Santa Clarita Valley, The (Then and Now)
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Born in 1987 as the nations first new city with a population greater than 100,000, Santa Clarita, California, has a fascinating history that stretches back to the rugged Wild West era. Hollywood recreates this history in Santa Clarita and its surrounding valley, to the delight of movie fans worldwide.
the remnants of the old Rancho San Francisco and, in 1876, established the town bearing his name as a stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad. During that same year, one of the world’s longest railroad tunnels was dug nearby, and at the valley’s Lang station, the Southern Pacific’s rail lines between the two halves of California were first linked. Oil had been discovered earlier in the valley, but the pivotal US centennial year of 1876 brought the state its first successful gusher in the valley’s
1855, brothers Sanford and Cyrus Lyon purchased a stagecoach stop at the base of the Fremont Pass somewhere in the vicinity of present-day Eternal Valley Cemetery. The structure in the old photograph may have been built in the 1850s for the stationmaster. It was thought to have been located under today’s Sierra Highway or just to the east, across from the cemetery. Some believe that the house was moved and still exists today on Thirteenth Street in Newhall. In exchange for deepening what was
Chevron, which gifted the historic site to the City of Santa Clarita in 1997. What was formerly a saloon is now a salon, as a portion of the site is now occupied by a beauty parlor. During Newhall’s Wild West days, there were more drinking establishments than churches. One was the Derrick Saloon, located on Eighth Street and Railroad Avenue. The Derrick, built in 1878, was popular with oil workers living in the dry town of Mentryville in Pico Canyon. Emile Chaix took over operations in 1908.
early 1940s. Crowland, named for Mack’s blackface comedy act “The Black Crows,” was the first of three French Norman–style homes that Mack built on Eighth Street. They are all still in existence today. Charles Mack’s Crowland was built just down the hill from William S. Hart’s Horseshoe Ranch. In this photograph from the early 1930s, Mack (left) and Hart stand outside of the home. After Mack’s death in a car crash in January 1934, Hart spoke at his funeral, which took place in Crowland’s living
Vasquez Rocks has appeared in nearly every version of the Star Trek franchise, a fact that has not escaped “trekkers.” Fans often show up at the park hoping to see filming whenever a new Star Trek production is even rumored to be in the works. In the photograph from 1966, the Gorn battles Captain Kirk (William Shatner) in the “Arena” episode during Star Trek’s first season. In the modern photograph, coauthor E.J. Stephens (left) and Saugus resident Bobby Clark, who played the Gorn on Star Trek,