Old Salt Lake | Virtual Museum
| Part 1 - Introduction
| Part 2 - More resources
| Part 3 - "A Seven Weeks' Journey" by Louis C. Dart, The "Hermit" of Flotsam Castle
The historic record shows two (2) fresh water springs on the high bluffs north of the ravine or hollow at Malaga Cove. One of these springs was known across the world on the news of Louis C. Dart's "castle". The other spring is the one indicated by Malcom Farmer when he was at the 1936 Walker archaeological excavation at Malaga Cove (CA-LAN-138). In his notes, Farmer sketches the location of a spring on the side of the bluff right below the famous archaeological site which was at the high point of the bluffs north of the canyon. Presumably the spring Farmer noted was a fresh water spring.
Previously I was under the apparent erroneous idea that the fresh water spring which Louis Dart made world-famous (see below) was the same spring noted by Malcomb Farmer. Farmer's site drawing shows the spring on the side of the bluff which is similar to the description of the location of the spring used by Dart. Also, there are contemporary (1920's) photos of a structure at the base of the bluff below LAN-138. However, I may have been wrong about where Dart's castle was. The castle looks to be the structure in the photos further north of the Malaga Cove archaeological site. So, this means there are two (2) known historic fresh water springs on the bluffs north of the ravine.
Farmer's sketch of bluff at Malaga Cove archaeological site (detail):
See this Palos Verdes Historical Society photo
here and zoom in to see the buildings
via the Online Archive of California (OAC).
There was a structure at one time under CA-LAN-138. [ Location indication added to static photo ]
The text description of the above photo on the PV History Society page reads:
"Image shows elevated view looking northeast along the coast toward Hollywood Riviera from atop the cliffs of Malaga Cove. A building known as Flotsam Castle (sometimes called "Hermit's Castle") is visible on the beach in the background, with another coastal structure in the distance. Piles of seaweed are visible along the shore."
However, this next Palos Verdes Historical Society photo shows the structure to the north - but the structure to the south and the one under CA-LAN-138 is not there. See this photo here and zoom in to see details via the OAC.
A collection of resources about Lous C. Dart and his "Castle"
1920 - Torrance Enterprise article
1922 - Popular Mechanics
1927 - Redondo Union High School Yearbook, Source: Redondo Beach Main Public
1928 - Torrance Herald article, Sept., 13
1926 - Photos
The Dearborn Independent - article date? Source: Redondo Beach Historical Museum
Images of the transcription of the article:
Voter List - "Dart, Louis, C. prop. Flotsam Castle, R", source: ancestry.com
Book - "History of the Early Hollywood Riviera", by Marshall E. Stewart, (self-published, no date), Marshall Stewart (1923-2011), local historian
_____ Excerpt _____
Before the development of the Hollywood Riviera the area was dry-farmed. The farmhouse was situated on the land just east of the Hollywood Riviera Club site. The other residents of that time were squatters that lived at the base of the bluff. They too had found the springs. The lumber and cargo piers at Redondo spilled or threw away unwanted lumber, which would drift south to Malaga Cove. The "castles" were built on pilings and out of the available flotsam. Years ago, evidence could be seen where the residents had cut into the diatomaceous cliff for their fireplaces, as well as remains of the pilings that the two structures were built on. There was also a soft drink stand, north of there, where the Lifeguard building now stands. Dwellers lived there for health and economic reasons, and sometimes to evade the taw. Like the Indians, they lived off the available food on the land and in the ocean.
The development of the Hollywood Riviera caused the Corporation to discourage these residents by evicting them and burning these structures.