Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

L.A. County Sheriff's Substation No. 6
Newhall, California

Formed in 1850, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department took on the job of policing unincorporated county territories in 1913, when Los Angeles became a chartered county. Prior to that time, remote county regions like Newhall and Saugus were patrolled by constables, who were directly elected by local voters.

In July of 1926, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted to create several Sheriff's substations around the county, because suspects were often long gone by the time deputies arrived on horseback from downtown Los Angeles. One substation would oversee the vast northwestern region from Chatsworth to the Kern County Line, and it would be based in Newhall.

Substation No. 6 was set up at Sixth and Spruce Street (later called San Fernando Road) in a structure that had been a private residence of local hotelier Albert Swall. A home at Sixth Street and Railroad Avenue was used temporarily while the Swall home was being readied.

Deputy J.E.B. Stewart came up from L.A. to open the new substation on August 26, 1926. Editor A.B. "Dad" Thatcher wrote in the Newhall Signal:

The station will be open all the time with two men on duty. The force includes deputies Howard, Fox, Ernst, Stockwell, Knus, Nester and Aikens. The new officers are a jolly bunch of fellows, and very pleasant to meet -- unless you happen to be transacting your business with them from the wrong end of a sawed-off shotgun.

Deputy Stewart became Captain Stewart, and commanded the Newhall Station. Jail cells were added in 1928. Deputies handled all criminal matters, while the constables, now ex-officio deputies, served subpoenas and acted as Justice Court bailiffs. The Newhall Station served the law enforcement needs of the Soledad Township and Newhall area for over four decades.

The growth of the Santa Clarita Valley in the late 1960s and early 1970s necessitated a move to roomier quarters. In 1972, the Sheriffs moved to the brand-new County Civic Center in Valencia and gave up their lease on the old Swall home, which by this time was owned by the Chitwoods -- a family that had operated a furniture store next door. It was good timing for The Signal newspaper, which had suffered a fire in its production office in 1969. When the Sheriffs moved out the Signal moved in and produced the paper there until 1986, when it too needed more breathing space and moved to Creekside Road in Valencia. Photograph shows the Newhall Station decorated for a Fourth of July celebration in the 1950s. Identification based on information compiled by Estelle Foley.


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