There is a lovely place in Malibu called Solstice Canyon where one can take a leisurely 3 mile hike. Last week I went on this hike with a dear friend and our very happy dogs. The canyon was all a bloom, as this warm winter has tricked Mother Nature into an eternal spring. Many wild flowers were showing off their charm. A few miles into the canyon we came across a skeleton of a once lovely house. All that is left is beautiful stonework from the foundation and fireplace. You can see the framework of several pools outlined in stone. Unfortunately, which happens all too often in this area, a wildfire destroyed this once incredible home in 1982. I have been here before with my husband and daughters and we wondered what it must have been like to live here. To the side of the house is a waterfall and then the small creek wraps around in front of the house. The house is tucked back in the canyon in a truly magical spot. It must have been exceptionally private and incredibly peaceful to live here. I wonder how this home was built so far back in the canyon and who would have built this incredible place.
When we returned back near the parking lot we stopped and spoke with a distinguished older man who was also walking his dog. He told us that this whole area had belonged to his family before it was sold to the state. I asked him about the house and he said he had grown up there. Although they lived in Santa Monica, his father insisted that they come out to the home every weekend. His family had cattle and they kept horses on their ranch. He had what looked like tears in his eyes as he spoke about his memories on living in the house with his family. I guess his mother was fearful of the Japanese attacking the coast of California (during WWII) which is why they had built a bomb shelter on the property, it doubled as a place to store food. He still lives in the Los Angeles area and happened to be visiting his daughter and grandchild who live close by. I felt so lucky to have run into him and it was obvious how much this place meant to him. It is so important to be connected to the land and one’s past. I enjoy nothing more than being in nature. We are so fortunate to have this beautiful canyon open to the public due to this man and his family.
Once I returned home, I looked into the history of Solstice Canyon and found that his parents, Fred and Florence Roberts hired noted African-American architect Paul Williams to design the home in 1952. Before that time the family had a small cabin on the property. The home designed by Paul Williams was featured in Architectural Digest. They had cattle and various exotic animals on the land, including reportedly, camels, buffalos and giraffes, a miniature Hearst Castle.
If you ever find yourself in this area, I would highly recommend a hike through this beautiful canyon. It is good for your heart and your head!
For more information here is a link to the Malibu Surfside News: