Person standing in Beale's Cut, looking south. 1.75x2.5-inch BW negative, n.d. (ca. 1900-1910).
Beale's Cut, alternately known as Fremont
Pass and Newhall Pass, is the 90-foot-deep,
hand-cut gash through the mountain southeast of
Sierra Highway and San Fernando Road (later renamed Newhall Avenue) in Newhall.
Truth is, though, Fremont came through the area about a quarter-mile east
of Beale's Cut.
General Phineas Banning drove the first stage through the pass in 1854 when it was only 30 feet deep.
In 1862, Gen. Edward F.
Beale, a veteran of the Mexican-American War, took over a contract from the Los Angeles County Board of
Supervisors to improve — i.e., deepen — the cut to improve passage for wagons from the pueblo of
Los Angeles north to the Tehachapis. Beale used
troops from Fort Tejon and Chinese immigrants to do the work, completing it in 1863.
the roadway was replaced by the nearby Newhall
Tunnel, which gave way to modern-day Sierra
Highway in 1938. During the El Niño winter of 1997-98, Beale's Cut caved in. Today it's at about half of its former depth.
The area was annexed into the City of Santa Clarita in the 1990s. It's owned by the same person who owns the adjacent
Newhall Refinery site. The refinery property is intended to be developed and Beale's Cut is to be deeded to the city when that happens.
For more info, read Movie Trivia from Beale's Cut.
DI4005: 9600 dpi jpeg from BW negative, collection of Sharon Divis.