Historic adobe, Paramount Ranch, M*A*S*H set burn in Malibu fire

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The Woolsey Fire’s path of destruction was indiscriminate. Just off Mulholland Highway, the blaze seared the bridge off Troutdale Road and nearly obliterated Peter Strauss Ranch. Flames danced dangerously close to the Old Place—but ultimately, the tiny steakhouse was spared.

As the wildfire ravaged the canyons of Malibu and marched north through Agoura Hills and Calabasas on Friday, it wiped out celebrities’ mansions and mobile homes in equal measure.

Beloved neighborhood fixtures, including the Rock Store and Neptune’s Net, survived, while historic sites like the Sepulveda Adobe, built in 1863 and still in the process of being restored after being damaged by the Northridge earthquake, is now a smoldering shell.

Below is a list of historic properties, places cemented in popular culture, and resplendent homes located in the fire’s path. The Malibu area in particular holds a wealth of famous houses designed by such pioneering architects as Frank Gehry and John Lautner. The potential for loss is enormous. Malibu is not a cookie-cutter city.

With these areas still under mandatory evacuation orders, it’s still too soon to know every property’s status. The list will be updated as more information becomes available.


Agoura Hills

  • Peter Strauss Ranch: An historic ranch with a concert area that dates to the 1930s was a popular destination for live music. The ranch’s buildings have been destroyed, according toLos Angeles Times reporter Ruben Vives.
  • The Old Place: The cozy steakhouse still stands, per Instagram.
  • The Rock Store: The old stagecoach-stop-turned-motorcycle-haunt is still standing, per this Facebook post.
  • Western Town at Paramount Ranch: The studio’s faux western town was almost completely burned. A popular set for filmmakers in the 1930s, it is today best known as the backdrop for Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and HBO’s Westworld. CBS LA’s John Schreiber photographed the movie ranch after the flames were extinguished; only the church survived.

Calabasas

  • ‘A Star Is Born’ House: The 1970s post and beam was designed by Doug Rucker and renovated by Staples Center architect Dan Meis. Status unknown.
  • Saddle Peak Lodge: No damage, reported the restaurant on Facebook.

Flames overtake the Reagan Ranch, once owned by President Ronald Reagan, at Malibu Creek State Park on Friday.
Getty Images

Malibu

  • Adamson House: Board vice president Jules Hershfeld says the historic home—a tilework masterpiece that was the first beach house in Malibu—is likely okay, but he hasn’t seen it for himself. Hershfeld says he hasn’t been able to communicate with other board members, who are either traveling, hospitalized because of the fire, or unreachable because of poor cell service in Malibu.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s Arch Oboler Complex: Located “high up on a ridge” above Mulholland, the “vocabulary that Wright used here is directly related to his 1939 Sturges House in West Los Angeles and his Pauson House (1940) north of Phoenix,” says architectural historian Bob Inman. Status unknown.
  • Frank Gehry’s Borman House: A playfully designed “beach bunker” on ritzy Broad Beach. Status unknown
  • Herbert Kameon’s DeVault Residence: Thislittle slice of heaven” is believed to be Kameon’s first residential commission. Status unknown
  • Duke’s: No damage to the beachfront restaurant, according to the Malibu Times.
  • Getty Villa: The Villa is not threatened, according to a blog post on its site, and all art and archives are secure. The museum remains closed to visitors, but the property is being used to house and feed firefighters and first responders working in the area.
  • Malibu Country Mart: The shopping and dining complex suffered no damage, a representative confirmed to the Malibu Times.
  • Malibu Pier: No damage, according to the Malibu Times.
  • Neptune’s Net: The iconic seaside fish market and biker bar has not been damaged, according to the Malibu Times.
  • Shangri-La recording studio: Built in the 1970s to the specifications of The Band and Bob Dylan, the Zuma Beach recording studio is owned by Rick Rubin, co-president of Columbia Records. Status unknown.
  • 747 Wing House: Made from a decommissioned 747 jet, the home was designed by David Hertz in 2011. Status unknown.
  • Pepperdine University: On a tense Friday night, 3,500 students sheltered in place as flames licked at the Malibu school’s edge. Some outbuildings were lost, but the campus designed by William Pereira and Associates in 1973, was not damaged, thanks to a heightened response from firefighters. Due to the fire risk in the area, buildings are fireproof and 500 acres of the university’s property are left in their natural state and regularly cleared of brush, creating a firebreak.
  • John Lautner’s Stevens’ House: Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, the striking concrete home features a roof “composed of two… curved concrete shells.” Status unknown.
  • Thelma Todd Beach House: Reportedly still standing. A resident who lives nearby tells Esotouric on Twitter that the area immediately surrounding the beach house has not been impacted.

