Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Castle Cove

Market Street, Newhall, California

LW3733a: Click image to enlarge | Download archival scan

LW3733b: Click to enlarge.

Two photographs, 4x2¼ inches (image area), probably mid-late 1920s, show an unidentified woman standing next to the monument sign for Castle Cove, a cluster of homes on upper Market Street west of Newhall Avenue. The photographs were cut out of an album by persons unknown prior to their acquisition for the SCVHistory archive.

Little is known about Castle Cove. As for the name, we can't explain it. It was in use by 1925. The Hart Castle, as the nearby mansion was known locally in early days, didn't come along until 1927; so, it wasn't a cove in Hart's shadow. Charles E. Mack built his gingerbread "mini castles" one hill over on 8th Street in 1929-1930.

It's pure speculation, but the name might relate to Elizabeth Grinnell's "Castle in the Air" on Hill Street, which was renamed Wayman Street and is indeed on a low hill. Grinnell (1851-1935) was a renowned author, naturalist and philanthropist from Pasadena and then Sausalito who maintained a ranch in Happy Valley and a winter home on Newhall's Hill Street in the late 1910s and early 1920s. She also invested in downtown Newhall real estate and shared her philanthropic nature locally, endowing, for example, an early version of a Newhall fire department.

She would have been prominent enough for an entrepreneurial spirit to try to capitalize on her "castle." Or maybe Grinnell developed Castle Cove herself. We don't know.

The first reference we find to Castle Cove is in January 1925 when Charles McPeek offered 11 acres of land in Newhall for sale in the Newhall Signal newspaper. (Cited news reports appear below.) The property was "ideal for chickens" and sported an unstated number of "buildings worth half the price asked" — which can be read a couple of different ways. It's unknown whether McPeek was trying to sell the Castle Cove property or some other property, but his home address was Castle Cove, Newhall.

Detail from LW3733a. Click to enlarge.

McPeek continued to live there for a time. It was still his place of residence when his mother-in-law died three years later. She had lived in Los Angeles for 75 years, which calculates to 1853.

Others moved in, too. In July 1925, Roy Smith, a barber shop owner, married Marguerite Daries, a member of a longtime Castaic family. The Signal referred to Roy as a "tonsorial artist" (hairdresser) and as the "Beau Brummel" [sic] of Newhall. (The original Beau Brummell was an English dandy who was considered the fashion leader of the early 1800s.) Following a Mexican honeymoon, Roy and Marguerite were to "make their home in one of the 'Castle Cove' cottages."

A year later, Roy's father, Maitland Smith, who had been living with the newlyweds, "dropped dead at the home of his son, Roy, last Thursday night," as The Signal put it. He was 58.

Detail from LW3733b. Utility towers on hill. Click to enlarge.

It's likely the longest tenured residents of Castle Cove were Ohio trans­plants Barton Ross Bowles and his wife, Cora Bowles. In 1955 they were said to have lived in Castle Cove for 30 years — so, since about 1925.

Bart was a "horticultural authority" who was "associated with citrus pack­ing firms in San Fernando." Cora was active in social circles. She was 75 when she died at Newhall Community Hospital on April 26, 1955.

So distressed by his wife's demise was Bart Bowles that he stopped eating. The rigor mortis set in by the time neighbors found his body in the house 10 days later. He was 74.

Click aerial view to enlarge.

LW3733: 9600 dpi jpegs from original photographs purchased 2020 by Leon Worden.
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