November 27, 2020

Topanga Historical Society Picnic at Jack Woods’Historic House and Property


The Topanga Historical Society will hold its annual picnic on July 19 at 12 noon on the grounds of the historic Old Canyon Jack Woods house. Following the potluck picnic, Ed O’Neill and Felice Willat will describe their property’s history and invite guests to explore the extensive grounds. Those interested in attending the program can call (310) 455-1969 for location and parking information.

Thought to be Topanga’s oldest inhabited structure, the Woods house has a long and colorful history that began in the early twentieth century when Jack Woods, a pioneer stage and mail driver, built the stone cabin on Old Canyon property that was once the Frederick Mezet ranch and winery. Since then,


Topanga Historical Society Picnic at Jack Woods’Historic House and Property

Jack Woods’ house in Old Canyon is the location of the Topanga Historical Society’s annual picnic, to be held on Sunday July 19.

the property was bought and sold about ten times. Its owners and tenants included John Bonnell, a real estate developer who subdivided a portion of the property, which he named Topanga Park and was later known as Bonnell Park or Bonnell Flats. Rock star Neil Young was a 1960s tenant. His famous three-day party there resulted in the arrest of Young, as well as Eric Clapton, and led to the breakup of Young’s group, Buffalo Springfield.

In 2000, Ed O’Neill bought the property from Dede Potvin and Ingrid Lindquist who had named it Oakwood Farm and had raised domestic animals there. O’Neill did extensive renovation to the property, removing eucalyptus and pine trees and planting over 60 coast live oaks, 10 sycamores, many arroyo willows and over 2,000 indigenous shrubs. An old barn stands on the lovely 18-acre grounds that include a vineyard and a formal enclosed vegetable garden.

The potluck picnic will be spread on tables shaded by massive oaks and guests will sit under shade structures placed on the extensive mowed native-grass field. Guests who wish to explore the grounds should wear sturdy shoes in order to walk the winding paths that offer wide views of the property.

While hosts O’Neill and Willat cannot provide a complete tour of their house, they will show guests the stone cabin’s main room.

Everyone is invited to the program. Those attending the picnic should bring a main dish, salad or dessert to share. The Society will depart from its usual tradition of asking guests to bring their own plate and silverware and will provide those along with drinks. Because seating is short, those guests who can easily bring folding chairs or a blanket are asked to do so. Call (310) 455-1969 for more information.