Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Sanchez & Soledad Mining Co.
Soledad City (Ravenna)

Certificate for 100 shares in the Sanchez and Soledad Gold and Silver Mining Co., held by W.W. Sprague, dated Sept. 20, 1883. The company was chartered in the Mojave Mining District, headquartered in San Bernardino County, although it likely was one of several small mining concerns that hunted various metals in an number of locales known as "Soledad City" — the name used for small mining camps that moved from place to place in the 1860s in the area generally between Canyon Country and Acton. Historian Jerry Reynolds writes:

A conglomeration of log cabins and tents moved up and down the canyon with each new strike. Called "Soledad City" wherever it was plunked down, it provided such basic needs as faro tables, rye whiskey, and ladies of the evening. A portable grocery was operated by James O'Reilly, a flaming-haired Irishman of medium build, pug nose, and happy-go-lucky air about him.

It wasn't long before a post office was needed, and as one might expect, the U.S. Postal Service rejected the name "Soledad City" out of fear that it would be confused with the city of Soledad in Monterey County. O'Reilly suggested the name "Ravenna," in honor of the local merchant and saloon keeper, Manuel Ravenna. The name became official on June 12, 1868.

Ravenna became a shipping point from which gold, silver, copper and other minerals were hauled off to the port at San Pedro. Freight wagons drawn by oxen or mules were used at first; they gave way to rail cars after the first steam locomotives chugged through the canyon in 1876. While strip mining is still a big industry in the Soledad and in parts of the neighboring Mojave Desert, the little mining camp of Ravenna — and its rather sizable train station — are nothing more than faded memories.

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