July 4, 1935 —
Local court officials from the Soledad Judicial District ride in the 1935 Newhall Fourth of July Parade. The Newhall Garage can be seen in the background.
Before the Santa Clarita Valley was known as the Santa Clarita Valley, it was Soledad Township, and before it had its first Municipal Court judgeship — in 1966 — it had a "Justice Court"
with a succession of locally elected community leaders (with real jobs in real life) serving as part-time judge and jury for minor crimes. The Soledad Judicial District stretched all the way from L.A. City limits to the Kern County line.
This photograph has an unfortunate history. Sometime in the 1980s or 1990s, the date was misidentifed as 1925 or 1928. The error was carried over to other publications and led folks to believe that maybe
1932 wasn't the first year Newhall celebrated the Fourth of July with a parade.
In fact, the photo dates to 1935. The same decorated automobile with the same people in it can be seen in this panoramic "homecoming" photograph which is DATED July 4, 1935.
As far as we know, Newhall's first Fourth of July Parade took place in 1932. Newhall celebrated the Fourth with other types of patriotic festivities previously but not with a parade, to the best of our knowledge.
Typographical errors are responsible for messing up a great deal of Santa Clarita Valley history over the years. Even the history of the Soledad Judicial District was a victim. For decades (from the 1940s to the early 2000s),
John F. Powell was believed to have been its first judge, having been elected to the bench in May 1875.
He wasn't the first.
In 1940, some local people compiled the first comprehensive history of the Santa Clarita Valley and asked local government and nonprofit agencies to submit documents attesting to their own history.
One of these agencies was the local Justice Court, which wrote: "The Justice Court of Soledad Township came into being on the 15th day of October, 1873, with J.H. Turner as Justice of the Peace, who was elected at the judicial election and received three votes. He had no opposition."
But the document from the Justice Court was messy. It was partially hand-written and riddled with overstrikes. When it was retyped, "1873" became "1878."
Somehow the fact that Powell's election (in 1875) to a court that didn't yet exist (had it been established in 1878) was overlooked by historians.
J.H. Turner was the first justice of the peace in 1873. Newhall's first Fourth of July Parade was in 1932. That's our story, and we're sticking to it — until some better information comes along to refute it.
AL1928: 9600 dpi jpeg from 300 dpi jpg of original photograph.