First Family of Malibu

March 9th, 2017 | by Annie
First Family of Malibu

This is part deux in a series of stories from our trip through the city of Malibu, a 27 mile stretch along the Pacific Ocean. Did you you know that Pacific in Spanish means docile. The Spanish must have fallen in love with the easy to navigate seas in this part of the world.


On this particular day we visited the historic Adamson house. The family of farmers bought a Spanish land grant in Malibu in 1892 and expanded it into what eventually became a 17,000-acre working ranch. The Adamson family were the first land owners in modern Malibu and they ran a farm which grew into a dairy, later a tiles company. The Spanish Colonial Revival style home is luckily today both a National Historic Site, California Historical Landmark, and a California State Park. The home was constructed in 1929 and rests upon a gorgeous slice of enviable beachfront property. In fact the city of Los Angeles became so envious they actually recently wanted to demolish it in order to build a parking lot.


This beautiful home sits opposite the Malibu Pier between the often packed Surfrider Beach and Malibu Lagoon. The house design ethic includes Dutch, Spanish and Moorish styles with sizzling bright tiles and hand crafted carved wooden doors, painted frescoes, molded ceilings, unique ironwork and quirky bottle glass windows. The home’s architect was Stiles Clements who created many of the ornate and seductive mediterranean architecture in the Hancock Park area.


They had to be independent in those days and so had to find a method to pay for the upkeep of their ever expanding menagerie. Most of California at this time was an agricultural community and a dairy made perfect sense. They named the dairy Adohr Stock Farms which was his wife’s name spelt backwards. Their S. California dairy was so well run in fact that it continued as a family holding well into the 1990’s when it was finally sold. They also for a brief period ran a very well known tile company that created authentic clay tiles based on popular designs from history. They used this ornate tile inside and outside the home which showcased their creativity and vision.


The family was very generous and donated some of their land which became Pepperdine University.


Finally, the State of California just had to have the property so in 1968 it was acquired. In 1971, the Chancellor of Pepperdine University moved in to Adamson House as part of an effort to maintain the house until it could be properly restored. The Malibu Historical Society was formed to preserve the house, which became a California Historical Landmark in 1985.


One of the coolest spots to lose yourself is this exquisite historic California home site. It’s got plenty more surprises which I can’t cover here but I will give you a couple of tips in case you’re interested in visiting. The tour is excellent and at $8.00 very affordable. You can bring children but it may be best to go with the adults only as the home has plenty of tempting items they’ll want to touch that they’ll warn you about. And there is no photography allowed inside the home. Metered parking is limited so I recommend a weekday rather than a weekend visit. There is street parking when available but then you’re in competition with beach goers and surfers for the right spot.



Adamson House is located at:
23200 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.