This is part of the research into the history of the Newhall Ranch House that was performed by Jerry Reynolds, curator of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, following the society's
acquisition of the structure from The Newhall Land and Farming Co. in August 1990.
Reynolds' report, summarizing his interview with former occupant Dean Gallion, provides some insight into alterations that were made to the structure during the 20th Century
and a few other things including the possible origin of the "blue lady" ghost legend. The original report appears above; we've corrected some of the spelling in the transcript below,
notably the spelling of Gallion's name.
June 21, 1991
I had a chat with Dean Gallion about the Newhall Ranch House yesterday (6/20/91), who said that his earliest recollection of the place was in the early 1930s when it was occupied by 4 or 5 cowboys and their families. He thought that there were some 4 entrances, including an outside staircase that went up to a second-floor balcony that faced front.
Henry G. Poole became cattle foreman about 1935 or '36, moving his wife, Charlotte, and family into the building. Some alterations were made at that time. Dean recalls 4 bedrooms upstairs — a bedroom converted into a kitchen downstairs back.
In those days, the area around the Ranch House was a gigantic feed lot with anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 head of cattle being fed around the structure. Grain was grown on the ranch, brought to several barns (located at the present Magic Mountain parking lot about where Colossus is now). As a youngster, Gallion worked for Poole, shoveling milo [grain sorghum], sorghum and corn out of the barns into long troughs that snaked their way across the feed lot. Later they got a sort of screw device that pushed it along the feed troughs. Water flowed from a couple of tanks on the hill behind the house into metal canals. At Castaic Junction were corrals and loading ramps, all of wood. Trains pulled into the junction (where the Blue Moon restaurant is now), hundreds of head of cattle being loaded into box cars. It was really a booming business during World War II when government contracts were filled — meat and grain needed to feed the GIs.
Occasionally a calf was born on the lots which Mr. Poole would give to Gallion, as its mother would soon be shipping out and the Farming Co. [Newhall Land] had no way of taking care of it. Dean would raise it at home (on Walnut St. in Newhall), then sell it.
The company also raised turkeys, giving Dean the injured ones. An injured turkey will be attacked, killed and eaten by the healthy ones. Gallion would get $5 for a turkey in the 1940s.
Numerous deer would come down out of the hills to feed on the elaborate system of troughs right next to the cattle. Sometimes Poole and Gallion would go on a deer hunt, adding venison to the larder.
"The San Jose" was an area southwest of the ranch house where Mr. (Atholl) McBean kept his race horses. It was a beautiful valley with a lake fed by all-year springs. Local kids used to sneak in to go fishing or swimming.
Mr. Poole retired about 1956, Dean's brother, J.D. Gallion, becoming cattle foreman and moving his family into the Ranch House. J.D. made some alterations, also. He tore out three of the upstairs bedrooms, creating a larger single room, which he paneled, and put in a pool table. This was J.D.'s den, meeting room and place to swap yarns with his buddies.
Dean Gallion knows of no ghosts in the place and never heard his brother, J.D., relate anything unusual, nor did the former occupant, Henry Poole. However, Dean's son, Steve, says that he felt "spooked" in the place several times, especially at night when he was babysitting J.D.'s children. There was some talk of a "blue lady" floating around the place by others, which may have been sparked by J.D.'s remarkable storytelling abilities.
J.D. Gallion also pulled a lot of bricks out of the basement to make a patio and sort of above-ground retaining wall for his kids. The plastic pool ruptured one night, washing everything down to the Santa Clara River. Dean believes that there was once a full basement under the house.
Right after the February 1971 earthquake, Newhall Land did extensive reinforcement of the Ranch House, even though the cattle business was declining and Magic Mountain was being built. Only a year later, J.D. was offered a position of running Newhall Land's Travel Village, the company offering a profit-sharing deal. J.D. and his wife worked 12 to 18 hours a day on that campground with hardly any profit realized. He bailed out to Santa Paula, opening the Mutah Store.
Dean Gallion owns the Gallion's Castaic Corner in Castaic.
/s/ Jerry Reynolds
HS9101: Download individual pages and pdf here