Santa Clarita Valley (Images of America)
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A trade crossroads dating back to Native American times, Santa Clarita may be relatively new in the story of Los Angeles County's suburban sprawl, but old-timers also recall it as the "Navel of the Universe." A Chinese general once declared the Santa Clarita Valley one of the top 10 military targets on Earth. Located east of the Ventura County line where the valley creates a break in the Angeles National Forest, Santa Clarita has been home to cowboys, movie stars, farmers, and pistol fighters. With a diverse population of 250,000 today, the Santa Clarita Valley still boasts an eclectic heritage. The West's first major oil refinery is located here. The ground was bloodied by at least 21 deaths in one of America's last and greatest range wars. And local lore has maintained that the world's largest grizzly bear, weighing more than a ton, was shot here.
California Aqueduct from the Owens Valley and the ill-fated St. Francis Dam. Mulholland Drive was named after the engineer. In the 1920s, the state planned to bring the road into the SCV through a tiny forgotten dirt road that is still on the maps today: Saugus to the Sea. The Depression stopped that link. (Courtesy SCV Historical Society.) Wallace Hardison and Lyman Stewart owned this oil storage building (below), but the partners were not too adept at their business. They drilled a series of
man had a nightmare of impending disaster before the St. Francis Dam burst. About 100 Navajo workers on Carey’s ranch respected the omen and left for Arizona three days before. (Courtesy SCV Historical Society.) Time heals. Some small humor remains. The morning after, young Bailey Haskell (of Haskell Canyon fame) rescued a teenage girl. Nude from the floodwaters, she clutched to the branches of a mighty oak. “Bailes” propped up a ladder, climbed the tree, threw a blanket over her, and carried
station. If an outside light was green, everything was okay. If it was red, they had a call. For a while, sheriff’s deputies carried pockets full of nickels for phone booth calls. Sub-station No. 6 was the Signal’s production office in the 1970s and now is a storage room for the Canyon Theater Guild. (Courtesy SCV Historical Society.) Thanks to a lawsuit by Beverly Hills parents, schools within Los Angeles County were no longer bound to be part of Los Angeles Unified School District. Right after
Magic Mountain on Memorial Day 1971. The 200-acre amusement park would be sold in 1978 to Six Flags. With its 384-foot tower and home of Bugs Bunny, it became, for better or worse, the new and forever identifying landmark of the Santa Clarita Valley. (Courtesy Newhall Land.) Landmarks come. Landmarks go. The City of Santa Clarita is involved in a stretched-out redevelopment of downtown Newhall. Above, at the corner of Ninth and Main Streets used to sit the spiffy-looking Soledad Hotel. Before
River Valley” can be told without those making history and those keeping it. I am humbled by the chain of good people, stretching back centuries, who have passed along the culture, fable, wit, and courage along with their questionable decision-making. There are the usual suspects within the endless spectrum of the Santa Clarita Valley of pirates, volunteers, resume-building bureaucrats, and saints to thank. At the top of the list is Leon Worden, who, for decades now, has joined historians A. B.