Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Community Cleanup Day

Newhall, California

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Newhall residents young and old turn out for a community cleanup day in 1921 (exact date unknown), sponsored by the Newhall Improvement Association.

The view is to the north up Spruce Street (which was renamed San Fernando Road, which was renamed Main Street in this section). The building at right with the chimney is the second Southern Hotel, which stood directly at the southeast corner of Spruce and Market streets. (Here is a view of the hotel from the opposite direction, a decade earlier.)

Photo courtesy of lifelong Newhall resident Gladys (Thibaudeau) Laney (1910-2014), who is likely in the group pictured here. 5x7 print mounted on pressed-paper board; Laney has written "1921" on the back of the board.

According to unpublished notes by historian and 1921 Newhall eyewitness A.B. Perkins:

In 1921* the Newhall Improvement Association formed. It accomplished two things. The only trees hereabout bordered Spruce Street. The Association got all the trees cut down, leaving a repulsive vista of shack fronts for tourists to view. They also published Newhall's first Brochure. They then died of malnutrition. The Brochure's photography was by R.C. Gibson, the text by A.B. Perkins. (Notes in Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society collection.)

* In the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society collection is a hand-written notebook of the minutes of the Newhall Improvement Association — in 1913. The secretary at that time was Armantha Thibaudeau. The Newhall Signal, which started in 1919, reported on the activities of the association in 1920. Also, in early 1921, The Signal reported on the Soledad, Mint & Bouquet Improve­ment Association (S.M.&B.), which met in Honby.

In 1923, the Newhall Improvement Association morphed into the Newhall Chamber of Commerce. Gladys Laney's mother, Armantha Thibaudeau, was its recording secretary; her father, A.G. "Bert" Thibaudeau, was the local insurance agent.

The fledgling chamber sponsored a cleanup day on September 22, 1923, that probably looked much like this, with many of the same participants.

The chamber was still trying to get the street trees removed in 1923 because they blocked the view of the business signs as motorists whizzed by at the posted speed limit of 15 mph — which actor Tom Mix learned about the hard way. The chamber also wanted to acquire more fire extinguishers, since structure fires were all too common; and it petitioned the county to pave Spruce Street. In the latter, the chamber were unsuccessful; the state came along and did it anyway in 1926, Spruce Street being a section of State Highway 126 then.

The chamber's biggest goal was to attact new residents to the little town.

Research assistance from Tricia Lemon Putnam.

GL2101: 9600 dpi jpeg from original photograph courtesy of Gladys Laney.
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