Esther Duran, newly crowned beauty queen, at home on the Newhall Ranch, circa 1950.
"Home" was a Newhall Land and Farming Co. ranch house on the Saugus-Ventura Road (today's Magic Mountain Parkway), at what is now the southeast corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard, roughly where the Bob's Big Boy restaurant was built in 1972. Nearby was a Newhall Land irrigation pond, from which water was piped to the fields. It was located roughly where the county Civic Center was erected in 1970.
We don't know the nature of the beauty contest, although we do know beauty contests were part of the Fourth of July celebrations in Newhall (and Val Verde) in the 1930s, '40s and '50s.
Esther graduated from San Fernando High School in the late 1940s. She married James Dyer, Hart High Class of 1949 (the first graduating class of the SCV's first high school).
Esther was one of six children of Samuel Duran (b. 2-19-1903, d. 1-19-1970) and the former Emilia Appelzoller. Samuel Duran, originally from New Mexico, came to Newhall in the mid-1930s from a ranch in Oxnard to work for Newhall Land. He stayed until 1962-63 when he went to work at the Kings Ranch in Bouquet Canyon, then to Lancaster to farm alfalfa before returning to his native New Mexico. The Appelzollers, also from New Mexico, lived at Honby (today's Ruether Avenue area in western Canyon Country).
Esther is a maternal great aunt to photo contributor Jennifer Jones (Hart High Class of 1994).