Frederick H. Rindge

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Frederick Hastings Rindge
Frederick Rindge.jpg
Alma materHarvard University
OccupationBusinessman, industrialist, real estate developer, philanthropist
Known forPhilanthropy; founding of Malibu, California
Home townCambridge, Massachusetts
Net worthUS$1.4 billion (2018)[1]
TitleKing of Malibu[2]
Spouse(s)Rhoda May Knight

Frederick Hastings Rindge (1857–1905) was an American business magnate, patriarch of the illustrious and prominent Rindge family, real estate developer, philanthropist, and writer, of Los Angeles, California. He was a major benefactor to his home town of Cambridge, Massachusetts and a founder of present day Malibu, California.

Frederick Rindge was also the only surviving son of banking and shipping tycoon Samuel B. Rindge and Mrs. Clarissa Harrington Rindge. Frederick and his wife, Rhoda, came to be informally known as the King and Queen of Malibu.[2] Between 1905 and 1940 with an estimated net worth of between US $700 million[3] and US $1.4 billion, the Rindge family was widely considered one of the wealthiest in the world.[4][5][6]

Early life[edit]

Rindge was born in Cambridge, the only surviving son among the six children of Samuel B. Rindge (1820–1883) and Clarissa Harrington (Dec. 8, 1822–Jan.4, 1885);[7][8] his siblings, including a brother named Henry and a sister named Mary,[9] all died of scarlet fever, also known as rheumatic fever.[10][11] He grew up in the "Rindge mansion," still standing at the corner of Dana and Harvard Streets in Cambridge, but spent vast swathes of his childhood very ill, condemned to bed with swollen joints, body spasms, a wildly irregular heartbeat, and other ailments.[12] Bible stories were of some solace to him, with "tales of men defeating long odds because God was on their side" rooting him in faith and religion from a young age.[13]

Education and travels[edit]

Rindge entered Harvard College in 1875, joining the Art Club, Glee Club, and Hasty Pudding Club, and rising to the top of his class as an inductee of the Institute of 1770, "one of the most important social honors on campus" whose purpose was "to identify the one hundred members of each class most fit to join society, all by a process of cascading elections."[14] His appointment opened the door for him to join the A.D. Club, "one of the oldest and most exclusove final clubs on campus" in which he met and became close friends with Theodore Roosevelt, whose conquer of his own health ailments inspired Rindge, leading to his realization that "he, too, was strong enough to travel the world and seek out the experiences that would give him the sense of making up for lost time."[15]

Rindge's travels began with a journey across the Atlantic on the SS Baltic. He then traversed England, France, and Germany, among his many stops. Upon returning to America and Harvard, he soon fell ill again and was forced to drop out of school, moving back in with his family. He was so severely ill that his doctor suggested he might find a better chance of survival if he sought out a warmer climate than Massachusetts could offer, which led him to St. Augustine, Florida. As he was again on the upswing of recuperation, he explored the town, then quite remote, and even partook of some amateur excavation of long-abandoned native Timucua villages.[16] Later, in Colorado, he would spend a brief period as a sheep rancher.[17]

In 1883, Rindge inherited his father's estate, then worth nearly $2 million ($140 million in 2016 dollars), from his father's investments in textile mills and real estate.[18]

Cambridge, Massachusetts[edit]

In 1887, Mayor William Russell of Cambridge, a Harvard friend, requested Rindge's help in funding a new public library. Rindge responded in July 1887 with an offer of land and full funding for Cambridge's public library. Later that year he enlarged his offer to include three additional buildings: a new city hall (now the Cambridge City Hall), the Rindge Technical School, and a proposed high school (not built). He also paid the bulk of the costs for the Harvard-Epworth United Methodist Church. Today Rindge is commemorated in Cambridge through the high school, Rindge Avenue, Rindgefield Street, and Rindge Towers, low-income apartment buildings.

