Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
John F. Duehren Home
32408 Crown Valley Road, Acton

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John F. Duehren home, possibly at the time of the 1920 remodel.

German immigrant John F. Duehren was Acton's first permanent resident. He emigrated to the United States and was naturalized Nov. 16, 1860, in Toledo, Ohio, but lived first in Minnesota, then Kansas before coming to Acton on Christmas Day 1885, when he was 61 years old. (Read this for source material for the early history.)

Duehren made his home, literally, at what became 32408 Crown Valley Road, next to an old stagecoach stop and general store. From 1886-1887 he built a two-story rock house using stone he hauled down from a nearby mountain.

He wasn't alone for long. October 11, 1887, marked the arrival of his son-in-law, Richard E. Nickel, who, despite being No. 2, was considered the Father of Acton. Nickel became the town's first postmaster in January 1888, built the Acton Hotel in 1890, and ran the local newspaper when the population grew enough to need one.

Although Acton has just gotten its own post office (and with it, a separate identity), Duehren listed Ravenna as his place of residence when he registered to vote on April 2, 1888. Ravenna, four miles down Soledad Canyon Road in the direction of Newhall, was a bigger burgh and a more significant stop on the Southern Pacific Line. Duehren listed his occupation as farmer.

Duehren died in 1892 and was buried in the Palmdale Cemetery. Like other residents of the growing town, his sons went to work for Henry Gage, who had snatched up the region's biggest gold mines.

In 1920 the Duehren home was remodeled and slightly expanded; the bathrooms were probably added at that time.

In 1967 another improvement was made to the property. This might have been the time the carriage house in back was remodeled into the main residence.

In March 2000, the property was sold for $180,000 by then-owner Levon "Lev" Arklin, son of Newhall property investor Hank Arklin and co-owner, with his brothers, of several trash companies in the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys (AV Rubbish, Foothill Rubbish Co., Palmdale Disposal Co. and Santa Clarita Disposal). They'd gotten into the trash business in Sand Canyon in 1969 and got out in 1999 when they sold their interests to Waste Management.

The buyer of the property in 2000 was Jonathan Bosh, who tells the history of the Duehren house in this 2004 history show. Bosh said when he bought the property, the original stone house was known as "Withering Heights" and was unlivable. Bosh lived in the former carriage house and used the original Duehren home for storage.

In April 2013 the property sold again (not by Bosh) for $400,000.

AP3107: 19200 dpi jpeg from copy print.


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