Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
MacDougall's Saugus Cafe
Saugus, California

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MacDougall's Saugus Cafe, matchbook cover, 1938. Reads: 1898-1938 / Our Fortieth Year of 24-Hour Service.

Although the Saugus Cafe originated as "Tolfree's Eating House" inside the SPRR Saugus Depot right around the time the depot was erected in 1887, C.M. MacDougall and wife Olive no doubt considered 1898 to be its starting year because that is when Richard Wood came to town and bought the diner from the Tolfree family. According to historian Jerry Reynolds, the name formally changed to Saugus Cafe when the papers were signed Jan. 18, 1899. Richard's brother Martin Wood managed the cafe and moved it out of the depot in 1905.

In 1926, according to Reynolds, descendant Helen Wood married a man named Byron Cone, and the couple ran the cafe for the next decade. In 1936, Fielding S. Wood took over active management. Then, in the 1940s — evidendly as early as 1938, as seen here — C.M. MacDougall and wife Olive took it over. Olive was a descendant of the Woods. MacDougall had "courted the comely Olive at the Saugus Cafe counter," Reynolds writes.

About the same time, at least by the early 1940s, the MacDougalls also owned and operated an eponymous restaurant at Solemint Juction in (what is now) Canyon Country.

In 1951, when C.M. was appointed justice of the peace, he handed over the Solemint restaurant to a nephew, Dick Cone.

In 1952, C.M. and Olive sold the Saugus Cafe to Bill Rolls, "ending a 54-year tradition of the cafe being in the hands of the same family" (Reynolds ibid.)

Justice Court judges were lay judges; you didn't need to have a law license to be a justice of the peace. C.M. MacDougall got one anyway. He studied at night and passed the bar at age 60. In 1966, when the Municipal Court came to Newhall, "Judge Mac" was a natural for the job.

Read about the Saugus Cafe.

Read about Judge MacDougall.

AL3801: 19200 dpi jpeg from the collection of Dr. Alan Pollack.

Tales of the Saugus Cafe (Reynolds)
Envelope 1890

Dining Room & Letterhead 1890s

J. Herbert Tolfree

Charles Edward Tolfree

In Saugus Depot 1890s

Advertisement 1895

J.H. Tolfree Death


Matchbook Cover 1938

Sandwich Shop Destruction 1941

Both Buildings 1955

Both Bldgs ~1957 x3

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