Browse Items (787 total)

The diving boards at Camp Wildwood

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Justin Kirby and Matthew Andrews leap from the diving boards into the swimming pool at Camp Wildwood. Owners Oka and Julia Stewart purchased the 15-acre property in 1944 and operated it for four decades.

The Pine Tree Circle mall under construction

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The Pine Tree Circle mall was constructed by a crew of mostly locals. It opened in 2000. Although resented at first, it quickly became Topanga's popular town center. Owners Steve and Leslie Carlson are standing at right. The Carlsons sold the mall…

Louie Kelly and friend at the Chevron Gas Station

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Louie Kelly and friend at the Chevron Gas Station. In the 1960s, Topanga had three gas stations: one at Fernwood and Topanga, another at Old Canyon and Topanga, this one at Pine Tree Circle. The Chevron Gas Station was the last to close.

Warren Roberts, Topanga Fish Market owner

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Warren Roberts opened the Topanga Fish Market, a restaurant and market near the lumber store, which was in business from the 1970s-1990s. Warren also owned the Reel Inn on Pacific Coast Highway.

Sweet Water boutique

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The Sweet Water boutique sold handmade clothing, jewelry, ceramics and wooden wares. It was run by two women with excellent taste near the town center, and had a shaky deck in back, overlooking the Topanga Creek.

Gordon Butcher painting, "Topanga Threads"

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"Topanga Threads" painted by Gordon Butcher. This used clothing store in the Pine Tree Circle was owned by J. R. Ball.

J. R. Ball, owner of Topanga Threads

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J. R. Ball, owner of Topanga Threads, a used clothing store in the Pine Tree Circle. Ball remembered, "I went broke there because a series of winter storms came in one year, back to back. For weeks, the area was nothing but mud.

The Malibu Feed Bin and the Morehart family

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In 1961, Ace Smith created the Malibu Feed Bin at the corner of Topanga Canyon Blvd. and Pacific Coast Highway. In 1966, he sold it to Marty Morehart, pictured here with his wife Patricia and two daughters, Katie and Kasey, holding their own…

Sassafras Nursery

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Sassafras Nursery was a plant and seed business that sold to museums, florists, and locals. Customers enjoyed the bucolic setting, although it was hard to reach when Topanga Creek was flowing.

Pamela Ingram at her Sassafras Nursery

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Pamela Ingram shakes hands with two unidentified people at her Sassafras Nursery. Active in the 1980s, it was a show place of plants and flowers located near the town center. To reach it, the driveway forded Topanga Creek.

Architect Bob Bates

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Bob Bates, "soft spoken and rock solid," left a mark on Topanga with his architecture and his leading role in the Topanga Association for a Scenic Community (TASC). He began his architecture career in 1963, and was known for his use of glass, stone,…

Elysium Fields nudist resort

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Elysium Fields nudist resort opened on Robinson Road in 1968. After owner Ed Lange's death in 1995, his daughter kept the business going until 2001.

Ed Lange, owner of Elysium Fields

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Ed Lange, owner of the nudist resort Elysium Fields, which opened in 1968 on seven acres at the end of Robinson Road. Neighbors put up a huge protest, but over the years Ed became such a good neighbor the he was voted Topanga Citizen of the Year in…

Richard "Dick" Sherman

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Richard "Dick" Sherman founded Topanga Underground in 1971, a business specializing in designing and installing septic systems, water mains, and underground utilities.

Gail McTune and Bill Buerge receive an award

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Gail McTune and Bill Buerge receive a Chamber of Commerce award. They are members of many Topanga organizations, including the Topanga Historical Society. Gail, a nutritionist, homeopath, and herbalist, came to Topanga in the early 1970s to visit…

Three Dolphin Inn restaurant

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The Three Dolphin Inn restaurant existed in a building with many incarnations. First, the building was a drugstore in the 1940s-1950s. Then it became The Discovery Inn in the 1960s, followed by a series of restaurants. Allen Emerson, owner of the…

Rendezvous Restaurant

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The Rendezvous Restaurant was a short-lived coffeeshop in the Turnout building that was destroyed by mudslides in 1998. Owner Rajier Ahmadpor watches customers Jack Chambers, Felice Matare, and Doug Kirby.

