Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
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Santa Clara River Flooding
Sand Canyon


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Charlie Dillenbeck family film shows flooding of the Santa Clara River in Sand Canyon, probably in February 1969. The valley also flooded in November 1967 and November 1968, but the flooding of February 1969 washed out bridges in Canyon Country and Saugus including the Bouquet Canyon auto bridge. One person was killed (see below).

We see members of the Dillenbeck family at their Sand Canyon home, 28300 Oak Spring Canyon Road, on the south side of the river. Their Dillenbeck Canyon Market was located on the north side of the river at Solemint Junction (on Sierra Highway just north of Soledad), just east of the North Oaks tract. The film was probably made between those two points. We don't know what bridge is shown in the film; it looks like an old foot- or wagon bridge. It is probably not one of the bridges mentioned in the story below.

The medium was probably 8mm film. The Dillenbeck family transfered it and other film clips to VHS, most likely in the 1970s. Some of the clips can be dated to 1975-76. The music is on the VHS tape.


Click image to enlarge.

Vicious Storm Rips Valley — Homes and Bridges in Ruins.

Hundreds of residents in the North Oaks section of Saugus were cut off from the rest of the world yesterday as the swollen Santa Clara River closed the two bridges out of the area.

And the rest of Valencia Valley was effectively balkanized as more than three inches of ferocious rains fell in less than 24 hours.

More than 20 feet of approach roadway fell out of the Soledad Canyon Road bridge early yesterday morning and swirling currents of muddy water were threatening to undermine the cement pilings that hold up the rest of the narrow county structure.

State Division of Highway officials closed the other bridge — the Santa Clara River Bridge on Highway 14 — after they began to fear it too was being undermined. It was hoped, however, that it would be opened by late in the day.

A third bridge was completely down. A short span about a half mile beyond the Saugus Rehabilitation Center in Bouquet Canyon plopped into the raging waters.

But it was the sight of the wounded Soledad Canyon Road bridge over the Santa Clara River that drew the big crowds of gawkers on the North Oaks aide.

On the west side, residents were faced with more serious problems. Several homes in a new housing development the east side of the Santa Clara River had been inundated when portions of concrete embankment gave way.

Many of the residents were inundated and had to be evacuated. There were no reports of lost lives [that would change; see below], but the Sylmar Rescue team took more than 70 residents out of flooded homes throughout Valencia Valley.

The Hart High School was used in the early parts of the morning as a rescue center, and the Mint Canyon Community Building was pressed into service by the Red Cross for flood victims from that part of the valley.

Most of those brought in were from the outlying canyon areas.

The latest storm in about six weeks of heavy rains began last Saturday. But it was not until Monday that almost every major thoroughfare — and all outlying ones — were closed off.

Soledad Canyon Road — a major link between Saugus and Newhall — was still passable late Monday night before the bridge went out, but just barely.

Mud and Rocks.

Like many other roads, the runoff from the rains had chewed away large portions of the cement and covered the rest with thick and slimy tons of mud and rocks. Tipsy, dangling telephone poles and stuck automobiles lined many of the better-used thoroughfares.

Sand Canyon Road — off the Antelope Valley freeway under the railroad bridge — was about the first link to go. It went Monday.

But by daybreak yesterday, great sections of Soledad and Bouquet Canyon Roads were also gone. Highway 126 to Ventura was out completely. Highway 5 remained open, but traffic was rerouted along old 99 around Castaic because of several bad sections of the freeway.

Those lucky residents neither stranded nor homeless were still plagued by utility outages. Plastic tarps decorated many hillsides where homeowners were still trying to save gardens and fences.

North Oaks residents — plagued by outages end the lonely feeling of being stranded — were also not being given much assurance by official sources. The county said it would take at least a couple of days to repair the Soledad Canyon Road bridge once the waters receded. And then, a spokesman added, that would only be if the structure itself was not badly undermined.

Despite the fact that little rain fell during the day yesterday, the weatherman was again predicting heavy rains for last night.

As of yesterday morning, the current storm season had dumped about 30 inches, almost eight of those inches being accounted for by just the rains of the last few days.

And last — but certainly not least — the giant evergreen tree on Round Mountain at Highway 5 and 126 toppled.

This was the tree that the Newhall Land and Farming Company has traditionally decorated with more than a thousand bulbs every Christmas.

It may never shine again.



Click to enlarge.

Metfessel Rites Held.

Private graveside services were conducted yesterday afternoon for Dr. Milton F. Metfessel, 67, of Redondo Beach at Green Hills Memorial Park, San Pedro.

Dr. Metfessel was a victim of flood waters as his car was engulfed while he was journeying to his Mint Canyon Ranch. The retired University of Southern California professor is the only known victim of last month's storm.

Survivors are his widow Carol Metfessel of Redondo Beach; two sons, Dr. Newton Metfessel and Miles Metfessel, of Redondo Beach; his mother, Mrs. Ella Hydong of Sacramento; and a sister, Mrs. Ono Hurlebaus of Sacramento.

DILLENBECK FAMILY PHOTOS

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Charlie Sr. in Sand Canyon 1940s x2

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Jennifer 1957 x2

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Jenny, Hart 1958

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Bonnie 1963 x2

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Bonnie 8-23-1963

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Bonnie, Miss Tri-Canyon 1963

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Film: 1969? Flooding

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Labor Day Picnic 1970

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