Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Newhall Pioneers Homecoming, 7-4-1932
Newhall, California


Click image to enlarge

Newhall Pioneers Homecoming Celebration, July 4, 1932. Left side.

Popularly believed to be the year Newhall's more-or-less annual Fourth of July Parades started, 1932's Independence Day festivities included a "homecoming" or "old timers' celebration" in the big park next to Newhall School on Walnut Street.

The day included a sitting for a long, narrow photograph shot by the prominent photography studio, Thompson of Santa Monica. The photographs had a sad tendency to stay in their mailing tubes for decades — as this one did before this digital image was created. It couldn't easily be straightened. (Why it was mailed in 1954, we don't know.) Part of the image is missing, but not much, as seen from the word "celebration" and the guitar immediately above it.

Click here to see the left side and here to see the right side.

This image comes to us by way of Rosie Luce of Porterville, Calif., from the personal effects of her mother, Irene Ruiz McKibben (1898-1995). Irene was the stepdaughter of Newhall publican Nick Rivera.

The hand-written inscription on the back of this photograph reads as follows:

Lady standing in front of tree: My grandma, Mary Rivera.

2nd row 4th lady left to R: Opal Mayhue Houghton.

3rd lady on the R from Mary Rivera is Lily Mayhue.

Opal and Lily (alternate spelling: Lillie) were daughters to William and Pallie Mayhue. William worked in the Rice Canyon oil fields and Pallie ran the oilmen's boarding house. William later farmed in present-day Valencia and in 1906, he bought Jim Gulley's general store on Railroad Avenue. The tenant operator of the store was Albert Swall. William Mayhue raised the rent. Swall wouldn't have it. He moved his operation to Spruce Street where he built a brick hotel. Most of the other Railroad Avenue merchants followed Swall's lead. And that's why Newhall's main street is where it is today instead of Railroad Avenue, where it used to be. All because William Mayhue raised the rent on Albert Swall.

Mayhue sold the property in 1919 to his new son-in-law, Opal's husband Lloyd Houghton, who turned it into the Hap-A-Lan dance hall. (A decade later it was used as a morgue for St. Francis Dam victims and subsequently razed.) Houghton got more than the property out of his relationship with Mayhue; he married William's daughter Opal.

The Mayhues hailed from the Kentucky-Tennessee border and were close family friends of the outspoken prohibitionist and Newhall area landowner Henry Clay Needham. They probably followed Needham west; in any case they named their daughter Lily after Needham's wife.

H.C. Needham is sitting in the front row of this photograph (full image), farthest to the right.


RL3201a: 9600 dpi jpeg from digital image | Online image only | Archival scan on file
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