June 20, 1920 — Walter Russell Cook and Mattie Pearl Walk were married on this date on Pearl's parents' oak-studded land in the Newhall Pass. Her parents, Albert Brown Walk (1857-1937) and Rebecca Edwina Walk (1867-1940), had purchased a 15-acre plot for $300 in the early 1900s. It would become the multigenerational home of the Walk family, who operated a service station on the San Fernando Valley side of the hill. The building still stands.
Walter and Pearl settled on their own plot that Walter had acquired the previous January at the bend in San Fernando Road south of the town of Newhall (see aerial view below), where the couple established the Ridge View Dairy. Today, it's the intersection of Sierra Highway and Newhall Avenue.
The Los Angeles Times gave the wedding the full treatment in its edition of July 4, 1920:
Miss Pearl Walk and Mr. Walter Russell Cook were married June 20 at a wedding witnessed by several hundred. The ceremony was performed at the home of the bride' parents, r. and Mrs. A.B. Walk of Fremont Pass, San Fernando. The bride is a teacher in the Long Beach city schools. The ceremony took place under the big oaks. Wildflowers adorned the place, and the couple stood under a canopy of ferns and pink roses. The bride wore a gown of white georgette and carried white roses. Her long veil was arranged with lilies of the valley and orange blossoms. She wore a handsome string of pearls. Miss Helen Chase of Long Beach was maid of honor and work pink organdie and carried a bouquet of Cecile Brunner roses. Misses Mariana Monkhouse, Therene Weckel, Irene Wonder, Lucy Youngman, Mattie Blankenship and Linda Nay were bridesmaids and wore white organdies with tulle hats of different pastel shades. Earida Pierce and Adelaide Holbrook were flower girls, and Johnny Fick was ring bearer. Mr. Walk gave his daughter in marriage. Rev. J. Whiting of San Fernando presided. Mr. Melvin Campbell was best man, and the ushers were Arthur and Jennings Buchanan, Arthur Blankenship, Kenneth Gretsinger, Lester Baugh and Vernon Walk. After the ceremony, a dinner was served under the big oaks in an adjoining grove. The couple left for a motor trip to Big Bear and will later be at home at their mountain ranch near San Fernando.
Note that the Newhall Pass was called Fremont (or Fremont's) Pass at the time, even though the pass was impassible in 1847 when John C. Fremont passed into the area with his troops, a quarter-mile to the east. At times it was also known as the San Fernando Pass and, in the 1850s, as the New Pass — because it was new in the 1850s.
Among the "several hundred" guests — The Newhall Signal estimated 150 — was Pearl's brother George Vernon "Bob" Walk, grandfather of 1980s MLB pitcher Bob Walk (Hart Class of 1975) and of our contributor, Nancy Walk Stump (Hart Class of 1979).
Walter R. and Pearl Cook operated the Ridge View Dairy (aka Ridgeview Dairy) from the 1920s to the 1940s on their property at the corner of Highway 6 (Sierra Highway) and San Fernando Road (now Newhall Avenue).
Born November 26, 1896, in Riverside, Walter Russell Cook came to Newhall in January 1920 and purchased the property that came to be known as the Cook Ranch. Six months later, he married Mattie Pearl Walk, a schoolteacher and daughter of Albert B. Walk, who had settled in the Newhall Pass. (Pearl's brother George was grandfather to MLB pitcher and 1975 Hart grad Bob Walk.)
The Cooks' property was notorious. Known to locals simply as "Cook corner" or "Cook curve" in the 1920s, no further identification necessary, it was the site of many serious traffic accidents when motorists heading north out of the Newhall Auto Tunnel failed to negotiate the curve — remnants of which can be seen today behind the gas station at the southwest corner of Newhall and Sierra. The road department made repeated fixes until the problem was largely resolved in 1938 with the removal of the tunnel and improvements to Sierra Highway.
Walter Cook served as president of the Newhall-Saugus Kiwanis Club, one of the major local philanthropic organizations of its day, from its founding in 1928 until 1935. Cook had already been serving as Scoutmaster of Newhall Boy Scout Troop 2, which would be sponsored by the Kiwanis.
A World War I veteran, Walter was a member of American Legion Post 507 and an active Mason, helping to bring about the 1932 county courthouse that still stands on the north side of Market Street between today's Main Street and Railroad Avenue (although it's no longer a courthouse).
The first local advertisements for Ridge View Dairy appear in The Newhall Signal in 1927. In 1930, the Cooks expanded their operation with the takeover of A.S. Adams' Golden Age Dairy. In 1932, there were nine local dairies in the area, and Ridge View was reportedly the only one that wasn't sending milk to Los Angeles for sale — the implication being that it was focused on a local clientele.
In 1942, shortly after the U.S. entry into World War II, the Cooks placed numerous advertisements in the local paper with proclamations such as this: "Blackout or not, Ridgeview milk deliveries are sure." But the days of Ridge View Dairy were numbered. By the time Bud Lutge moved his big Burbank Creamery operation to Placerita Canyon and opened the Newhall Dairy Farms on Highway 99 (now Interstate 5) at war's end, Ridge View had faded into history.
Walter Cook was just 57 when he suffered a fatal stroke in a Sunday school room at Newhall's First Presbyterian Church on May 9, 1954. He was still serving on the Wm. S. Hart High School Board, having been president of that body when the school auditorium opened in 1952.
There was one name on the ballot to succeed Cook in the regularly scheduled election two weeks after his death: that of Saugus rancher Julio Lombardi. The widow Pearl Cook wasn't running, but voters wrote her in anyway, especially in the Newhall and Val Verde precincts. Lombardi carried the day by a vote of 302-224. It was reportedly a heavy turnout.
1. The Newhall Signal, May 13, 1954.
2. Ibid., July 2, 1920.
4. See for example The Newhall Signal, July 29, 1926.
5. Ibid., May 13, 1954.
6. Ibid., March 18, 1926.
7. Ibid., May 13, 1954.
8. See ibid., October 6, 1927.
9. Ibid., July 3, 1930.
10. Ibid., April 14, 1932.
11. Ibid., March 27, 1942.
12. Ibid., May 13, 1954.
14. The Newhall Signal, May 27, 1954.
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