Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

SCV Historical Society Open House, 1985

Heritage Junction Historic Park

Photos by Gary Thornhill for The Signal newspaper.

December 15, 1985 — The flagpole in front of the Saugus Train Station at Heritage Junction Historic Park previously stood outside the entrance to the Saugus Rehabilitation Center at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road (now the main entrance to Santa Clarita Central Park). The L.A. City-owned "drunk farm," as it was known, opened in 1954. Operational control transfered in 1965 to the County of Los Angeles, which closed it in 1967. L.A. City continued to own the property for another two decades, eventually selling it to the Castaic Lake Water Agency for the Rio Vista Water Treatment Facility. The water agency leased the lower portion of the property to the City of Santa Clarita for Central Park, which opened in 2000.

The flagpole was donated to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society and relocated to Heritage Junction in June 1983 (SCVHS Board Minutes, June 15, 1983). It was erected two years later (ibid.: July 22, 1985). The project was headed by Eagle Scout candidate Loren Clark, who organized fundraisers (see below) and enlisted helpers to assist with the restoration and installation of flagpole on a base of used brick in front of the 1888 Southern Pacific train station.

Clark was thanked for his efforts at the Historical Society's annual Open House, which in 1985 doubled as the society's 10th birthday party (this photo set). The Historical Society incorporated December 11, 1975; Heritage Junction opened inside William S. Hart Park in 1980 with the relocation of the train station from Saugus.

The 1985 event also included the dedication of two donor walls inside the depot's freight room, one each for monentary contributors and in-kind donors toward the restoration of the train station. Names were printed on individual ceramic tiles.

Note: The toddler in the photos above is 2-year-old Howard Harris, son of former Historical Society presidents Cynthia and Norman Harris.

[1] SCV Historical Society marked its 10th year Sunday in ceremonies at Saugus Train Station. In photo above, society President Betty Houghton Pember thanks Eagle Scout candidate Loren Clark, who helped acquire and restore flagpole; below, Pember cuts birthday cake as (from left) shirley Scates, Betty Evans, Tom Mason,Cynthia Nearl-Harris and Norman Harris look on. Evans' late husband, Art, was group's founding president. She is now second vice president; others in photo are past presidents of the organization.
[2] Crowd of nearly 175 well-wishers attended Sunday's anniversary/donor plaque wall dedication ceremonies. Persons who donated $100 toward restoration of the station were honored with ceramic plaques placed on special donor wall area in station. Space is still available for additional plaques, and life memberships ($150 per person or $200 per couple) are also offered.

Caption: Life Scout Loren Clark of Varsity Team 6607 organized a car wash Sept. 7 [1985] to help restore a flag pole for the Saugus Train Station. Proceeds were donated to the SCV Historical Soceity. Acquisition, reconditioning and erection of the flag pole serves as the final step toward Clark's Eagle Scout rank.

Gary Thornhill About the photographer: Photojournalist Gary Thornhill chronicled the history of the Santa Clarita Valley as it unfolded in the 1970s, '80s and '90s. From car races in Saugus to fatal car wrecks in Valencia; from topless beauty contests in Canyon Country to fires and floods in the various canyons; from city formation in 1987 to the Northridge earthquake in 1994 — Thornhill's photographs were published in The Los Angeles Times, The Newhall Signal, The Santa Clarita Valley Citizen newspaper, California Highway Patrolman magazine and elsewhere. He penned the occasional breaking news story for Signal and Citizen editors Scott and Ruth Newhall under the pseudonym of Victor Valencia, and he was the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station's very first volunteer — and only the second in the entire LASD. Thornhill retained the rights to the images he created; in 2012, he donated his SCV photographs to two nonprofit organizations — SCVTV and the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society — so that his work might continue to educate and inform the public.

sg19851214scvhs: Download original images here. Signal Photo Archive, Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society collection. Digital preservation of the Signal Photo Archive is generously supported by the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation.
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