Santa Clarita History

Aggregate mining deal could have added pollution, traffic, and degrade quality of life in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Mining is nothing new to the Santa Clarita Valley. In fact, gold was discovered in the SCV 6 years before the Sutter’s Mill discovery that kicked off the

Santa Clarita Valley

Overlooking the Santa Clarita Valley from Bear Divide

California Gold Rush.

Over the years, mining companies have come and gone. Gold, oil, gemstones, quartz, and other precious minerals have been mined in our valley since the 19th century.

So what was the big deal when a large mining company called CEMEX was awarded two 10-year contracts in 1990 to mine aggregate sand and gravel on a location in Soledad Canyon that has been mined since the 1950’s. After all, there was already a well established Santa Clarita family-owned mining company already doing the same thing?

Curtis Sand and Gravel had been mining the area of Soledad Canyon on the east side of the Valley since the late 1960’s. Their extracts equaled 300,000 to 450,000 tons of material per year from the Santa Clara riverbed. It was a relatively small operation in comparison, with traffic and pollution at tolerable levels to the surrounding areas and neighborhoods. Continue reading

Take this short quiz to see how well YOU know the SCV!

So what happens when your out of town on vacation or business and you tell someone you’re from Santa Clarita? Usually you’re met with perhaps a puzzling stare, or Newhall, CAsomeone asking if that’s the place just south of San Francisco. Do you usually respond with “It’s the town where Six Flags Magic Mountain is”?

The SCV is more than just the place of Magic Mountain, and we have a diverse and fascinating history. So how well do you know the SCV? We dare you to challenge yourself with this fun quiz. Answers are below, but NO PEEKING!

Test your knowledge of the SCV.

1. What was the name of the area that includes the Santa Clarita Valley that was purchased by Henry Mayo Newhall?

2. True or False: Gold was discovered in Santa Clarita prior to the discovery of gold in Sutter’s Mill that led to the great gold rush in the mid 19th century.

3. What was the name of the first town to be established in the SCV by Henry Mayo Newhall? Continue reading

Santa Clarita embraces its rich western heritage in yearly event guaranteed to entertain young and old alike.

The Santa Clarita Valley is rich with history and western folklore. From Heritage Junction at William S. Hart Park to Santa Clarita Cowboy Festivalthe Western Walk of Fame along Main Street in Old Town Newhall, the SCV has been seen as a center of western culture.

In keeping with these traditions, the City of Santa Clarita launched the inaugural “Cowboy Poetry Festival” back in 1994. Since then, the festival has grown…and changed…to be known simply as the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival.

An Iconic Location For An Iconic Event

The Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival once again will be held at the Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio. First opened in 1915, this studio is still home to some of the best known television shows and motion pictures of all time including the hit Quentin Tarantino movie “Django Unchained.” Continue reading

How did a tiny farming town “way out in the country” become one of Southern California’s top bedroom communities?

Henry Mayo Newhall

Henry Mayo Newhall

It goes without saying that Santa Clarita is a great place to live. Those who move here marvel at the diversity and quality of housing, schools, commuter access, and things to do. Hardly a transient town, many residents have spent their whole lives in this valley, and those who move here rarely move away…unless they have to.

The Santa Clarita Valley has come a long way since its humble beginnings as little more than a railway stop in the late 19th century, when Henry Mayo Newhall leased a throughway for the Southern Pacific Railroad for one dollar a year. He was a visionary, and foresaw big things for “Little Santa Clara (English translation for the Spanish name of “Santa Clarita”, thus named by early Spanish settlers who thought the Santa Clarita Valley looked a lot like the Santa Clara valley in Northern California).

Newhall met an untimely death in 1882 after being thrown from a horse. In the wake of his passing, his surviving family founded the Newhall Land and Farming Co. to oversee the development of the valley they now inherited. Continue reading

Historic Park in Newhall To Receive Much Needed Upgrades and Renovations

William S. Hart Mansion

William S. Hart Mansion

Planned renovations began on November 12th on the grounds of the William S. Hart Park in Newhall as construction began that will include brand new pavement in the parking lot, security lighting, and an automated irrigation system.

While parking will be limited to the main lot during these renovations, improvements will make this historic Santa Clarita landmark even more enjoyable for those wishing for a day outdoors.

William S. Hart Park: Hiking, Picnicking, Mansion Tours…BUFFALO?

The William S. Hart park is named after the silent film star who made over 65 movies in 11 years, most notably in western and adventure dramas. He had begun his acting career in his 20’s and was a successful Shakespearean actor before making his transition to motion pictures at what would now be considered an unseemingly age of 49. Hart retired after filming his last motion picture, Tumbleweeds, in 1925. He moved to the Santa Clarita Valley and built his home which he named La Loma de los Vientos (The Hill of the Winds), a 10,000 Continue reading

One of Santa Clarita’s oldest communities has become an historic landmark.

Located at the end of Pico Canyon Road just west of the Southern Oaks development in Stevenson Ranch, Mentryville began settlement as an oil town in 1870 when “Pico Pico Number 4 Oil WellNumber 4, the first well in Los Angeles County, struck oil in the area.
Mentryville was named after the first oil supervisor in the area; a man named Charles Mentry. Between 1876 and 1900, Mentryville was a boom town with a population of over 200 people. This was a modest community of family homes, blacksmith shops, a schoolhouse, a bakery, social hall, bunkhouses, boarding houses and restaurants, and even featured a gas lighted tennis and croquet court. The only thing missing in Mentryville was a bar, as Mr. Mentry’s puritan ethic prohibited drinking and foul language.

Two hot button issues: Chloride levels and the so-called “Stormwater Tax” can affect the pocketbooks of all Santa Clarita property owners.

California Aqueduct Cascades

Aqueduct Cascades

Los Angeles and the communities surrounding it, including the Santa Clarita Valley, has been the benefactor of positive change over the past century as a result of a forward thinking move by the then head of the Department of Water & Power, William Mulholland. After nearly a decade of planning, political maneuvering, controversial land purchases, and back breaking labor, the California Aqueduct, considered still to be an engineering marvel, opened in November 1913 to the delight of everyone who lived within the greater Los Angeles area and the surrounding communities. This opened up the area to residential development as well as having the effect of essentially redefining what crops could be grown in these communities. This feat of mankind contributed to the growth and development of the Los Angeles, San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys that continues to this day.

While the California Aqueduct brought growth and prosperity to this Southern California region, its effects on the environment, especially in the Owens Valley from where it originates, have been topics for controversy over the past 100 years, and increasingly costly as a result of lawsuits, reclamation and restoration projects.

Over the years, the collection of water, and the disposal of runoff, has brought to light issues we could never have dreamed of one hundred years ago. The United States Army Corps of Engineers began work on channelizing the Los Angeles River through the building of concrete channels in an attempt to control flooding an re-route storm water to the Pacific Ocean. While channelization reduced the risk of flooding in and around Los Angeles, it destroyed the natural watershed with no systems in place to reclaim storm water that would allow for conservation of water resources.  Continue reading

Development of commuter channels continues to be a priority to ease traffic in and out of the Santa Clarita Valley.

We talk a lot about Santa Clarita Valley neighborhoods being “commuter friendly,” and while some of you may have differing ideas about just what “commuter friendly” actually means, as the Santa Clarita Valley continues to develop, there are many steps that are taken to insure traffic flows as smoothly as possible in and around the SCV. Continue reading

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