Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Cornerstone Laying Ceremony for Val Verde Park
Pool and Bath House Planned for April 16, 1939.

Los Angeles Sentinel, April 13, 1939.

Webmaster's note.

"A huge copper box, containing documents of historical value, will be placed in the cornerstone for future reference." The future is now.

Competing African-American newspapers in Los Angeles — The Sentinel and The News-Guardian — promoted the upcoming cornerstone laying event for the Val Verde Park pool and bathhouse, which took place April 16, 1939. Along with a section of the day's Los Angeles Times, copies of the two newspapers were placed in a time capsule that was sealed inside the cornerstone. Los Angeles County Parks Department staff members opened the time capsule in 1994 when the pool was renovated and photographed and shared the contents 20 years later, in 2014, when another time capsule was being planned. Searchable digital images (.pdf's) of the newspapers that were entombed in the 1939 capsule can be viewed here:

• News-Guardian, March 30, 1939

• News-Guardian, April 13, 1939

• Los Angeles Sentinel, April 13, 1939

• Los Angeles Times, April 16, 1939

Articles from these same newspapers, related to the cornerstone laying event, appear below.

Click to enlarge.

Gov. Olson is Invited to Val Verde.

An invitation has been extended to Governor Olson to attend the cornerstone laying on April 16.

Construction work on the Val Verde swimming pool, which said to be one of the largest in the county, is expected to be finished before summer, according to Supervisor Gordon L. McDonough, who is credited with untiring efforts in securing funds from the county and WPA for it.

The beautiful park strip in which the pool and bathhouse are located is the gift of Harry M. Waterman of Val Verde Properties Co. It comprises more than 53 acres.

To date, the county and WPA have spent over a quarter of a million dollars beautifying the park, roads and surrounding country. Several hundred Negro families own country estates in the area and it is fast developing as a popular suburban community.

The beautiful park strip in which celebration program on April 16 declared this week that accommodations for the throngs expected in Val Verde on that date are nearing completion. Norman O. Houston, Dr. Vada Somerville. Mrs. Hattie Baldwin, L.G. Robinson, George Beavers, Mrs. C.A. Bass, Mrs. Emily Portwig and others are on the committee.

Click to enlarge.

Superb Entertainment Planned at Cornerstone Laying at Val Verde Park on Sunday.

Featuring a rousing program of entertainment, recreational games and notables from civic, social and theatrical circles, the citizens' committee of Val Verde County Park opening announces this week that all Los Angeles County is invited to participate in the gala celebration of the cornerstone laying of the pool and bath house, which is scheduled for Sunday, April 16, at 2 p.m.

According to Norman O. Houston, chairman of the committee, the entire band of Jefferson high school will furnish music throughout the afternoon program.

Also at the invitation of the committee, the following motion picture and stage notables will be distinguished guests: Miss Hattie McDaniel, Clinton Rosemod [sic], Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Whitman, the Brown sisters, Miss Ruby Elzy, Jack Carr and the Million Dollar Production Co. stars.

Supervisor Gordon L. McDonough, who is chiefly credited with having pushed the county plans for improvements in the new suburban community through, will officiate at the cornerstone ceremonies. Assisting him will be other notables from the state, county and city officies.

Nate George, will known for his athletic direction, will have charge of all recreational games on that day.

Aside from the participation of local leaders on the program, the American Legion posts, women's clubs and P.T.A. groups from Saugus, Newhall and Castaic communities will offer contributions.

Open house will be observed by all residents in what has been declared to be the fastest growing suburban community in the state. Since the park strip of 53 acres was donated by Harry M. Waterman, over half a million dollars in improvements have been provided by Los Angeles county and the WPA.

A huge copper box, containing documents of historical value, will be placed in the cornerstone for future reference. Visitors are asked to write their stories, personal or otherwise, to go into the archive.

(News-Guardian, April 13, 1939 — The Hattie McDaniel and the Brown sisters captions were reversed. The correct caption for Hattie McDaniel reads): Ruby Elzy, Hattie McDaniel, Hollywood stage and screen luminaries, will be distinguished guests at the Val Verde swimming pool cornerstone laying next Sunday, April 16, at 2p. (Note: Ruby Elzy created the role of Serena in George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" on Broadway in 1935. Hattie McDaniel is best remembered today for her role as Mammy in 1939's "Gone With the Wind" — which was released nine months AFTER the Val Verde event.)

(News-Guardian, April 13, 1939 — The correct caption for the Brown sisters reads): Popular Brownies — Thelma, Melba and Velma, known to radio fans as the "Sophisticates of Rhythm," join a galaxy of civic, professional and theatrical notables in the gala celebration at Val Verde County Park, April 16, at 2 p.m.

(News-Guardian, April 13, 1939): Dr. Carver, the immortal agricultural scientist, depicted on screen by Clinton Rosemond, distinguished film actor. Mr. Rosemond will be an honored guest of the Val Verde citizen's committee at Val Verde Park next Sunday.

Advertisement in the News-Guardian, April 13, 1939. Click to enlarge.


• Historic Overview
• Val Verde Park


Cornerstone Laying Planned for 4-16-1939


Official Program


Developer's Fact Sheet


Supervisor McDonough Letter


Portwig's "Pioneers" Speech


Women's Political Study Club Letter


Bus Driver Payment Stub, 2/1939


Million Dollar Productions

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