From the Archives: 1952 Opening of Malibu Canyon Road


A story accompanying this image in the July 3, 1952, Los Angeles Times reported:

Nature’s barrier between the San Fernando Valley and the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Monica Mountains, was breeched anew yesterday as officials ceremonies marked the opening of a new highway from Brent’s Junction to Malibu.

Brent’s Junction is on Ventura Blvd., about five miles west of Topanga Canyon Blvd.

The two-lane, gently curving road cuts through a 535-foot solid-rock mountain to enable motorists to travel the 9.4 mile road safely in 18 minutes. The same trip previously took upward of an hour, according to officials.


Supervisors Roger W. Jessup and Raymond V. Darby, representing constituents on both sides of the $1,500,000 Malibu Canyon Road, participated in ribbon cutting ceremonies, along with Gloria Maxwell, Miss California, who was renamed as Miss 18-Minutes-to-Malibu for the occasion. …

A stock car safety run sent the first vehicles over the new road. It was followed by a half-mile-long procession of cars led by a fire truck carrying Miss 18-Minutes-to-Malibu and her court of valley bathing beauties. …

Pete DePaolo, onetime winner of the Indianapolis 500-mile automobile race, won the stock model car safety run, traveling the newly opened stretch in 11.3 minutes.

(DePaolo won the 1925 Indianapolis 500.)