Deal reached to preserve Carey ranch.
By PATRICIA FARRELL AIDEM, Staff Writer.
L.A. Daily News, Wednesday, May 7, 2003.
SAUGUS Attorneys for the local Historical Society and Los Angeles County are hammering out a deal for preservation and maintenance of a hidden historic treasure now enveloped by a housing development under construction in Saugus.
In a meeting Tuesday behind closed doors, representatives from the county, the developers, the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society and the city of Santa Clarita moved toward giving the society "direct involvement" in the operation of the Harry Carey Ranch, one of the region's first location filming sites, according to a communication among members of the local preservationist group.
Paul Novak, planning deputy for county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, refused to discuss specifics but said all sides appeared ready to drop a years-long squabble over the Western entertainer's property tucked away in a corner of San Francisquito Canyon.
"It went reasonably well," said Novak, who moderated the meeting. "I think we're making progress."
The key, Novak said, is to start negotiations anew.
"One thing we determined is that we won't make substantial progress if we dwell on the past," he said. "We're focused on the future and moving ahead."
The Harry Carey property is a series of five ranch buildings, some of them adobe. Carey and his family moved to the property in 1916 and lived there on and off for about two decades. Most of the original structures, however, were destroyed by the St. Francis Dam collapse of 1928, and a fire a few years later destroyed the main house.
Carey was one of the first film actors to settle in the Santa Clarita Valley, and his ranch among the first used for filming old Westerns.
Now the structures are in need of repair, and the society's hope has been to open the site for public tours.
SunCal Companies and Montalvo Properties are building the 1,500-home Tesoro Del Valle development on the land surrounding the old ranch. As part of the development, the historic site is to be restored and open to the public.
The historical society signed an agreement in 1999 with Montalvo to eventually take over the Carey property and to maintain and operate the site using money from a homeowners association. The property was never transferred, and, in recent weeks, Montalvo canceled the agreement.
Carl Kanowsky, the historical society's lawyer, called Tuesday's meeting productive and said the county is seeking answers to the questions his clients raised.
"We want to make sure the site is restored and preserved and that the historical society has a role in that," Kanowsky said. "We hope the developer joins us in this effort. We hope this is the first step in getting the issue resolved."
The developer's attorney, William Delvac, was unavailable for comment.