Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
The Lyons Stump
Placerita Canyon Nature Center

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A section of the trunk of the famous Lyons Oak (d. 1974) is preseved along the paved walkway to the county-maintained Placerita Canyon Nature Center, on the grounds of Placerita Canyon State Park.

In 1967, Lyons Avenue, previously known as the Pico road (and as 10th Street in downtown Newhall), was widened to four lanes — two in each direction — between the new Interstate 5 freeway and Valley Street/Orchard Village Road as mitigation for the first residential development in the new town of Valencia. The first homes were sold that same year.

In the fall of 1974, with an eye toward connecting Lyons Avenue with Placerita Canyon Road to create a direct connector between I-5 and the new 14 Freeway, the county widened Lyons to four lanes between Orchard Village and San Fernando Road (now called Railroad Avenue and Main Street in downtown Newhall). One casualty was the Bamboo Cafe at 10th and Spruce streets. Another was a stately oak tree, now considered a heritage oak tree, that stood in the way of the road widening project near Arcadia Street.

Item in 1975 Boys' Club auction catalog. Click photo to enlarge; click here to see the rest of the catalog.

Locals physically harnessed themselves to the tree in an effort to save it — to no avail.

Local contractor Bill Small, who felled the tree for the county and had the rights to its remains, told The Signal newspaper (Nov. 6, 1974) that he gave some of the wood to the nearby OLPH Catholic Church in Newhall and some to "a man who lives in a remote part of Santa Clarita Valley and needed firewood."

A-1 Tree Service of Newhall, which used a crane to haul away the biggest part of the trunk, gave a 10-inch-thick slab to The Signal, at its request; the paper intended to erect a monument to the tree near its original location.

The SCV Boys and Girls Club (then called the Boys' Club of Newhall and Saugus — girls were added a bit later) received a 4-foot-diameter section that weighed more than a ton. Club director Bob Ross said it would be cut up to make about eight tables with wrought-iron legs. They were to be sold as they were completed. One such section, 8 inches thick and 32 inches in diameter, became a do-it-yourself job as Item No. 705 in the 1975 Boys' Club Benefit Auction. (It happened to be the last boys-only club auction; starting in 1976 it was the Boys and Girls Club Benefit Auction — which offered another slice of the tree as Item No. 602. Ditto 1977, Item No. 420. And 1978, Item No. 719.)

Just how a section ended up at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center, we're not sure. It's thicker than the 8-inch sections sold by the Boys and Girls Club or the 10-inch-thick slab that went to The Signal.

The extension of Lyons Avenue to Placerita Canyon Road was never made.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

2018: Jim Owens, Dan Kott and Denny Truger of the Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates keep the story of the Lyons Oak alive — and the Lyons Stump polished and stained, as envisioned in 1974 — along the paved walkway at the Nature Center. Photo: PCNCA.

LW3281: 9600 dpi jpeg from digital images by Leon Worden, 5/12/2018, except as indicated.
Proposed Since 1965




Lyons Oak/Stump


Draft EIR 8-16-2017
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