart.s pool at Camp Wildwood. At that time the property was open to the public for a small fee. Story goes that rising insurance costs caused them to close down to the public. Most of us now just get a glimpse of this property at 500 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd. as we travel to other destinations.

The Topanga Historical Society Annual Picnic, Sunday, October 26, will re-open this 14- acre creek-side property with oak and sycamore groves to the public for one exciting day. Invited guests include the Stewarts who purchased the property in 1944, built the swimming pool in 1953 to accompany many of the resort cabins such as Dew Drop Inn, Seldom Inn and Tip Toe Inn. Children and grandchildren of Oka and Julia Stewart will be caravanning from Sedona. AZ loaded with tales, memorabilia and photographs just for this event.

As reported in The Topanga Story, the property has a rich history that parallels the building of community in Topanga. First established by James Kelly as part of the Dunham Ranch in 1919 and still in business until the 1980’s, Camp Wildwood became one of the longest running businesses in the Canyon.. In addition to a day camp with as many as 350 children, .Topanga children participated in the Learn-to- Swim program of ten half hour lessons for five dollars.. The site was a focal point for free events for the Girl Scout.s annual luncheon and community picnics. The Topanga Fiddle and Banjo Contest was held here for many years.

The public is invited to learn more, walk the grounds, and hear the stories with neighbors and friends. The pot-lunch begins at 12 Noon and the program is from 1- 3 PM. Parking is available on site and along Topanga Canyon Blvd. (If you park along the road make sure both tires are within the white lines on the shoulder and take special care in crossing the street.)

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the living history of the Canyon. Bring a main dish, side dish or dessert to share. Coffee, tea, lemon water, and place settings will be provided. You are also advised to bring a folding chair or pillow. The beautiful, newly updated Topanga Story will be available for purchase and participants will have an opportunity to become, if not already, Topanga Historical Society members for $20 individual or $30 for a family.

THS Quarterly Program

Mermaid Memories

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Please note the special timing for this event in the description below.

The Mountain Mermaid, Topanga’s historic showplace, is the site of the Topanga Historical Society’s summer program to be held Wednesday, July 16. The Mermaid’s genial owner Bill Buerge and its charming hostess Gail McTune invite those who enjoy swimming, nibbling,hanging out and schmoozing to come at 5:00 p.m. to enjoy the Mermaid’s beautiful pool and extensive gardens. A potluck dinner (bring your favorite dish!) starts at 7:00 p.m. and the program begins at 8:00 p.m.

The program will feature a panel of speakers who will share their memories of the Mermaid’s checkered past. The Mermaid’s history began in the late 1920s when the building, designed in the Spanish-inspired architectural style popular at the time, began as the Sylvia Park Country Club. The building was intended to be the centerpiece of the Sylvia Park subdivision with membership to the clubhouse included in the price of the lot. The depression brought an end to these plans and over the following four decades the property took on a wide variety of venues.

In the 1940s it was a gambling house run by Mickey Cohen; in the 1950s it was a gay night club, and then a Jewish boy’s school. In 1970 it became a celebrated concert hall, run by Ann and Mickey Nadel who named it The Mermaid Tavern. Bill Buerge bought the property in 1989 and devoted his life to a ten-year restoration process. It is now a popular venue for weddings and photo shoots as well as the site of innumerable community events, meetings, parties and memorials that Bill Buerge has hosted over the years.

After the speakers tell their stories, audience members will be invited to share memories of times spent at this venerable spot.

People who come at 5:00 to enjoy the pool should bring their own towel, wear their swimsuits and be ready to change behind a make shift screen at the pool as there are no changing facilities in the building. Those attending the potluck dinner should bring a main dish, side dish, salad or dessert and beverage of choice including your favorite libation. Coffee and tea as well as plates,cups and cutlery will be provided. (Please do not bring your eating set ups for this program).

GUESTS MUST NOT PARK ON THE STREET. Please pull into the Mermaid’s driveway and valet parking will be provided. Guests should be prepared to contribute for parking. The Mountain Mermaid is located at 20421 Callon Drive.

