The King and Queen of Malibu: The True Story of the Battle for Paradise

The King and Queen of Malibu: The True Story of the Battle for Paradise

David K. Randall

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0393240991

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

New York Times best-selling author David K. Randall spins a remarkable tale of the American West and the desire of one couple to preserve paradise.

Frederick and May Rindge, the unlikely couple whose love story propelled Malibu’s transformation from an untamed ranch in the middle of nowhere to a paradise seeded with movie stars, are at the heart of this story of American grit and determinism. He was a Harvard-trained confidant of presidents; she was a poor Midwestern farmer’s daughter raised to be suspicious of the seasons. Yet the bond between them would shape history.

The newly married couple reached Los Angeles in 1887 when it was still a frontier, and within a few years Frederick, the only heir to an immense Boston fortune, became one of the wealthiest men in the state. After his sudden death in 1905, May spent the next thirty years fighting off some of the most powerful men in the country―as well as fissures within her own family―to preserve Malibu as her private kingdom. Her struggle, one of the longest over land in California history, would culminate in a landmark Supreme Court decision and lead to the creation of the Pacific Coast Highway.

The King and Queen of Malibu traces the path of one family as the country around them swept off the last vestiges of the Civil War and moved into what we would recognize as the modern age. The story of Malibu ranges from the halls of Harvard to the Old West in New Mexico to the beginnings of San Francisco’s counter culture amid the Gilded Age, and culminates in the glamour of early Hollywood―all during the brief sliver of history in which the advent of railroads and the automobile traversed a beckoning American frontier and anything seemed possible.

8 pages of illustrations; map





















underlined the word that it left grooves in the paper. Even as a young boy, Frederick had felt his faith the strongest when his body was the weakest, and he again turned toward God to sand the edges of his pain. He attended services at Methodist churches in the city and, departing from organized religion, sat in the audience as Madam Preston preached to a crowd in San Francisco from the messages she saw written in light. His thoughts kept returning to his wife and the two young boys now

direction. “I thought to avoid all people I know but on the train were several who knew us,” Frederick wrote to May after arriving in his room at the Hotel Pendleton in San Francisco one evening. “One man asked me if I did not live in Santa Monica. I shall go up in a balloon the next time.” May adapted to every turn in Frederick’s success and forced herself to become comfortable in more refined company. She ate the finest foods, sat for fittings with the best dressmakers in Los Angeles and San

that with enough money and time, the legal system would right any wrong. She began directing O’Melveny’s firm to sue any perceived enemy for any perceived slight. One lawsuit charged Crags Country Club with appropriating water that should have been hers; another threatened the Los Angeles Examiner—owned by William Randolph Hearst, who, like Frederick, had once been a member of the A.D. Club while at Harvard—with libel after it ran an article alleging that many homesteaders were on the brink of

of permanently cleaving it away from Los Angeles. In the kingdom itself, she made plans to rebuild, and in some cases enlarge, her memories. At the same spot where the 1903 fire had destroyed the family mansion, she told her architect to draw up plans for a home on the crest of Laudamus Hill, nearly double the size of its predecessor. First, though, came the matter of gloating. All the years of silence had fostered a deep well of anger, which she gleefully spilled in public forums. “Your article

23, 1907. Thomson, Clive. “When Pedestrians Ruled the Streets.” Smithsonian. December 2014. “Around the Hotels.” Los Angeles Herald. July 31, 1901. Chapter Thirteen: OPEN ROADS Guinn, J. M. A History of California: An Extended History of Its Southern Coast Counties. Los Angeles: Historic Record Company, 1907. Clary, William W. History of the Law Firm of O’Melveny & Myers, 1885–1965. Vol. 1. Los Angeles: privately printed, 1966. “Woman at War with Uncle Sam.” Los Angeles Herald. December 4,

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