Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Cast of 'Ramona' (1910) at Mountain View Hotel
Piru, California

Click image to enlarge

April 1 or 2, 1910 — Actors Mary Pickford (Ramona, center), Henry B. Walthall (Alessandro) and Kate Bruce (Mother) in front of Piru's Mountain View Hotel.

As of 2000, the registry at the Piru Hotel still shows that on the first two days of April, Mary Pickford was in town starring in D.W. Griffith's one-reel screen adaptation of Helen Hunt Jackson's classic 1884 romantic novel, "Ramona."

Pickford appeared in no fewer than 50 films in 1910, and this one was billed as the Biograph Co.'s "most elaborate and artistic movie yet." Set in the original location that inspired Jackson, the famous director Griffith used the hotel as well as the chapel, adobe and patio at Rancho Camulos as backdrops for this tale that idealized the Mexican-Spanish lifestyle of the early Californios.

Griffith's "Ramona" is the first film known to have been shot in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The white, Victorian-style Mountain View Hotel in Piru was built in the early 1870s during the time of town founder David Caleb Cook. Unlike its contemporary in both date and style — the Acton Hotel — this hotel is still standing.

LW2832: 9600 dpi jpeg from digital photograph of 8x10 copy print in the Rancho Camulos Musuem collection.

c. 1910

Cast of Ramona, April 1910

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