Southern California[edit]

Rindge moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1887. In 1892 Rindge purchased the 13,315.7-acre Spanish land grant Rancho Topanga Malibu Sequit or "Malibu Rancho", in Malibu, California.[19] He later expanded it to 17,000 acres (69 km2) as Rindge Ranch.[20] He and his wife, May, first stayed in a small cabin on it that had been built by one of the ranch's previous owners, Matthew Keller, naming it Oak Cottage. He then built a three-story Victorian mansion on the property in 1893, surrounding it with orange groves and vegetable fields.[21]

Business ventures[edit]

Rindge founded the Conservative Life Insurance Company (now Pacific Life) and became vice-president of Union Oil Company and director of the Los Angeles Edison Electric Company (later Southern California Edison Company). His investments included land near Stockton, California and real estate holdings in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, and the state of Sinaloa, Mexico.

He was President of the Harvard Club of Los Angeles and a member of many historical, archaeological, patriotic, and religious organizations which mirrored his interests. A supporter of the temperance movement, Rindge reimbursed the city of Santa Monica for the loss of license fees when Santa Monica abolished saloons. He established the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Santa Monica. He wrote several self-published books which were spiritual and meditative in nature.[22]

Personal life[edit]

In 1887 Rindge married 22-year-old Rhoda May Knight (1864–1941) of Michigan.[23] They moved to Wilshire and Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica and then built a home at 2263 Harvard Boulevard in Los Angeles, known today as the Frederick Hastings Rindge House; weekends and summers were spent at their Malibu estate.[24] They had three children: Samuel Knight Rindge (1888–1968), Frederick Hastings Rindge, Jr. (1890–1952),[25] and Rhoda Agatha Rindge (1893–1962).[26] Samuel Knight Rindge married Agnes Marion Hole, daughter of Willits J. Hole. Rhoda Agatha Rindge married Merritt Adamson,[27] and they built the Adamson House,[28] which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Rindges also had a vacation home in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Frederick H. Rindge died on a Tuesday at sunrise. He had fallen ill while visiting a silver mine in Yreka, California. His body was transported via train back to Southern California. A service was held at the Rindge home in West Adams Heights, followed by another short service after his funeral procession to his place of burial, Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery.[29]

Selected works[edit]

  • Can You Read Your Title Clear to a Mansion in the Skies? (1889)
  • Thoughts Concerning Ourselves and Our Interests (1890)
  • Meditations on Many Matters (1890)
  • Happy Days in Southern California (1898)[30]
  • The Best Way (1902)[31]

See also[edit]


