Why are we named Malibou with an “o” rather than the more commonly known spelling of Malibu? The most popular explanation floating around is that somehow “Malibou” is the Chumash spelling and “Malibu” is the Anglo spelling. Let’s just examine this for a minute. The Chumash inhabited this area for nearly 4,000 years, and they named the stretch of beach where Malibu Creek meet the ocean “Humaliwo.” This translates roughly to “the surf sounds loudly.” If you pronounce Humaliwo, it sounds like Malibu or Malibou, and thus the name. But his doesn’t explain the difference in spelling.
Another argument for the spelling Malibou could be made due the political climate around the 1920s when this club started. El Rancho Topanga Malibu Sequit was one of the last Mexican land grants in Southern California to be subdivided. This process (or fight as some people would call it) began in the 20s. At the time, Rhoda May Rindge, who spent nearly 17 years litigating to keep the highway and the public out of her property, owned the Rancho. It is rumored that her armed patrol, the Malibu Rindge Riders shot to kill, and that they were known to dynamite and plow under county roads in the area. Using and “ou” at the end of our name rather than the “u” might have been one technique to separate our development from what might have been a politically unpleasant situation.
The last, and perhaps most believable argument for the spelling of Malibou revolves around the simple need to be different. Or, as one of our more cynical neighbors might point out, the inability to spell. We will never know the true reasons, but it’s fun to wonder…
“An hour from town”
“An hour from town” was one of the original advertising slogans for the club used by its first owners. There were two gentlemen by the names of Bertram Lackey and George Wilson. They owned Malibou Lake Club in the early years from 1922 to 1926, and were also the primary promoters of the place. The club was originally envisioned and advertised as hunting and fishing club.
Our original rustic clubhouse was finished in 1924, but burned to the ground in 1936. This clubhouse had 24 bedrooms for visiting members, a 55’x 75’ lounge, a 40’x 60’ dining room, a stage and locker rooms. There was a trading post, barbecue pit, baseball diamond, a fleet of rowboats, and swimming and changing areas.
The current clubhouse was built as a more ‘practical’ building for a smaller membership. The original Malibou Lake Club was conceptualized as one of the largest social clubs in Southern California. This never came to pass, and the economic realities of the time had a heavy hand in our current clubhouse design. It is described as “Early California type, with some formal features which will add dignity to its appearance.”
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