Located in western L.A. County, California, Topanga is a census-designated place positioned within the Santa Monica Mountains, while the community is location within Topanga Canyon. A narrow part in southern Topanga is located between the cities of Los Angeles and Malibu with the population in 2010 being 8,289. Topanga is the 3rd County Supervisorial district, with the primary area code being 310, while the north end of the canyon is 818.
The areas name originated by the indigenous Native American Tongva tribe, with possible translation being ‘place above’. Current day Topanga had been the western border for the tribe’s territory. In various locations, bedrock mortars can be discovered carved in the rock outcroppings.
In 1939, Topanga was first visited by European settlers. By the 1920s, Topanga Canyon had become a popular lactation for Hollywood stars wanting a weekend getaway, and multiple cottages were built for this purpose. The surrounding vegetation and rolling hills not only provided the rich and famous with privacy, but an attractive environment.
In the 1960s, many new artists found Topanga Canyon to be a hot spot. Wallace Berman relocated to the region in 1965. Also, Neil Young lived within Topanga for a period of time, originally living at his David Briggs (producer), before purchasing a house of his own. The majority of his album ‘After the Gold Rush’ was recorded in 1970 within his basement studio. Furthermore, Topanga had been home to Charles Manson, which is where Manson befriended Dennis Wilson (The Beach Boys) and Neil Young.
On July 31st, 1969 the ‘Manson Family’ had started their murder campaign in Topanga with a local, Gary Hinman who was a music teacher that opened his home to those in need of shelter.
The local nightclub, Topanga Corral was well-known for featuring a mix of performers, which at the time included locals such as Spanky and Our Gang, Spirit, Canned Heat, Little Feat, Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal, Russ Tamblyn, Bob Denver, Neil Diamond, Etta James, Neil Young, Windance, Crazy Horse, among various others. There are rumors that the song ‘Roadhouse Blues’ written by Jim Morrison had been inspired by the Topanga Canyon Blvd drive to The Corral.
The Corral was destroyed n a fire during the 1970s, but was rebuilt and continued to feature various new bands from the L.A punk scene. The Corral once again was destroyed in a fire in 1986, without being rebuilt. Topanga continues to be the home for many artists, musicians, and actors today.
In the 2010 census, Topanga had been reported to have 8,289 residents, with 433 residents per sq. mile. Topanga’s racial demographics were Caucasian (88.2%), African American (1.4%), Native American (0.4%), Asian (4.3%), Pacific Islander (0.0%, other races (1.5%).
“2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA – Topanga CDP”. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.