A Local Tour of Malibu Canyon

[This is a bit of an old article, from 2008, but I stumbled upon it weeks ago and have been wanting to re-share it on a Sunday ever since. It’s got a great map, planned by Jonny Lieberman (at one time a contributor to Hooniverse and now of MotorTrend) who happens to be a local to the area. If you’re in California on a Sunday, like today, I highly recommend you pick up the keys and go. I’ve driven on most of the roads described here and will hopefully get back there some day soon and this time will hopefully pack the Dramamine. I’m a flat lander, so I nearly got sick last time, but still loved it. What a drive! -Ed]

Re-shared from Autoblog, Text and Photography by Jonny Lieberman

When most Americans think of Malibu, they probably think of fires and landslides. And they’re correct — there’s lots of those. They might also know about the fantastic roads that crisscross the seaside city and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area that separates the beach bum town of about 12,000 from the Valley. Like Mulholland Highway. But what most people fail to realize is how epically weird the area and its inhabitants are. Example: King Camp Gillette bought 588 acres right in the heart of today’s drive just before the Great Depression. Not only did Gillette invent the razor you shaved with this morning, but he believed that all Americans should live in a single city called Metropolis with power provided by Niagra Falls. No, really. Moreover, every corporation would be headed up and run by a single government official. After Teddy Roosevelt declined Gillette’s suggestion, King G moved to Malibu Canyon. When he died, Clarence Brown got the ranch, then Bob Hope took over the property and gave it over to the Catholic Church, which ran a seminary on the property for 25 years. This is before Elizabeth Claire Prophet got her hands on the land in 1978. Who? Her and her late husband founded one of the original crack-pot new age California religions, TSL. And this is just one plot of land. It gets better… (more…)

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