Everyone is invited. There will be a membership table for those who wish to join and the Society’s new history book will be on sale. Membership is $20 for single members and $25 for family memberships.

THS Quarterly Program

“Marty Morehart Tells it All! Stories and Memories from the Malibu Feed Bin”

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Malibu Feed Bin owner Marty Morehart will reach deep into his bag of stories to entertain us with tales of that venerable landmark located at Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway. Over the past five decades many of us have bought everything there from chicken and rabbit feed, hay for our horses, to rat traps and baby chickens. And many remember going there during past Christmas seasons to admire the reindeer who serenely gazed out at Pacific Coast Highway from their caged digs in front of the building.

Originally the building was a fire station, at a time when horses pulled the engines. The cupola that still stands was the volunteer firefighter.s sleeping quarters for the volunteer firefighters. Its first incarnation as a business in the 1940s and 50s was Potter’s Topanga Trading Post. After Mr. Potter died the building sat vacant until Dale Smith and associates established the Malibu Feed Bin.

Marty bought the business in 1966 when he was 21, the same year he got married. Young and eager and determined to make it a success, he struggled through the early years and overcame problems such as the torrential rains of 1969 which closed Topanga Canyon Boulevard and almost brought business to a halt. Another challenge, but of a different type, was in the 1970s when Marty learned that the Feed Bin’s next door neighbors were the Charles Manson family.

Marty will describe those early years when people rode their horses on the beach, and will weave into his tales memories of some of the Feed Bin.s early neighbors: The Raft, which later moved and became the Paradise Cove Cafe, the Ice Shop which provided ice to the rental cabins on the beach, Ruben’s Gas Station, and Frenchie’s Weenook, a tiny restaurant sporting a counter and stools.

THS Quarterly Program

Topanga Story Expanded Edition – Newly Discovered Photos and Stories
Thursday, January 30, 2014

A slide show and discussion presented by Michele Johnson and Ami Kirby

THS Annual Picnic

Trippet Ranch – Topanga State Park

12 P.M. Potluck / 1 P.M. Program

Sunday, October 13, 2013

“The Jewel in Topanga’s Crown – The Historic Trippet Ranch”
Lynne Haigh, longtime Topangan and president of the Topanga Canyon Docents will describe the ranch’s history and its place as Topanga State Park’s centerpiece.

THS Quarterly Program

John Mac Neil Speaks on Topanga’s Development History

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

(Please note: this is one week earlier than usual.)

John Mac Neil, who has been surveying in Topanga since 1969, will present the history of development in the Canyon from the turn of the 20th century to the present. Participants will learn about the early homesteaders, the development of the resort era, and the 40-plus years of booming development following WWII.

THS Quarterly Program

Reliving The Corral Days with Marie Janisse

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Marie Janisse has many great stories to tell about her time as the ID checker at the door of the new Corral nightclub plus other tidbits of life in Topanga during those legendary times.

THS Quarterly Program

Showdown at Fork Tongue Canyon

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Showdown at Fork Tongue Canyon was one of Topanga’s “performances with a purpose” masterminded by impresario Lal Baum of the Topanga Corral. The retelling of this historic performance and the players in this drama (both on and off the stage) will be presented by Richard “Dick” Sherman.

THS Quarterly Program

The History of Lake Shrine Temple

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A slide show and lecture presented by Eric Dugdale, President of the Pacific Palisades Historical Society.

THS Quarterly Program

Topanga Kid Sees the World
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A slideshow and presentation by Delmar Lathers.

THS Quarterly Program

The Montevideo Story
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 (this is a new date!)

THS Annual Picnic

Sunday, October 14th, 2012 – 12 noon

Big Rock Ranch / Cali-Camp

1717 Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga, CA 90290

Please bring your own place setting and cutlery and a side-dish or dessert.

And please feel free to bring lawn chairs or pillows for outdoor seating.

Coffee, hot tea, cold tea, and water will be provided by THS.

We will hear a short program about the recent change of hands of Red Rock Ranch / Cali-Camp and the amazing programs they offer. There will also be time to explore this beautiful property.