  2. ^ a b Mostrom, Tony (7 March 2016). "Meet the Couple Who Made Malibu, Then Lost the "Battle for Paradise"".
  3. ^ Randall, David K. "The long and complicated fight to preserve paradise in Malibu".
  4. ^ "The Making of Malibu - David K. Randall". Lapham’s Quarterly.
  5. ^ "May K. Rindge, 1930s - FF-173".
  6. ^ "May K. Rindge, a Fighter to the End". 18 January 2011.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^,+david+k.+randall,+the+king+and+queen+of+malibu&source=bl&ots=ctCvT5sIbB&sig=ACfU3U3qdcSRtcPHuVobkpdtTMADCFKpiw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi2w6b-2dbmAhUHac0KHcNoCtgQ6AEwAHoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=mary%20died%20unexpectedly%20three%20days%20after%20henry's%20funeral%2C%20david%20k.%20randall%2C%20the%20king%20and%20queen%20of%20malibu&f=false
  10. ^ Francis Jewett Parker (1891) Memoir of Samuel Baker Rindge, David Clapp & Son, Printers, Boston.
  11. ^ The New England Historic Genealogical Society, Memorial Biographies, Vol VIII, 1880–1889, Boston
  12. ^,+followed+by+hours+frederick+rindge&source=bl&ots=ctCvU5qIby&sig=ACfU3U0Vfh0CJFVBIfejvhDPpsx8_3qunQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjZ0f-Gx9nmAhVGG80KHTXDCx0Q6AEwAHoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=body%20quaked%20in%20spasms%2C%20followed%20by%20hours%20frederick%20rindge&f=false
  13. ^,+followed+by+hours+frederick+rindge&source=bl&ots=ctCvU5qIby&sig=ACfU3U0Vfh0CJFVBIfejvhDPpsx8_3qunQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjZ0f-Gx9nmAhVGG80KHTXDCx0Q6AEwAHoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=body%20quaked%20in%20spasms%2C%20followed%20by%20hours%20frederick%20rindge&f=false
  14. ^,+frederick+rindge&source=bl&ots=ctCvU5qGaD&sig=ACfU3U33BYkLWRugR0wnjY3AVnnL8myKyw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj12_akxtnmAhVBVs0KHSKVCjMQ6AEwAHoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=one%20of%20the%20most%20important%20social%20honors%20on%20campus%2C%20frederick%20rindge&f=false
  15. ^,+too,+was+strong+enough+to+travel+the+world+and+seek+out+the+experiences+that+would+give+him+the+sense+of&source=bl&ots=ctCvU5rJ9A&sig=ACfU3U1vaUtPfo54ptVBx1fOLb5FU__gNA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiZ4_yKy9nmAhUSC6wKHbNUD4YQ6AEwAHoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=he%2C%20too%2C%20was%20strong%20enough%20to%20travel%20the%20world%20and%20seek%20out%20the%20experiences%20that%20would%20give%20him%20the%20sense%20of&f=false
  16. ^,+essentially+acting+as+grand+platforms,+david+k.+randall&source=bl&ots=ctCvU6sK8y&sig=ACfU3U0VfUOYbgwH3S-5Sgk4fMBmkoR_tA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwii4Zmy9NnmAhWIW80KHZsQDHUQ6AEwCnoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=timucua%20villages%2C%20essentially%20acting%20as%20grand%20platforms%2C%20david%20k.%20randall&f=false
  17. ^ History of City Hall, Cambridge Archived 2009-02-27 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Frederick Hastings Rindge Collection, Cambridge Historical Commission Archived 2008-05-12 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Malibu, CA - Official Website - Official Website".
  20. ^ Randall, David K. (March 13, 2016). "Op-Ed The long and complicated fight to preserve paradise in Malibu". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  21. ^,+1893+with+the+completion+of+an+immense+three-story&source=bl&ots=ctCxT5mJfB&sig=ACfU3U281DZ34DnG-iw8Y8zjRhQmYxf6uQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj63r3e3pDnAhUQbKwKHerTDT4Q6AEwAHoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=david%20k.%20randall%2C%201893%20with%20the%20completion%20of%20an%20immense%20three-story&f=false
  22. ^ Ingersoll, Luther A (2008). Ingersoll's Century History, Santa Monica Bay Cities - Prefaced with a Brief History of the State of California, a Condensed History of Los Angeles County, 1542-1908; Supplemented with an Encyclopedia of Local Biography. ISBN 978-1-4086-2367-1.
  23. ^ Rhoda May Knight Rindge at Find a Grave
  24. ^ "Monument Search Results Page".
  25. ^ Frederick Hastings Rindge, Jr at Find a Grave
  26. ^ Rhoda Rindge Adamson at Find a Grave
  27. ^ Rindge Adamson Family Archived 2009-03-23 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ "Welcome to Adamson House".
  29. ^ Frederick H. Rindge at Find a Grave
  30. ^,+malibu+canyon&source=bl&ots=LXQuLCJIyk&sig=ACfU3U2_XhNRUztwGa8s0WC3vtiN3Xjbxw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjxnN6T35DnAhUGjq0KHZtNCOQQ6AEwBXoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=1893%20frederick%20rindge%20house%2C%20malibu%20canyon&f=false
  31. ^ "Happy Days in Southern California, by Frederick Hastings Rindge - The Online Books Page".

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]