Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> PICO CANYON
Pico Canyon Signal (Marker) Tree
"Ripley's Believe It Or Not!" (7-28-1930)

Click image to enlarge | Download archival scan

Believe It — Not. At least, not quite. The artist who depicted the Pico Canyon signal tree, aka marker tree, and called it "An Oak Tree With 4 Trunks" took some creative license.

The tree, located at today's 24940 Pico Canyon Road, Stevenson Ranch, is not a freak of nature, and it doesn't have four trunks. It has one trunk that split in half long ago, perhaps giving the appearance of two trunks — but only from one side. The tops of two upper branches were tied to the ground even longer ago (a few centuries) by local indigenous people as a directional marker, probably pointing the way to the Pico Springs, a source of asphaltum. After centuries of growth, the tied-down treetops would have given the appearance of two more trunks — to someone who didn't understand what it was. Considering the angle, one can speculate that the artist might have seen this photo and misinterpreted it.

Over the years (recent years, around the turn of the 21st Century), one of the two tied-down branches fell away.

When it was built in 2000, the Extended Stay America hotel was required to preserve the marker tree and another nearby heritage oak tree and work around them — which is why the hotel has the has a footprint that accommodates a small oak grove.


MS0113: 9600 dpi jpeg from original photograph, Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society collection. Also catalogued as ms-0016-113b.jpg.
SIGNAL (MARKER) TREE
PICO CANYON

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Sitzman Photo ~1920s

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Ripley's 7/28/1930

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1930

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Sitzman Photo 1930s

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Sitzman 7/4/1930

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RPPC 1936

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~1970s/80s

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Limb Falls 2019

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