A question as to whether 1863 is the correct date for the digging of the old Beal cut was raised by T.A. Delano, father of Fred Delano and a member of a pioneer family in Southern California. Mr. Delano this week brought to the Signal office a pen sketch of the old Delano station in San Francisquito canyon, which was built, he says, by his father T.A. Delano Sr., in 1859.
This station was a part of the Butterfield stage line which came through the first Newhall cut. This would indicate that the cut was opened before 1863, since the stages used the cut to come over the mountain.
The Butterfield Stage line, Mr. Delano says, started in Los Angeles and had relay stations for changing horses about every 12 miles. The first relay station was at Cahuenga pass. Coming in order after that were Rice station in the San Fernando Valley, Lyon station just north of the pass, Moore station at the mouth of San Francisquito canyon, established and kept by Charley Moore's father, Chiminez station and then the Delano station, which was an overnight stop. Above Delano's the relay stations were Mud Springs, Liebre and Gorman.
Trees for Drags
Mr. Delano declares that freight wagons were not taken over the mountain by winches, but that there was a wagon road over the ridge a short distance east of the Beal cut. Teams were massed on a single wagon and it was dragged to the crest. Then a tree was cut down and fastened to the wagon for a drag and it was brought down the north side. A ravine at the foot of the road was full of these discarded drag trees, Mr. Delano says.
A part of the old Delano station still stands, near Powerhouse No. 1. It originally consisted of a big, rambling house, barn, shed and corrals. A room in the house housed the telegraph relay station on the first telegraph line which ran between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
An interesting point in connection with this old stage road is that the surveys for a new military road into the Mojave almost exactly follows the line of the old stage route, at least as far as the head of San Francisquito canyon. Mr. Delano is checking with other old residenters in this and the San Fernando valley, and The Signal expects to start a series of articles in November giving an account of Mr. Delano's recollections.
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