Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Hart and the 10 Millionth Ford Model T
Newhall, California

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In a Ford Motor Co. publicity photo, William S. Hart inspects the 10 millionth Model T to roll off the line in Highland Park (then on the outskirts of Detroit) in June 1924. The car went on a cross-country tour from New York to California via the Lincoln Highway.

Note the ranch house behind the gate to Hart's Horseshoe Ranch in Newhall, which Hart purchased in 1921. The 1927 Hart Mansion doesn't yet exist.

Originally priced at $850 when the first 1909 Model T Touring Car was produced Oct. 1, 1908, prices for the 1924 "Tin Lizzie" hit an all-time low of $290 on Dec. 2 of that year ($375 with factory starter and demountable rims), thanks to improved assembly line production methods and simplifications to the car. When production ceased in May 1927, slightly more than 15 million Model Ts had hit the (mostly unpaved) streets of the world. On Dec. 2, 1927, Henry Ford's "universal car" would be replaced with the Model A.

A promotional brochure from the Ford Motor Co. reads:

The ten-millionth Ford Car left the Highland Park factories of The Ford Motor Company on June 4th, 1924. This is an industrial achievement of profound significance. It vividly portrays the magnitude of The Ford Motor Company's contribution to modern civlization.

It symbolizes the universal acceptance of a worthy product, rightly made, honestly sold, filling a basic human need, and so economically manufactured that it is within the means of the millions.

It is a triumph of useful service as well as of volume production. It is truly measured by its part in increasing man's productiveness, prosperity and happiness.

A wire report (or possibly a press release) reads:

Detroit, Mich., June 14 [1924] — (Special) A new and outstanding achievement in the automobile industry of America was attained here recently when the ten-millionth Model "T" Ford car left the final assembly in the Highland Park plant of the Ford Motor company.

The motor, bearing the number 10,000,000 was completed in the morning, and reached the car assembly line that afternoon, and was assembled into a touring car, the most popular of all Ford body types.

In celebration of having attained a 10,000,000 production record, the company announces that Ford car No. 10,000,000 will make a coast to coast trip as signifying the nationwide popularity of the Ford car and its appeal to every class of driver.

The car will be shipped to New York within a day or two and leaving there will be driven across the country to San Francisco. The Lincoln Highway has been selected as the official route of travel and stops will be made at most all the towns along the line. Frank Kulick, who years ago attained fame and broke many records as the pilot of Ford racing cars, will be at the wheel of the ten-millionth Ford, during the trans-continental trip.

Model "T" Ford cars are today in use in every country on earth and the unusual success which has attended the Ford Motor company dates principally from 1908, when the Model "T" was developed and introduced on the market.

The company was among the first to adapt the unit power plant and the left-hand control, and it was the originator of such fundamental principles as the removable cylinder head, three-point motor suspension and torque tube drive, all incorporated in the Model "T" and which have since been generally adopted in the automotive industry. The correctness of these basic features has been strikingly proven by the fact that in the entire ten-million production, while improvements have constantly been made, there has never been any deviation from the original principals [sic] of the Model "T."

Previous to the time that the Model "T" was introduced the company had built and sold approximately 25,000 Ford cars of other models. The first Model "T" was completed Oct. 1, 1908, and it was seven years later, Dec. 10, 1915, when Motor 1,000,000 was produced. Since then under an ever increasing demand, production has steadily grown until a new output record was established in turning out the last million cars in 132 working days.

William S. Hart
Biography by Friends of Hart Park

When William S. Hart began his film career in 1914, he initiated a fresh approach to Westerns that continues to influence the genre today. Although Western motion pictures were already very popular, for the most part they were exercises in mediocrity, filled with "impossibilities or libels on the West," according to Hart in his 1929 autobiography, My Life East and West. But in the course of appearing in or producing more than 60 movies over an eleven-year span, William S. Hart created a film style that revealed a more authentic vision of the Old West. At the same time, he made a major contribution to film history by developing and embodying the prototype of the frontier hero. Fame, artistic recognition, and wealth were Hart's rewards.

A Childhood in the West

William Surrey Hart was born in Newburgh, New York, probably in 1864. During his boyhood, his family traveled extensively in the Midwest as his father searched unsuccessfully for the ideal site to build a gristmill and make a permanent home for his family. Young Bill was raised in a pioneer atmosphere; he had contact with Indians, ranchers, and cowboys and learned Indian sign language and a little of the Sioux language from his playmates. He gained a respect for Indians and their cultures that he never lost.

