Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Harry Carey Ranch & Trading Post
San Francisquito Canyon


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Postcard, probably 1925-28, titled "Harry Carey Trading Post, Saugus, California. View of Ranch." Back reads:

THE RANCH

Situated in the beautiful San Francisquito Canyon 35 miles from Los Angeles, consisting of over 1,200 acres. Here, Navajo Indians live in their native way, and large herds of Navajo and Karakul sheep graze on the slopes of the mountains.

Historian Meta Bunse of JRP Historical Consulting Services in Davis, Calif., prepared environmental documentation on the ranch property in 2001. She provides the following information about this photograph, clockwise starting at center-left:

The wood-frame Carey ranch house, built before 1921, is left of center and includes a wood-frame pump house with water tanks supported on its roof. It was in this pump house that a fire started in September 1932, claiming the ranch house, which would be rebuilt in Spanish adobe style. The original wooden ranch home may not actually have had a red roof as shown here; this postcard, by C.T. American Art Colored of Chicago, is colorized.

Moving to the right in the photo, at top is probably the adobe "upper garage" built around 1925 (thus the estimation of the date of the photo, 1925-28, the latter being the year of the St. Francis Dam disaster.) Continuing to the right, a very small structure with a tall smokestack or chimney is probably the adobe smokehouse. The long building next to it may be an adobe chicken house later converted into stables. In the foreground, the wood-frame stable, known as the "wood stables," was later enlarged. The corral is now gone, as is the wood-frame building in the lower right-hand corner.

Despite the title of the postcard, the Harry Carey Trading Post is not shown in this photo. It probably stood about a quarter-mile southeasterly from the rest of the ranch (out of the picture to the left). Nor is the caretaker's house shown; it stood about a half-mile southeasterly at the front gate on San Francisquito Canyon Road.



Click image to enlarge.


Actor Harry Carey (Sr.) acquired a homestead at the mouth of San Francisquito Canyon in 1916 and established a rancho. The ranch included the Carey's wooden ranch home as well as several outbuildings and the Harry Carey Trading Post, which was a tourist attraction that included billed entertainment from Navajo Indians and other performers, along with a store that sold Western and Indian curios. The ranch was occasionally used for filming. The Careys' son, Harry Carey Jr. (Dobe), who would follow in his father's acting footsteps, was born in the Carey ranch home in 1921.

The trading post washed away in the St. Francis Dam disaster of March 1928 and was not rebuilt. The Indians left about a month earlier. According to Dobe, a shaman saw "a big crack and predicted it would break." The ranch house was situated at a higher elevation and survived the flood, only to burn down in 1932. The Careys replaced it by building a Spanish adobe home, which they sold with the rancho in 1945.

Harry Carey was born Henry DeWitt Carey II on January 16, 1878 on 116th Street in the Bronx section of New York City. His father was a special-sessions judge and president of a sewing machine company. Harry attended a military academy but declined an appointment to West Point, instead trying his hand as a playwright.

According to the Internet Movie Database: In 1911, his friend Henry B. Walthall introduced him to director D.W. Griffith, for whom Carey was to make many films. Carey married twice [correx: 3 times; see here], the [third] time to actress Olive Fuller Golden (aka Olive Carey), who introduced him to future director John Ford. Carey influenced Universal Studios head Carl Laemmle to use Ford as a director, and a partnership was born that lasted until a rift in the friendship in 1921.

During this time, Carey grew into one of the most popular Western stars of the early motion picture, occasionally writing and directing films as well. In the 1930s he moved slowly into character roles and was nominated for an Oscar for one of them, the president of the Senate in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939). He worked once more with Ford, in "The Prisoner of Shark Island" (1936), and appeared once with his son, Harry Carey Jr., in Howard Hawks' "Red River" (1948).

He died Sept. 21, 1947, in Brentwood, after a protracted bout with emphysema and cancer. Ford dedicated his remake "3 Godfathers" (1948) "To Harry Carey — Bright Star Of The Early Western Sky."

Carey would appear in at least 233 films, including short features, between 1909 and 1949.

Further reading: Harry Carey Ranch: Historic American Buildings Survey No. CA-2712.


LW2087: 9600 dpi jpeg from original postcard purchased 2018 by Leon Worden (2nd example?)
HARRY CAREY RANCH

• Harry Carey Ranch Survey 2001

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Survey Photos (86)

SEE ALSO:
• Harry Carey Jr. Photo Collection
• Harry Carey Jr. in the Movies


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Interview: Dobe & Cappy Carey 2005

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Video: Dobe Returns 2009


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Ranch 1920s

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Trading Post 1920s

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Interior 1920s

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Navajo Rug Room

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Trading Post 1910s-20s

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Arrow Sign 1920s

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Tourists 1920s

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Performers 1920s

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Baking Bread 1920s

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Hosting Film Critics 1921

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1st Ranch House

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Carey & Rübel Kids ~1940

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Ranch Buildings
(Multiple)

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Tesoro: Homes Planned 1992

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Dobe (x2) 2005

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Monument Dedication 5-2-2015

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Tesoro Phase A-B-C EIR 2/2018

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