Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> BEALE'S CUT
Beale's Cut Souvenir Postcard
Newhall Pass

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Souvenir postcard imprinted "Fremont's Pass, Near San Fernando, Cal.," actually shows Beale's Cut in the Newhall Pass (north side looking south). It was a common mistake in the early 20th Century to refer to Beale's Cut as Fremont's Pass (or Fremont Pass).

Col. John C. Frémont and his troops came through the area in January 1847, probably over the old Spanish trail (El Camino Viejo), which was about a quarter-mile to the east in Elsmere Canyon. Beale's Cut did not exist in any form until the 1850s, and it took its ultimate form in the 1860s.

Penny postcard, tinted halftone, divided back, printed in Germany, published by Newman Post Card Co. of Los Angeles, which was in existence from 1907 to the 1960s. This postcard (No. A. 500) was mailed March 6, 1911, from Los Angeles, to Mrs. Anna Cole of 382 S. Hill Ave., Pasadena.



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Beale's Cut is the 90-foot-deep, hand-cut gash through the mountain southeast of Sierra Highway and San Fernando Road (later renamed Newhall Avenue) in the Newhall Pass.

It's often been called Fremont Pass, although Frémost actually would have come through the area about a quarter-mile east of Beale's Cut, on the old Spanish trail (El Camino Viejo) in Elsmere Canyon.

General Phineas Banning drove the first stage through the pass in 1854 when it was only 30 feet deep. In 1862, Gen. Edward F. Beale, a veteran of the Mexican-American War, took over a contract from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to improve — i.e., deepen — the cut to improve passage for wagons from the pueblo of Los Angeles north to the Tehachapis. Beale used Chinese immigrants to do the work, completing most of the work in 1863. The Board of Supervisors accepted it as complete on March 5, 1864.

In 1910, the roadway was replaced by the nearby Newhall Tunnel, which gave way to modern-day Sierra Highway in 1938. During the El Niño storms of 1997-98, Beale's Cut caved in. Today it is at about half of its former depth, and the remaining walls form more of a V shape than a U shape. It cannot be restored to its original 1864 condition without artificial support.

Beale's Cut and the adjacent Newhall Refinery site have the same owner.

When the refinery site was proposed for business park development in the early 1990s, Beale's Cut was annexed into the city of Santa Clarita. (It had been unincorporated county.)

The development agreement also called for Beale's Cut to be deeded to the city as parkland when the rest of the property was developed. However, the development did not come to fruition and the agreement is no longer in effect.

For more information, read Movie Trivia from Beale's Cut.


LW3582: 9600 dpi jpeg from original postcard purchased 2019 by Leon Worden.
BEALE'S CUT

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J.J. Lopez Story

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1890-1910

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South View
ca. 1900/1910

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Postcard 1911

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FILM: Broken Ways 1913

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Man Walking 1910s/20s

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FILM: The Devil Horse 1932

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Toll House 1938

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"Stagecoach" Scene 1939

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Landmark Effort 1940

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"Cowboy Serenade" 1942, Not Beale's Cut

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Hiking Guide 1964

• MORE BEALE'S CUT PHOTOS


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