Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

The Birth of Newhall (Continued).

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In the last installment we were talking of 1875. June 19, 1874, the Valley had sort of received official recognition when a post office was established at Lyon's Station. Then we had the completion of the 6,964 ft. railroad tunnel in July 1875, some 1,500 men having been employed there for over a year.

There were probably around 800 Chinese workmen on the railroad tunnel. As was the custom of employers of Chinese, a graveyard was established near the present Walter Cook property, at the junction of Highway 6 and San Fernando road, where all Chinamen killed or dying on the job were temporarily buried. After completion of the tunnel, the bones of the dead were shipped to China for final interment.

While the tunnel was under way, the railroad terminated close to the present Newhall railroad station. Passengers and freight were shunted through the Beale cut to San Fernando, where they again boarded the trains for Los Angeles.

Stage coaching had not been abruptly terminated. For 3 years it gradually died out as the steel came down from the north, and the stages moved their terminals to correspond.

The Chinese did not leave abruptly either. After their job played out, many of them went over to the Chinese camp (by the Sheppard ranch site) where they worked the placers for some years. Some went into Placeritas. But as the years went by, they all went away. It is rather peculiar that some of them didn't accidentally stay here — but they didn't.

The Southern Pacific station at Newhall was opened in September 1876 with John Gifford as the station agent. At that time, the stations were Lancaster, Alpine, Acton, Ravenna (Soledad city), Lang, Kent and Newhall.

There is a canyon taking off up in the Soledad Canyon known as "Mill Canyon." Most people have forgotten that its original name was Paper Mill Canyon, where Davis & Jorchin of Santa Cruz had erected a mill for baling the yucca stalks of the Antelope Valley, and shipping the bales to Liverpool, where they were made into paper. The mill went, back in the seventies, having been built in the sixties, but part of the old name hangs on.

At this time, Remi Nadeau was working over 100 men, with 80 ten-mule teams, on the Cerro Gordo freighting pig lead south, general supplies north. That freighting was done through San Francisquito Canyon.

In December 1876, the Ventura Free Press reports Chinese buying mining supplies and the discovery of a 3 oz. nugget. At this same time miners at San Feliciano were seriously considering diverting the waters of Elizabeth Lake to that camp for mining purposes. In general miners of the Soledad and canyon territory were doing their trading at the new store of George Campton, at the first site at the Kellogg ranch, a half mile north of Saugus, which he shortly after picked up bodily and transplanted to the new town where he also built himself a nice home north of the Gifford home. The first Campton home burned in 1893 [sic: 1882], was replaced on the same site. The second home was wrecked by William Purrucher, we believe, in the late thirties and material salvaged for new construction in the south end of town. Ben Campton, son of George, is today prominent in meat packing circles of Los Angeles, being now the head of the independent meat producers.

The Campton store was not moved to the present site of Newhall until after the Newhall Company built its general merchandise store on the northwest corner of Market and Railroad avenue (present site of Masonic Hall).

So far, we haven't amplified what might be called the obstetrical angles of the birth of Newhall townsite. We have mentioned that the first attempt to make the townsite was at a point approximately a half mile beyond the present Saugus (on the present Kellogg ranch), where lack of trees and no lack of blowing sand caused the move to the then-oak grove at the present Newhall.

The townsite survey was completed in 1879, although it was never recorded as such until the Pacific Improvement Company sent it in for record April 27, 1893. It appears in Volume 53, Miscellaneous Records, page 21, of Maps.

The townsite was deeded by Henry M. Newhall to the Western Development Company Oct. 16, 1876, approximately 426.76 acres being involved.

At the time of deeding Mr. Newhall retained Block 31, site of the Southern Hotel; 43, the triangle bounded by Railroad avenue, the highway and Fourth street; and the half of Black 42 southwest of the alley, the last two parcels being planned and planted as a park grove in which rare and exotic trees from all over the world were planted. None of these trees remain (we just ran up the road to find out).

In a previous chapter we referred to the sale of lands to Malezewski by the Philadelphia & California Petroleum Company, the Tom Scott promotion. Feb. 14, 1880, the claim was extinguished by recording of the sheriff's deed on the mortgage sale, in favor of Henry M. Newhall.


Webmaster's note: Regarding the photo caption, the Southern Hotel burned down October 23, 1888, not October 1, 1886.



Birth of Newhall, Cont.

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