Photos Friday, July 4, 2014
New Owner Bulldozes 1913 Newhall School Building
By Leon Worden | SCVNews.com | Friday, July 4, 2014
What used to be the only remaining part of the 100-year-old, two-story wooden Newhall School building is gone, and Historical Society officers are none too happy.
According to a source familiar with the property at 24514 Kansas Street (next to Jimmy Dean's on Lyons Avenue), the onetime schoolhouse was bulldozed within the last eight to 10 days.
It had just been sold in April for $500,000 to an entity called Kansas Street Partners LLC, whose agent is listed as James S. Backer, a local developer and chairman of the board of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
By local tradition, the structure served as Newhall's K-8 school from about 1914 to 1928, when it was supplanted with a new building at the current elementary school site on Walnut Street.
According to a 2009 "Historic Preservation
Survey & Planning Analysis" completed for the City of Santa Clarita by Historic Resources Group, a consulting firm in Hollywood, the structure was "built in 1914 facing Lyons Avenue as part of Newhall Elementary School; Roland
R. and Julia Reidel established residence in Newhall on August 8, 1922; he
managed the Bank of America, the first bank in the community; in 1924 Reidel and
A.B. Perkins bought the schoolhouse for $1,000, divided it; Reidel moved his half
to its current site on Kansas Street."
As for the other half, Perkins moved it to 22906 Kansas Street. Per the 2009 survey, the structure that once stood at that address was "originally part of the Newhall Elementary School on Lyons Avenue; moved to this
location by Roland Reidel in 1924; Roland and Julia Reidel moved to Newhall; he
managed the Bank of America, the first bank in the community, beginning August
8, 1922; in 1924 Reidel and A.B. Perkins bought the school house for $1,000 and
divided it in two; Reidel's portion was moved to Kansas Street; Perkins' portion was
next to it on Lyons Avenue; Perkins' portion was later demolished when Lyons
Avenue was widened."
The 22906 address no longer exists.
Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste, an SCV Historical Society board member, was upset to learn of the demolition and said she hadn't been forewarned; nor had Historical Society President Alan Pollack. Had the society known, said Weste, it could have worked with the new property owner to move the relatively small structure — 924 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath — to Heritage Junction at Hart Park, where the group has saved several other buildings from bulldozers since 1980.
Weste and Duane Harte, a city Parks Commissioner who is also the society's treasurer, said they had heard of possible development plans a few years ago, under a prior owner, but that nothing came of them.
Curiously, the property does not seem to have been included in any formal city list of "protected" historical properties. It's not cited as a protected cultural resource in the city's original 1991 General Plan or in the subsequent One Valley One Vision plan; nor is it on the "short list" of properties protected under a more recent City Council ordinance. (The 2009 historical survey referenced above has no efficacy.)
It was Newhall's third formal schoolhouse, consecutively. While modern Santa Clarita history and the 2009 survey give 1914 as the first year the building was used as a school, a history of Newhall compiled in 1940 puts it a bit earlier. The 1940 history claims it was first used in 1911 after the tiny town outgrew the previous (second) Newhall School, which had been erected in 1890 at Walnut and 9th Street after the first one (from 1879) burned down.
Los Angeles County assessor records show a construction date of 1913 for the Kansas Street property, with an expansion in 1919. It closed escrow for the last time April 30, 2014.
Footnote: The 2009 survey says the following about the fourth (current) Newhall Elementary School site at 24607 Walnut Street: "Newhall Elementary School moved from Lyons Avenue to the corner of Walnut
and Eleventh Streets in 1928; the school burned down on February 14, 1939; it was
the third time in the first 60 years of the Newhall School District that Newhall's only
public school burned to the ground. Notable buildings include the Auditorium,
designed by Glendale architect H.E. Hansen and dedicated on September 16,
1941, which replaced the original 1930s Deco-style building that is said to have
been the site of silent film screening presented by Hart during the Depression."
• See demolition permit, issued June 3, 2014 (opens in new window).