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"Newhall Story 1965"
Film by Jack T. Robson


From former Newhall resident Jack T. Robson comes his self-titled "Newhall Story 1965," an 8mm, 15-minute (silent) time trip that finds the Santa Clarita Valley at the cusp of revolutionary change with some of the trappings that would define the valley for the next 50 years — manicured golf courses, a nascent Castaic Lake, and tract homes, tract homes, tract homes.

As the sun rises over the hills, we see 1960s San Fernando Road (now Main Street) at Christmastime, followed by the icons of the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as the Placerita gold discovery site (the presumed actual discovery site, not the tree), Pico No. 4 (still an active oil well), and the Pioneer Oil Refinery (with intact smokestacks and piping). From there we see the industrial and commercial powerhouses of the 1950s — Keysor-Century Records, Thatcher Glass, the Pacific Telephone exchange — and we're given a hint of what's to come with a brand-new "Big V" golf course cut out of the dirt and sagebrush and the Castaic Lake reservoir in its very first stages of development. Then it's off to a cavalcade of bulldozers grading hillsides for new housing tracts — Friendly Valley and the first set of Princess Homes in Newhall (before Canyon Country came anywhere near it); and the American Beauty, North Oaks and other tracts in Soledad Canyon. As the sun sets in the west, the winds of change are coloring the sky.

Jack T. Robson was born August 3, 1928, just months after the St. Francis Dam broke. He came to Newhall as a child in the early 1940s and remained until 1983 when he moved to the Kern River Valley community of Bodfish, just below Lake Isabella. He remembered in 2001 that when he came to Newhall, "Hart High wasn't there yet, so (I) went to San Fernando High" (Class of 1947). "I worked for the telephone company on Walnut Street." The Walnut Street building, now known as the Pardee House, was moved to Heritage Junction in 1992. Robson also worked at the telephone company building that replaced it at 24705 Newhall Avenue — which would explain why both buildings are featured in the film.

NEWHALL MEMORIES

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Jack T. Robson:
Newhall Story 1965 (Film)

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Judy Stevens:
Bygone Days

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