Hart's First Career

The Hart family returned to New York while Bill was in his early teens, and it was there that he developed an interest in the stage. By 1900 he had appeared in productions from New York to San Francisco to Montreal. He received critical acclaim for his own production of The Man in the Iron Mask and his creation of the role of Messala in Ben Hur.

Hart's first Western role was also in a stage production: in 1905, he was cast as "Cash" Hawkins in The Squaw Man. His subsequent stage roles were primarily Western and included the lead in an enormously successful production of The Virginian.

Two Gun Bill

While touring with the company of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine in 1914, Hart decided to move to California to make Western films. In his autobiography, he wrote, "I was an actor and I know the West. ... I had to bend every endeavor to get a chance to make Western motion pictures." Hart obtained parts in several Westerns and collaborated in writing screenplays, and his film career was launched.

As a filmmaker, Hart drew on his childhood experiences, insisting on using realistic costumes, locales, and situation. The public loved "Two Gun Bill" and his movies, and he obliged the fans with one success after another. He became one of Hollywood's top actors and most successful directors.

La Loma del los Vientos

Some of Hart's Westerns were shot on and around a ranch in Newhall, California. In 1921[1] he purchased the property from Babcock Smith. After completing Tumbleweeds (1925), his final film and one of his finest, Hart commissioned Los Angeles architect Arthur Kelly to design a magnifient Spanish colonial-style mansion, which Hart christened La Loma de los Vientos (Hill of the Winds) and occupied in 1927.

Hart filled his home with treasure reflecting his interest in the West, including Navajo textiles, Indian costumes, guns and weapons, and Western paintings and sculptures. In his retirement, he became active in the operation of his ranch and deeply involved in Santa Clarita Valley community affairs.

He wrote more than a dozen novels and short stories as well as his fascinating autobiography, My Life East and West.

Hart's reputation as a Western figure put him in contact with other prominent personalities of the day. Western enthusiasts, such as Will Rogers and Wyatt Earp, and important artists, including Charles M. Russell, C. C. Crisadoro, and James Montgomery Flagg, visited the ranch or corresponded with Hart.

The Hart Legacy

True to the spirit of Western heroes he had portrayed on screen, Hart was humbly grateful to the fans who had supported his film career. "While I was making pictures, the people gave me their nickels, dimes, and quarters. When I am gone, I want them to have my home." When he died in 1946, he left the bulk of his estate to the County of Los Angeles, stipulating that his house and the ranch property were to be used as a museum and public park.

Today, the Parks and Recreation Department of Los Angeles County operates and maintains William S. Hart Park, which includes hiking and nature trails, a large picnic area, a campground, an exhibit of farm machinery, an assortment of live animals including a herd of bison, and approximately 110 acres set aside as a wilderness area.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angles County is responsible for the interpretation of the historical portion of Hart's bequest, which includes his home and its contents and several other buildings. The Friends of Hart Park and Museum, an active group of local citizens, provides volunteer support services.

La Loma de los Vientos stands today not only as a tribute to William S. Hart but as a valuable and edifying museum. Hart's personal effects and movie paraphernalia are displayed in his home along with Indian artifacts and Western American art that he amassed. These materials form a major resource for understanding the American West as it was perceived in the early part of the century.

1. Note: Original piece from Friends of Hart Park said 1925.

Hart biography ©Friends of Hart Park • Used by permission.

LW2024: 9600 dpi jpeg from printed image
• Stage Career
• Hart Films
• Publicity Photos
• WWI War Bonds
• Hart Park/Museum
• Hart in Retirement
• Personal Life
• Hart in Artwork

Newhall, Calif.

Park & Museum News


Charles M. Russell Portrait 1908


10 Millionth 'T' 1924

Architect Correspondence 1926


Const. 1926-27 x5


Construction 1927


Construction 1927


Flagg Presents Portrait


1930 x2


RPPC ~1930s


Amelia Earhart


Robert Taylor 1941 x2


With Dan White ~1945


Letter from Hart to Flagg 1945


RPPC ~1950s


Park Dedication 1958


Dedication 1958


Entrance ~1958


1959 x3


Bubnash Family Picnic 1959


Visitor at Turret ~1960s


RPPC ~1960s


Aerials 1963


Interiors 1968 x5


Exteriors, Barnyard 1968 x5


Resolution 1986: FOHP Founders


Pole Barn ~1998


Let's Go L.A. Video 2013


In Memoriam: Norman the Steer 2005-2017


Reckless Driving Bench 2017

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