Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
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Landslides Occur During Grading
American Beauty Classics, Via Princessa Area


American Beauty Classics. Click to enlarge.

March 28, 1987 — Photos above show a landslide that occurred during grading of the American Beauty Classics development in the Via Princessa area, between Sierra Highway and the Santa Clara River. (The river flows primarily underground; water travels through the sandy alluvium just below the earth's surface.) The landslide threatened nearby mobile homes.

The Sizzler restaurant shown in the photos was located at 27117 Sierra Highway, just east/north of Via Princessa. It was being remodeled; it reopened in late June with a bigger salad bar, new skylights and additional seating.

Then in August, a hillside within the American Beauty Classics development collapsed during grading and had to be bulldozed (below).

Roughly 32 years later, in February 2019, a landslide affected homes in the same area following a significant downpour of rain.

Much like the August 1987 event, a hillside collapsed during grading for homes adjacent to Golden Valley High School in the late 1990s. The greater Golden Valley area between the 14 Freeway and the Santa Clara River has long been known colloquially as the "Slippery Hills."

Photos by Gary Thornhill/The Signal.



"South" of Soledad Canyon Road was intended. Click image to enlarge.


Gary Thornhill About the photographer: Photojournalist Gary Thornhill chronicled the history of the Santa Clarita Valley as it unfolded in the 1970s, '80s and '90s. From car races in Saugus to fatal car wrecks in Valencia; from topless beauty contests in Canyon Country to fires and floods in the various canyons; from city formation in 1987 to the Northridge earthquake in 1994 — Thornhill's photographs were published in The Los Angeles Times, The Newhall Signal, The Santa Clarita Valley Citizen newspaper, California Highway Patrolman magazine and elsewhere. He penned the occasional breaking news story for Signal and Citizen editors Scott and Ruth Newhall under the pseudonym of Victor Valencia, and he was the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station's very first volunteer — and only the second in the entire LASD. Thornhill retained the rights to the images he created; in 2012, he donated his SCV photographs to two nonprofit organizations — SCVTV and the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society — so that his work might continue to educate and inform the public.


GT8701: Download archival scans here. 35mm BW negatives from Signal archive.
VIA PRINCESSA

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Geology (Cooksey 1934)

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Geology (MacNeill 1947)

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Tip's Sierra Highway Menu 1963

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Slippery Princess Homes: Anatomy of a Disaster 1968/69

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Beale's Cut Restaurant 1970s

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CHiPs 1979

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American Beauty Classics Construction 1986

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American Beauty Landslides 1987

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Cal Islands 1990s

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Trestles Landslide 2019

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