A Brief History of Hart High School (and District)
The Santa Clarita Union High School District was organized January 30, 1945, and the following October the name was changed to William S. Hart Union High School District. The nine original elementary school districts comprising it, with organizational dates, were Newhall (May 10, 1877) which had absorbed Felton (1885) in 1933, Sulphur Springs (1879), Castaic (March 25, 1889) which had unionized with Live Oak (1915) in 1929, Saugus (1908) which had unionized with Honby (1917) in 1940, Mint Canyon (1913) and Bee (1920).
The high school's enrollment draws from the communities of Val Verde, Forrest Park, Castaic, Saugus, Newhall and the contiguous canyon country of Soledad Township.
The district's present name honors the late William S. Hart, first and greatest of Western film stars, resident of Newhall for his last two decades, whose love of community was evidenced by the American Theater which he gave to the local American Legion, by his generous and unadvertised donations to local needs, and by giving his large Newhall estate to the public.
Prior to 1945 children from our side of the hill were forced to use San Fernando High School facilities if they continued in school beyond the elementary grades. To connect with the high school buses, they had to rise before 5 a.m. in the canyon areas, and it would be 5 p.m. before they got home. Buses left the school immediately after classes, which meant that any of our students interested in extracurricular activity must chance hitchhiking home, when, as and if. In 1926 the Newhall PTA, with endorsement from the first district PTA, called these adverse conditions to the attention of the Los Angeles Board of Education and also petitioned the board for improvement. But with no results.
Consequently, more than half our local children eligible for high school simply gave up further education. Families with children of high school age got out, or stayed out, of our area when possible.
It was the major problem and as early as 1928, when the Kiwanis Club was chartered here, it was placed at the top of their active projects. But no action came until 1945.
In 1945 the country's economy was suffering from postwar shortages, and building supplies were unavailable. Therefore, with the cooperation of the Newhall Elementary School, Hart High commenced functioning, with only a Freshman class, at the grammar school, using offices, auditorium, field house and a temporary structure or two. When the next class matriculated, some buildings were available at the present site which has been constantly expanding with increasing enrollment. Finances were never a problem, thanks to our many local oil fields.
Today any thinking local citizen, being asked what our most important asset was, would unhesitatingly answer, "William S. Hart Union High School," which supplies cultural sources to an area once sadly devoid of such.
Download individual pages here
. Online only; courtesy of Lauren Parker.