Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

SPRR Saugus Depot in Snow, 12-19-1970
Saugus, California

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Kodachrome slide of Southern Pacific's Saugus Depot on a rare day of snow, Dec. 19, 1970. (The next time it snowed in the Saugus lowlands was Jan. 3-4, 1974.)

At the time, the Saugus depot stood at the southeast corner of Bouquet Canyon Road and Drayton Street. It was occupied by the Guthrie family; Bob Guthrie was the station agent. See and read about the Guthries here.

The photo was shot by local history and railroad enthusiast Gordon Glattenberg, later editor of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Soceity's (est. 1975) monthly "Dispatch" newsletter.

The Saugus train station opened Sept. 1, 1887, when the Southern Pacific Railroad completed the spur line to Ventura along the present-day alignment of Magic Mountain Parkway to State Route 126 through Castaic Junction, Camulos, Piru, Fillmore, Santa Paula and Saticoy — where the SP also erected depots or sidings of various size.

The large, two-story Saugus depot followed a standard set of SP blueprints and stood at the southeast corner of present-day Drayton Street and Railroad Avenue (previously San Fernando Road). Tolfree's Saugus Eating House occupied the north side of the depot until 1905 when it moved across the street into its own building and became the Saugus Café.

President Benjamin Harrison stopped over in April 1891, and Theodore Roosevelt was met at the depot by California governor and Acton gold mine owner Henry T. Gage in 1903. Twenty years later, Charlie Chaplin used the depot in "The Pilgrim," and in 1954 another U.S. president was scheduled to stop at the depot but the feds caught wind of an assassination attempt in time. Of course, this last one was Hollywood fiction; the movie was "Suddenly" and the assassin was played by Frank Sinatra. It was filmed entirely in Saugus and Newhall.

Passenger service ended in April 1971 and the last station agent, James "Bob" Guthrie, shuttered the depot for good on Nov. 15, 1978. Facing demolition by the SP, the depot was rescued in 1980 through a fundraising effort organized by the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, then just 4½ years old. During the night of June 24-25, 1980, it was moved two miles south to the society's home at Heritage Junction at William S. Hart County Park in Newhall, where its film career continued (e.g., "The Grifters" with John Cusack and Angelica Huston, 1989).

Today the depot is an educational venue for visiting elementary school students and patrons of the SCV Historical Society's lectures and film showings, as well as the home to the society's offices, collections, meetings, and the community's "temporary" history museum while the Pardee House at Heritage Junction is turned into a permanent museum facility.

AL7001: 19200 dpi jpeg from color transparency | Collection of Dr. Alan Pollack.
SNOW DAY 12-19-1970

SPRR Saugus Depot

SP Train Newhall

SP Train Newhall

SP Train Newhall

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