Malibu Canyon

  • Sepulveda Adobe: The 155-year-old adobe (pictured above) has been reduced to “just a shell,” per Barbara Tejada, an archeologist with California State Parks. The adobe was built in 1863 by homesteaders who raised 12 children in the dwelling and grew corn, beans, potatoes, turnips, and onions on the surrounding land, near Las Virgenes Creek. The adobe survived the Northridge earthquake and was only just recently restored.
  • M*A*S*H set: A replica of the set from the TV series M*A*S*H that’s become a popular hiking destination in Malibu Creek State Park has been destroyed by fire(the original set was burned in a brush fire in 1982). “People don’t realize they’ve been watching movies all their lives that took place here,” Tim Johnston, a retired firefighter and park docent, told the Los Angeles Times. “Their mom’s been watching all her life. Even their grandma has been watching all her life.”
  • Blandings House: A Colonial Revival home built in 1947 to film the 1948 comedy Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is used as offices for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Status unknown.
  • King Gillette Ranch: The Spanish Colonial complex designed by Wallace Neff in 1929 is now a visitors’ center that’s home to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy offices. The center is closed but has not suffered damage.
  • Malibu Hindu Temple: The gleaming white temple was built by Hindu workers in the 1980s. The temple is unscathed. Its website says: “Temple standing as tall as always in the middle of many other structures destroyed in and around the Temple.”
  • Calamigos Ranch: The beautiful wedding venue and longtime community fixture is completely gone, as this ABC7 aerial footage shows.
  • Malibu Wines and Saddlerock Ranch: The popular Mulholland Highway vineyard and animal park shared images to Instagram reporting it has lost multiple structures and is still looking for some animals. Malibu Cafe is still standing.
  • Reagan Ranch: The former president’s property, now part of Malibu Creek State Park, is shown in a Getty Image photo with flames encroaching on the ranch.

Thousand Oaks

  • Case Study House No. 28: The last Case Study house to be built by Arts & Architecture magazine was completed in Thousand Oaks in 1966. Architects Buff & Hensman created two symmetrical wings joined by glass galleries. Status unknown.
  • Guillermo del Toro’s “Bleak House”: The director owns two mansions decked out with horror film props and ephemera to inspire him while he works. He tweeted that he’d evacuated and his collection was “endangered,” but Saturday confirmed the house was still standing.

This February 12, 2009 photo shows buildings at the old Rocketdyne facility, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory.
AP

Simi Valley

  • Santa Susana Field Laboratory: The former Rocketdyne laboratory was badly damaged by fire. The 1949 facility which has been home to several nuclear reactors is now owned by Boeing, and Mall of America developers are interested in turn it into a shopping center. Concerns about radioactive waste have surfaced after the fire—wildfires also hit the property in 2005—with State Senator Henry Stern promising at a town hall on Sunday to urge governor-elect Gavin Newsom to order an independent investigation to determine if toxins were released by flames.
  • Ulmar House:An eclectic 1939 house built by architect Terry Ulmar. Status unknown.

Westlake Village

  • Frank Gehry’s Sirmai-Peterson House: a model of the home was among those acquired by the Getty Research Institute in 2017. Status unknown.

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