Doc Rioux At Large

Let's tour Old Town Newhall, USA

Richard "Doc" Rioux · November 27, 1994

Let me be your guide for today's tour. We're in the year AD 2005. Families from all around the world continue to arrive in the Santa Clarita Valley to spend a week or two visiting the sights. Metrolink picks people up at Burbank Airport and drops them off at Heritage Junction Station. Tourists who have arrived at Palmdale International Airport are delivered by high-speed trains to major hotels that line San Fernando Road, from the railroad tracks to the 14 freeway.

Our tour begins as we enter the Historical Theme Park called Old Town Newhall, USA. It's a Western town with stores selling everything from paintings and toy cowboys to western clothes and hats celebrating the American West. People line the streets shopping for quality merchandise made in factories located throughout Los Angeles County.

Once you've toured Old Town Newhall, USA, you get to hop on the NASA Space Shuttle Monorail, which will take you to any one of a half-dozen major activity and recreation centers. You might want to see the completely restored first oil town in California, the ghost town of Mentryville at the end of Pico Canyon. After that, you'll reach Magic Mountain, which has been expanded to allow families to spend more than two days enjoying the rides and visiting exhibits that epitomize the latest advances in 21st-century interactive technology and space travel. Children throng to the theaters, observatories and astronomy centers to view meteors, encounter "black holes," and witness exploding stars.

Your next stop is the Castaic Lake Recreation Center, where you can not only get a nice tan but also spend days boating, fishing, water skiing or wind sailing. Horse riding stables and trails circle the lake, where there is always something to do in the valley's big sky country.

For golf enthusiasts, there is the Canyon Country Championship Golf Course and Miniature Golf Center. Golfers can choose from one of five public golf courses, and parents can entertain their children by playing miniature golf on some of the most phantasmagorical playgrounds imaginable.

Our next stop is the Placerita Native American Museum and Educational Nature Center. Here you'll find book stores, libraries, museums and daily events devoted to the study of the Western desert and the culture of Native Americans.

Up the street from the Museum and Nature Center, you can enjoy an afternoon at the Disney Movie Ranch, where folks can watch Western movies being made, hear real cowboys reciting poetry, and meet the legendary bandito, Tiburcio Vasquez, and his gang of cutthroats and stagecoach robbers.

All aboard! The NASA Monorail is headed for El Pueblo Mexico in East Newhall. A village right out of late 19th-century Mexico has been built. Residents operate home businesses making crafts and other items for sale in stores throughout the park.

When you've finished touring El Pueblo Mexico, you can walk along a wide paseo to Hart Park, where you can tour the historic town of Heritage Junction, ride the old railroad, visit the expanded William S. Hart Museum, and have a wonderful time in the most elaborate playground for kids in America.

For shoppers and moviegoers, the NASA Monorail will drop you off at the Valencia Town Center, where you can find theaters and an assortment of fine stores. Specialty shops, book stores and more restaurants line both Lyons Avenue in Newhall and Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country.

Almost everyone I've talked to about this grand design has been genuinely enthusiastic. It brings all development in the valley together, creates opportunities for private investment, takes advantage of the growing entertainment and tourist industries, restores Newhall, revitalizes East Newhall, showcases our common history, ties Community Redevelopment Agency projects to a master plan, creates thousands of indigenous jobs, and produces huge tax benefits for the city and county.

It's not simply a pipe dream. Stay tuned. You might be hearing more about Old Town Newhall, USA.

I just love this valley. Don't you?

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