Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Newhall Auto Tunnel, South Portal

Newhall, California

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Click image to enlarge | Download archival scan

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Back of postcard above. Click to enlarge | Download archival scan.

Above: Newhall Auto Tunnel, souvenir penny postcard, Western Publishing & Novelty Co. of Los Angeles, probably 1930s from an earlier colorized photograph that had been published previously (see below). Western Publishing was active from 1932 to the 1970s.

The image shows the south portal. The automobiles are heading toward the San Fernando Valley in the afternoon.

As the age of the automobile descended on the Newhall Pass, Beale's Cut proved to be too difficult a climb for this new mode of transportation. Therefore in 1910, the 435-foot-long Newhall Auto Tunnel was constructed a quarter-mile to the northwest of Beale's Cut. Just 17½ feet in width, the tunnel was quite narrow, making it difficult for two-way traffic to pass through.

By 1938, with increasing auto and truck traffic, the California Division of Highways determined it needed to be replaced. In July of that year, the mountain above the tunnel was blasted away, and a four-lane road was built above the level of the old tunnel. It was first known as Highway 6, then Highway 14, and finally as the present-day Sierra Highway. The cutout of the mountain where the tunnel was located can still be seen today on Sierra Highway at the crest of the Newhall Pass.

Below: An different issue of the same photograph, colorized differently, published as a postcard, probably in the 1920s.


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LW2020b: (Top) 9600 dpi jpeg from original postcard purchased 2019 by Leon Worden. Photo file. Bottom: Online only.
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