Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures


S.C.V. Historical Society e-Letter
Vol. 1, No. 6 — Dec. 20, 2001.

Thank you for your continued interest in the SCV Historical Society's e-letter, bringing you news from the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. This is a private list.

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With Mary Pickford in the title role, D.W. Griffith brought Helen Hunt Jackson's famous romantic novel "Ramona" to the silver screen in 1910. The SCV Historical Society will kick off the new year with a rare showing of this one-reeler, filmed at the same locations that inspired Jackson — Rancho Camulos and the old Piru Hotel. Mark your calendar for Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2002, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Saugus Train Station in Newhall. The showing is free, but bring your pocketbook because we'll have a contest for some neat prizes — including an antique copy of the Ramona book.
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Mexican cattleman Jose Francisco Lopez discovered gold in Placerita Canyon (Newhall) in 1842, sparking California's first gold rush. But California was still part of Mexico, so it didn't get as much attention in the U.S. as James Marshall's discovery six years later at Sutter's Mill — by which time California had become a U.S. possession.


Joining the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society is easier than ever. No matter where you live, you can start or renew your membership immediately over the Internet. It seems like so little — just $25 for an individual, or $50 for the entire family — but your membership is what makes it possible for the all-volunteer Society to preserve the history that's important to you. All it takes is a click of the mouse and you can use PayPal, Visa, MasterCard or a check to pledge your support, to ensure that the stories and photos we all value will be passed down to generation after generation.
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One of our readers asks: Where did Bouquet Canyon get its name? Is it famous for flowers? (Answer below)


Normally we like to keep this E-Letter brief, but your Society did so much this past year that we must depart from our regular format if we're to give you a year-end report.

The following are some of the things the SCV Historical Society accomplished in 2001 alone:

* Completed restoration of the Ramona Chapel, the fourth of eight structures at Heritage Junction to be fully restored.

* Contracted for restoration of the Mogul 1629 steam locomotive (nearly complete).

* Assisted with Volume 2 of "Santa Clarita Valley: A Pictorial History," covering 1926-1976 (now available online here:

* Provided instructional tours through the Saugus Train Station museum to approximately 3,000 local schoolchildren.

* Participated in the launch of a process to establish a Historic Preservation Ordinance for the City of Santa Clarita.

* Provided office space to the San Fernando Band of Mission Indians, in exchange for help with the completion of the Pardee House Museum, which will showcase SCV history and welcome Heritage Junction visitors.

* Established relationship with the San Fernando Band of Mission Indians to aid its pursuit of a Native American cultural center in the Santa Clarita Valley.

* Grew the Society's online archives ( to nearly 2,000 images and stories of Santa Clarita Valley History.

* Initiated an electronic newsletter to broadcast the Society's activities to e-mail readers throughout the United States and abroad.

* Began preserving the Society's historic photo collection onto CD-ROM.

* Approved site plans for the Harry Carey Historic District at Tesoro del Valle; currently in negotiations over operating agreements, under which the Society is to maintain the Harry Carey ranch home and out-buildings as a museum.

* Installed electrical system, completed HVAC system, added security system, weatherized the future Pardee House Museum with a $10,000 grant from the City of Santa Clarita and other donations.

* Installed weatherproofing and made additional improvements in the Newhall Ranch House with a $10,000 grant from The Newhall Land and Farming Co.

* Submitted grants to complete the Pardee House Museum and Frew Blacksmith Shop reconstruction project (approval due in 2002). Received assistance from the City of Santa Clarita and endorsement from Assemblyman George Runner.

* Participated in the formation of the Ridge Route Preservation Organization.

* Worked with Assemblyman George Runner for the successful passage of legislation to erect a Ridge Route monument in the Santa Clarita Valley.

* Assisted the City of Santa Clarita in a grant application to plan the preservation of the Pioneer Oil Refinery.

* Completed a Strategic Planning process to map out goals.

* Established criteria for a full-time executive director of the Society.

* Recruited new board members, docents and volunteers.

* Preserved numerous artifacts newly received in donation, including Newhall pioneer Henry Clay Needham's pre-1900 grand piano and organ; and 1928 film footage of then-new Baker Ranch Rodeo (Saugus Speedway).

* Held a successful "Friday Night Flickers" event and Christmas Open House.

* Raised funds through participation in the Santa Clarita Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival, Old Town Newhall Street Fair and Hart of the West Powwow.

* Conducted a well-attended presentation and tour of the St. Francis Dam site.

* Established working relationship with producers of a future television documentary on the St. Francis Dam Disaster.

* Provided research assistance for a major college study of the Tataviam Indians.

* Provided input on the City of Santa Clarita's ordinance to protect historic business signs.

* Provided input on Caltrans' plan to modify the Interstate 5 & SR 126 interchange.

* Purchased projection equipment to facilitate presentations on- and off-site.

* Completed instructional video on the preservation of family histories.

* Installed a new sound system inside the Saugus Train Station.

* Participated in the 125th anniversary Golden Spike reenactment at Lang Station.

* Assisted in the creation of a historic SCV photo exhibit and a plaque commemorating Solemint Junction history at the new Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library.

As you can see, 2001 was a busy and productive year for the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. But just wait until 2002!


"Bouquet" Canyon was a misspelling — or a misinterpretation of its "real" name, Buque, which is Spanish for "ship." The area was named by Francisco Chari, a French-born sailor who became a citizen of Mexico in the early 1800s. In 1843 Chari bought acreage in the canyon and named it "Rancho del Buque," or Ship Ranch.

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