Bridge Building Books

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Kathleen Gildred opened Bridge Building Books in an old gas station on the property of the Inn of the Seventh Ray restaurant. Her metaphysical bookstore complemented the the restaurant's spiritual atmosphere. When her five-year lease expired, the…

Inn of the Seventh Ray restaurant

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Psychotherapists Ralph and Lucille Yaney opened the Inn of the Seventh Ray in 1975. They were disciples of the spiritual leader Elizabeth Clare Prophet. The fancy restaurant, with outdoor patios that overlook Topanga Creek, is a popular place for…

Waterlily Café

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The Waterlily Café was one of the first businesses to open in the Pine Tree Circle mall.

Pat's Topanga Grill restaurant

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Pat Burke opened Pat's Topanga Grill in 1994. Its walls were decorated with paintings by local artists and signs of defunct Topanga businesses. The restaurant closed when Pat died in 2015.

Café Mimosa interior

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Arlette Morgan, from France, opened Café Mimosa opened in 1994. She sold it to Claire Cohn, also from France, in 2004.

Café Mimosa

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Arlette Morgan, from France, opened Café Mimosa opened in 1994. She sold it to Claire Cohn, also from France, in 2004.

Kedric Wolfe painting "Buddha on the Wall," 1982

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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…

Liz Shepherd painting "Buddha on the Wall," 1982

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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…

Marshall (?) visits Kedric Wolfe and "Buddha on the Wall"

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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…

Kedric Wolfe and mural "Buddha on the Wall," 1982

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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…

Performance artist Kedric Wolfe

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Performance artist Kedric Wolfe was part of Topanga's art scene from the late 1960s until the late 1990s. He enjoyed wearing costumes in public, often promoting a political point of view, like in this example where he parades his confidence in the…

Ceramicist Rebecca Andrews displays decorative tiles

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Ceramicist Rebecca Andrews displays decorative tiles from the business she created, Touchstone Ceramics. She moved to Topanga in the late 1960s with her husband and six children, often employing the latter and their friends to assist her. She…

Artist Barry Lysaght makes highly prized wood carvings

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Barry Lysaght makes highly prized wood carvings at his shop in the Turnout, a small row of businesses on Topanga Canyon Blvd. near Santa Maria Road. The Turnout was condemned after being damaged by mudslides during the rains of Winter/Spring 1998.

Artist and political activist Rabyn Blake in her studio

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Artist and political activist Rabyn Blake makes ceramic sculptures in her studio. She lived with her husband Eli Sercarz on a Topanga Creek property. She was Chairperson of the Topanga Canyon Creekside Homeowners Association and helped defeat the LA…

Ceramists Jim and Sue Sullivan at their art studio

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Ceramists Jim and Sue Sullivan made fine art pieces at their studio and home at the end of Greenleaf Canyon. In the 2010s, they moved to Petaluma, CA.

Topanga Canyon Gallery artists

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Topanga Canyon Gallery artists Jon Burns, Ainsley Pryor, Kathleen Sullivan, Linda Bolhuis, Sue Sullivan, and Jim Sullivan.

Topanga Canyon Gallery opening party

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Topanga Canyon Gallery throws an opening party in the Old Center. The gallery was founded by ceramists Jim and Sue Sullivan, and for many years featured local artists. It closed in 1995, but reopened five years later in Pine Tree Circle.

Painter Llyn Foulkes plays his instrument "The Machine"

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Painter Llyn Foulkes plays his instrument "The Machine," which he built himself. He lived in the Topanga in the 1980s-1990s. In 2013, he had a retrospective exhibit at Los Angele's Hammer Museum.

Artist Bob DeWitt

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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, John Heron, Frederick Post, Templer Allen, Francisco…

Topanga Peace Alliance

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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

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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

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

Topanga Dry Cleaners

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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.

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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

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

Writer Carolyn See

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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

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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

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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

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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

Contents

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
5.…

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.