Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

The Newhall Signal, 1924.

(All Surviving Issues.)


Best viewed as pdf.

This digital representation of all surviving 1924 issues of Blanche B. Brown's weekly Newhall Signal newspaper (39 of 52 issues) was made in September 2019 from newly discovered 8½x11 photocopies — the only version of the 1924 Signal known to exist as of 2019.

A complete set of The Signal, from the first edition (February 7, 1919) onward, is stored in bound volumes at The Signal office; a facsimile microfilm copy is publicly available at a local library; and the entire paper (through 2015) is accessible online through Newspapers.com — minus any issues from 1924.

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According to Signal lore, the 1924 issues have been missing since the 1950s.

They were missing in 1972 when The Signal started shipping the back issues, beginning with 1919, to a vendor to be microfilmed and then forwarded them to a bindery — becoming "bound volumes" for the first time. The microfilm was donated to the new L.A. County Valencia Library for public viewing, research, and long-term preservation of the information in the newspaper.

The 1924 issues were still missing in 1977 when the microfilming of the 1949-1969 issues was completed. The Signal then began keeping the library collection current with new editions.

The 1924 issues had been missing "for years" by 1978, when publisher Tony Newhall offered a $100 reward for them (see inset). No nibbles.

They were still missing in 1986 when The Signal moved from downtown Newhall to Creekside Road in Valencia.

And they were still missing in 2016-2017 when the Santa Clarita Public Library sent the microfilm it inherited from the county to UC Riverside to be digitized and archived on Newspapers.com. All of the issues are there — all but 1924.

One day in the mid-2010s, descendants of former (1938-1960) Signal publisher Fred Trueblood Sr. walked into The Signal office with some old newspapers that had been in the family. They thought the then-current regime might like to have them. Some of the newspapers — apparently 39 of them — were from 1924. Their significance was not immediately comprehended.

Only a handful of people knew about them. They were filed away and forgotten. Then The Signal moved from Creekside to Diamond Place, the paper was sold, and the knowledge of their existence faded away. Until now.

We don't know who made the photocopies, which were newly rediscovered. We don't know if the original papers will resurface one day. There never was a bound volume of the 1924 issues, because they'd gone missing before the first bindery occurred. Had their whereabouts been known, the Truebloods' 1924 newspapers probably would have become the bound volume, considering they're marked "File" copy.

Regardless, now we know what happened in the Santa Clarita Valley in 1924.

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Tony Newhall adds (9/25/2019):

In the early '70s, I remember our bookkeeper, Dixie Hamilton, walked into my office one day and said, "Tony, I'm worried about the way our bound volumes are stored. They're not treated with care by the staff, who just toss them around. Please remember that they're our only source of local history."

[Signal owner Scott Newhall] and I quickly realized that the time had come to do something. We decided to gather all our past volumes together and sent them first to a mircrofilm house (I think in Burbank), where the issues were carefully removed and photo­graphed for microfilm. We then had the issues shipped to a nearby bindery in Burbank where they were carefully bound. It took 3-6 months to do all the volumes, but it was the best decision we ever made.

After that, going forward, we carefully saved The Signal issue by issue and drove them periodically in stacks to the microfilm place who shot them, then sent them to the bindery.

When we got microfilm reels back (by mail), we'd carefully open and check them. ... As I recall, The Signal paid for all this microfilming, and we hand-delivered the rolls, for free, to the Valencia Library.

At some point, probably in the 1990s, the County Library system began paying for the microfilming. (Further research required.) The three libraries within city limits — Valencia, Newhall, Canyon Country — transfered to City of Santa Clarita operational control in 2011.

Under Richard Budman's ownership (June 2018 to date), The Signal continues to preserve the newly minted history of the SCV by sending new issues of the paper to a bindery every three months. In March 2019, Budman took the preservation of The Signal to a new level when he donated the entire Signal Photo Archive to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society for long-term care.

— Leon Worden, 2019

Sources: Tony Newhall, Fred Trueblood III, Richard Budman, John Boston, Shannon Vonnegut (city librarian), and the published news stories below.


Individual .pdf files by date.


Valencia Library

Place Where Things Are Happening.

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"Oh, how long have you been open?" is the comment head librarian Ms. Delberta Goodwin frequently gets from people who first come into the new Valencia Library in the Civic Center.

The Valencia Library with its 50,000 books and circulating record and motion picture collection is very much open and looking for patrons. Local residents used to small-town library service in the past might indeed have reason to be shocked when they first enter the 22,000 square feet of lushly carpeted modern and air-conditioned library.

Library service also includes typing rooms, a seminar room, listening carrels, an audio-visual department, and a referral system that makes the County's full collection of 3.6 million books available to any person holding a library card.

A card holder, 18 years or older, can sign out 16-millimeter movies like "Kon-Tiki," "Americans On Everest," "Monster of Highgate Ponds," or pick from 1,500 other titles. Twenty-five films are presently at the library — the remaining titles can be obtained through the referral service.

Another feature of the library is that it serves as a depository for Federal and State documents. This means that the library has copies of the State vehicle code, the Governor's new budget, Department of Parks manuals and brochures, the complete Warren Commission Report, plus many other government pamphlets, reports and books.

