Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

C-46 Cargo Plane Crashes at Saugus Drunk Farm.
Civil Air Patrol Chaplains Parachute to Safety.

Webmaster's note.

The plane went down on the grounds of the 520-acre "Saugus drunk farm," which property the City of Los Angeles had purchased two years earlier (1952) from Bill Bonelli for use as a rehabilitation center for alcoholics. In the late 1980s, long after the facility had been abandoned, the Castaic Lake Water Agency (now SCV Water Agency) purchased some of the property and built the Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant and a new headquarters building on the uppermost 20 acres (27234 Bouquet Canyon Road). Some of the lower portion is the 130-acre Santa Clarita Central Park at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road, which is owned by SCVWA and leased to the city.

Click to enlarge.

Credit Rescue to Heroism, Prayer.

Photo caption: Newhall, (Calif.) — Five chaplains that [sic] were passengers of an ill-fated C-46 Cargo plane that crashed and burned near this community Sept. 20 look at the parachute, one of 20 that were used by crew and passengers to abandon the craft when it lost an engine after taking off from Burbank on a flight to Mather field, Calif. Only minor injuries were suffered by the 17 Civil Air Patrol chaplains and the crew of three. — (United Press Telephoto.)

News story: Newhall, (Calif.) — (U.P.) — Fifteen Civil Air Patrol chaplains and three Air Force crew members credited heroism and prayer today for their successful escape from a burning C46 transport plane that crashed near here.

None of the chaplains were [sic] seriously injured as they landed by parachute in widely scattered sections of Bouquet Canyon's brush covered slopes. A helicopter arrived a little later and guided them to safety.

The plane set off three brush fires when it crashed at the Los Angeles Police Department's rehabilitation center near Newhall.

Several inmates took a 2½ inch hose line to the crash scene in hopes of saving anyone in the flames. One prisoner, Earl W. Sharp, was burned.

Credited as the hero of the drama in the air was Maj. Bertil Von Norman, 41, pastor of the West Hollywood Presbyterian church. He was the last of the chaplains to hit the silk.

News story courtesy of Lauren Parker.



Groundbreaking 1952


Plane Crash 1954


Entrance ~1964


Duckman of Saugus Rehab 1967


Flagpole Moved to Heritage Junction


Bradley's State Prison Plan 1985

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