Adamson House in Malibu, CA
Part 1 of  2
September 6, 2012

2012 Herbert E. Lindberg

The Adamson House, a.k.a. Malibu Lagoon Museum, at 23200 Pacific Coast Highway, is on the ocean between the lagoon and a surfing beach.  The classic Malibu home was built in 1930 for Rhoda Rindge Adamson and her husband, Merritt Huntley Adamson.  Rhoda's mother and father, Rhoda May Rindge and Frederick Hastings Rindge, had owned about 26 miles of coastline, purchased in 1892 for $140,000.  This stretch of land, Rancho Malibu, forms the entire waterfront of what is now the city of Malibu.

When Frederick died he emphasized to Rhoda May that she should keep the rancho intact.  In 1904, the Southern Pacific Railroad applied to the Interstate Commerce Commission to build tracks linking the Long Wharf in Santa Monica with their northern tracks at Santa Barbara. The connection proposed was a straight line right through the Malibu ranch. A loophole in the ICC law prevented condemning a right-of-way parallel to an already existing railroad, so the Rindges decided to build a private railroad through Rancho Malibu to keep the bigger railroad company out. Frederick Rindge died in 1905 but Rhoda May Rindge carried on with the plan and built 15 miles of standard gauge tracks called the Hueneme, Malibu and Port Los Angeles Railway.

Rhoda May also prevented a highway from being built through the property.  After Adamson house was built in 1929-1930, there was still no road until 1935, which delayed the Adamson family from moving into their new house.

Hallway off the entry.  The "rug" is created entirely of tile, made in the family's Malibu Potteries (1926-32).  Tiles are the hallmark of the entire interior of the house, some very beautiful, others just too much.  Sample photographs of the tiles are given on their website -- no interior photography is allowed.  This photo is from their website.

Walkway through the close-in gardens toward the Adamson House.

Continuing, as we pass a beautiful view of the ocean.

Before entering the house our guide, Peter Forest, took us into a small museum where he related some of the history of the family and property.  I snapped this photo of a painting as we left the museum.

Dick, Lorraine, Hazel, Walt, Mary, and Peter Forest as we entered the house.

I confirmed with Peter that it was OK to photograph outside scenes from inside the house.  This is looking from the dining room through a "donkey" window toward the rear garden and swimming pool.  Peter claimed that donkey windows are a throwback to when openings were made in this shape so a man on a donkey could enter without dismounting.

Rear fountain and patio viewed through a screen in the hall shown as the first picture on this page.  If you look closely you can see the screen which the curled ironwork holds flat.

Garden lawn, beach and surfers viewed from the upstairs deck.

A down angle from the same spot.

Surfers at the beach, viewed from the deck.

Zoom into some action.  The waves were pretty tame.

A mob heads past the front patio (on the right).  Thank goodness we didn't intersect them.


A more expansive view of the home and front entrance.


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