From Canyon To Cove:

Halliburton treasure trove lost

May 14, 2010|By Cindy Frazier

Where are Richard Halliburton’s boots?

That question is rolling around in the minds of members of the Laguna Beach Historical Society, or to be more precise, the revived historical society.

Halliburton’s boots, and a complete collection of first editions of his travel books, along with other personal effects, were donated to the original society some 30 years ago.


That group disbanded in the 1980s, and was “revived” in 1990.

But while, by many accounts, most of the artifacts that had been gathered in a museum were stored away and handed over to the new group, the Halliburton collection was not.

Robert Gibbons of Missouri said he has been wondering what happened to his treasure trove of items — worth at least $50,000 — that he had collected over a lifetime of interest in his childhood hero, the ill-starred adventure writer who died at sea in 1939.

Halliburton also built a famous house in Laguna Beach, which recently was put on the market for the first time in many years.

The concrete home, dubbed Hangover House, was state-of-the-art when it was built in the mid-1930s on a South Laguna hillside overlooking what is now Aliso Creek Golf Course. In a recent column, I wrote about the house and in another column the question of whether Halliburton was related to the oil services Halliburton family came up.

That’s when Gibbons sent me an e-mail confirming the Halliburton oil services connection, through his father, Wesley, and mentioning his lost treasures.

Here’s his message:

“Richard Halliburton was my boyhood hero. I had collected all of his books (first edition with dust jackets). Many were autographed by Richard Halliburton. I had been given by RH’s cousin Elizabeth Halliburton Shinn Richard’s boots, travel suitcase and photos after Richard’s father Wesley’s death in the ’60s. I had built a model of the Chinese junk Sea Dragon that Richard tried to sail across the Pacific Ocean in 1939. Near Midway Island, the junk sank in a storm, with loss of all hands.

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