Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Harry Carey Ranch Survey:
By JRP HISTORCIAL CONSULTING SERVICES, for the National Parks Service.


Smokehouse (Building 3)
HABS No. CA-2712-E

28515 San Francisquito Canyon Road, Saugus, Los Angeles County, California.
UTM Coordinates: 11.0357146.3815565


This building is a contributing element of the Harry Carey Ranch Historic District. The district is associated with the historically significant life and work of the film star Harry Carey Sr., as described in the accompanying narrative report.


Building 3, the Smokehouse, is a single-course, adobe building resting on a wood foundation.1 This building is located northeast of the Bunkhouse (Building 2) and southwest of the Adobe Stables (Building 1) of the Harry Carey Ranch. Rectangular in plan with a dirt floor, the Smokehouse measures approximately 5'-11" in length and 9'-2" feet in width. While it appears to be post-and-adobe construction, the posts are non-load-bearing and are not incorporated within the adobe construction. They appear to only support the roof. The shed roof slopes south and is covered with composition sheet roofing. Roof eaves project approximately 2'-0" beyond the north and south walls and have exposed rafters, while there is only a narrow overhang at the east and west sides of the roof. Wood fascia boards on the east and west sides extend approximately 2'-0" beyond the eaves and beyond the length of the plywood roof deck. At the south side of the building, the boards also extend well beyond the roof deck and at the facade (north) the boards end a few inches short of the roof.

The post and beam bracing that frames the exterior of the building appears to be a later addition to support a new roof built over the deteriorating building, which is suffering from large cracks and spalling, especially at the top of the walls. Another repair is located in the interior, where concrete has been roughly troweled on the lower surface of the walls — approximately 2'-0" up the wall from ground level.

A long, narrow vent measuring approximately 2'-6" wide and 0'-5" in height is located off center on the south side of the building. The roof plate partially blocks the vent, offering further evidence that the roof and its support posts are not original to the structure. The only entrance to the building is centered on the north side of the smokehouse and consists of a single, horizontal, plank-hinged door with Z-shaped battens. The smokehouse is constructed with adobe bricks laid in a single course with mud mortar.

The exterior is finished with whitewash, while the interior walls are unfinished adobe. Each of the adobe bricks measures approximately 1'-3" long, 9" wide, and 4" thick, while the square corner posts are wood 4" x 4"s. No walls divide the interior space.


Tax records from 1925 show an adobe building of comparable size existing on the ranch at that time and property records estimate that this building was constructed in 1920. Although there is no known record of its exact completion date, it was probably completed before 1928 because a post card pre-dating the 1928 St. Francis Dam flood appears to show the smokehouse with a side-gable roof and large chimneystack centered on the roof ridge (Figure 1).


    Real Property Records, County of Los Angeles Office of the Assessor, December 2000.

    Harry Carey, Jr., January 26, 2001. Durango, CO. Telephone interview by Meta Bunse, JRP Historical Consulting Services. Davis, CA.

    Leslie Heumann and Helen Wells. "Historic Resources Inventory: Harry Carey Ranch Historic District." DPR523 forms on file with California Office of Historic Places. July 6, 1993.

    View of Ranch: Harry Carey Trading Post, Saugus, California," n.d. [ca. 1920s], Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society,

Project Information:

The Los Angeles District Army Corps of Engineers, in consideration of a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit for the Tesoro Del Valle Project in Los Angeles County, California, found that the Tesoro del Valle Project, would have an effect on the Harry Carey Ranch Historic District, a property eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. With this finding of effect, the Corps, pursuant to 36 CFR Part 800, regulations implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470f), has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the California State Historic Preservation Officer (in concurrence with Montalvo Properties, LLC) regarding the historic Harry Carey Ranch property. In compliance with the MOA, the Smokehouse (Building 3) will be stabilized and moved within the designated historic district.


Meta Bunse, JRP Historical Consulting Services, 2001.


1. Although the previous survey of this building suggested that it may have once been a privy, Harry Carey. Jr. explained in a recent interview that it was built as a smokehouse and was always used as such (Heumann and Wells, "...Harry Carey Ranch Historic District," DPR523 forms on file with California Office of Historic Places (July 6, 1993); Harry Carey, Jr., interview, January 26, 2001).

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