Head librarian Ms. Goodwin commented that she believes a library should be a place "where things are happening.

"In the summer we emphasize recreation and fun — as a kind of break from winter school assignments. Reading shouldn't just be done because it's good for you or makes you more intelligent — but because it's fun."

The library offers Saturday morning dance classes taught by CalArts student Nancy Karp through July 28. A macrame demonstration workshop will be given by June Birch on July 18.

Alvin Karp, Sherman Oaks, will demonstrate how to plant and display miniature gardens at an unscheduled date in July. "Hart High Sports Divers," a skin diving group, will meet every other Wednesday starting July 5.

The Library's 1,000-square-foot multi-purpose room, which presently is displaying a collection of art done by College of the Canyons students, is available for community and library-related programs and meetings.

People in the community with special talents are "welcome to come in and conduct a program that would benefit the community," according to Ms. Goodwin, as long as the programs are "non-profit, non-political, and non-religious."

Ms. Goodwin said that the library would be emphasizing the arts and business in both their collection and activities. "A library is kind of a catch-all depending on what the community is interested in.

"We hope to grow so that a businessman can come in and we can answer almost any question without sending away. Because CalArts is located in the community there is an increasing interest in the arts. Our art books circulate to the general public while those at CalArts don't."

Local history items, in addition to art and business, will be an important part of the libraries' growth plan, according to Ms. Goodwin. The Newhall Library has the best local history collection at the present time, she said, but Valencia Library will expand its collection of California and local materials as they are published.

When asked what the library's policy was regarding donation of local historical materials, Ms. Goodwin responded, "The library is always happy to receive gifts." She added that the library can accept donations of books, magazine articles, photographs, diaries, journals and scrapbooks dealing with early local history. "A gift of particular value would be handled by our downtown office."

The library is collecting microfilm copies of local newspapers and other historical documents. The Signal is in the process of microfilming all of its issues back through 1919.

These will be donated to the Valencia Library when completed.

Ben Bailey, Assistant County Librarian for Public Services, said the library will send a man out to examine large quantities of materials offered as donations. Small quantities can be brought in by the donor. "Current best-selling books are welcome gifts because of our difficulty in obtaining them. But we aren't able to help the person who is just cleaning out his attic and has 50 Nancy Drew books," Baily added.

Valencia Library obtains a number of "best seller" books from a special rental company. These are returned to the company after a particular book loses its popularity.

The County library system calls itself a "continuous university for all the community ... and a memory bank used to house the ideas, thoughts and accomplishments of society past and present."

At present, according to Ms. Goodwin, books most often circulated are light mystery novels, handicraft books and home materials.

Local residents are entitled to obtain a three-year library card upon application. Persons who work in Valencia Valley but live elsewhere can get a one-year card as can residents of a community, like San Fernando Valley, whose library system has a reciprocal agreement with the County library system. The only requirement for a local resident is that he be able to print his first and last name. There is no age limitation.

According to Ms. Mimi White, who is charge of circulation, Valencia Library is presently only handling about half the daily number of book loans that could be handled.

Head librarian Ms. Goodwin says: "Not everybody knows about us who could use us. I'd like more people to come in. I like a very busy library. I'd rather be overwhelmed with requests than the other way around."

Valencia Library is open Mondays 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will be closed on Sundays and national holidays (like tomorrow).


21 Years of Signal

Microfilm Given to Valencia Library.

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Fifteen hundred issues of The Newhall Signal, representing 21 years of publication, have just been recorded on microfilm and donated to the Valencia Public Library.

The microfilm roll includes every issue published by The Signal between 1949 and 1969, inclusive. Added to the existing files, the library now has a record of virtually every issue of The Signal, 51 years' worth, from 1919, the founding date, through 1969.

The recent 21-year period adds a significant chapter to the library archives, as it represents the period of greatest growth of this valley and significant changes in the publication of the paper itself.

The population of the valley grew from 7,500 in 1949 to almost 50,000 in 1969. During that time period, The Signal was owned by three publishers: Fred Trueblood (until 1962 [sic: Fred Sr., then Fred Jr.]), Ray Brooks (1962-63), and Scott Newhall, the present publisher and owner since 1963.

The paper also changed its frequency during the period: a weekly (every Thursday [sic: or Friday]) since 1919, it went biweekly (Thursday and Sunday) in 1965, then went tri-weekly in 1967 [sic: October 1966].

The Signal is now recording its most recent years, 1970 to the present, on microfilm and they will be completed by the end of the year. The microfilm records are available to the public at the Valencia Library at the Civic Center and microfilm readers are available, as well as equipment to reproduce the newspaper in the original size.

According to Jeanne Little, senior librarian at the Valencia Library, the Signal microfilm records are getting increasing use by local residents.

"Many historians come in to browse through past issues, including Charles Outland, the noted historian from Santa Paula," she said.

"There's also been a recent surge of interest in the genealogy of local families, perhaps spawned by 'Roots.' Many families come in and pore over the back issues of The Signal. It's the only source of recorded history of our valley and the people available anywhere."

Mrs. Little said that the microfilmed issues are also shown to the schoolchildren on their library tours; the children are always entranced to see the early copies of The Signal.


SG1924: The Signal archive. Download scans and pdf copies here.
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