The Santa Clarita Valley is an area in transition, where onion fields and cattle pastures are continually giving way to modern, glass-and-steel offices where multi-million dollar deals are consummated.
A wide range of expensive custom homes, moderately priced tracts, and less expensive prefabs or condominiums are available. Shopping centers seem to sprout everywhere, bearing such names as North Oaks (there is not an oak in sight), Granary Square (there was never a granary anywhere near it) and Lyons Station (which does not even remotely resemble the stage stop of Sanford and Cyrus Lyon). At least the name — albeit without the apostrophe, an early typographer's omission — has been preserved for future generations.
Until very recently, most residents worked "over the hill" in the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles, making much of Santa Clarita a classic bedroom community.
What of the future? The renowned Virginia legislator Patrick Henry once remarked, "I have no way to judge the future but by the past." Judging from the past, whenever a crisis has reared its head in this valley someone has come forward to meet it head-on.
In the best tradition of the Spanish explorers, Franciscan padres, Mexican dons, American dragoons, '49ers, pioneer settlers and city-makers, a new generation will overcome geographical disadvantages; solve basic water problems; suffer through earthquakes, fires and floods; then build a new future based on solid principles of the past.
Putting together this saga has been interesting, often challenging and frequently frustrating. Many have asked, "Where do you learn all of that stuff?" to which this writer usually answers — facetiously, of course — "I make it up as I go along."
Voltaire said, "History is a myth agreed upon." There is a grain of truth to it. Ask any three people at the site of an automobile accident what happened, and you will get three different stories. The same is true when digging into the distant past.
Over the years the author has been privileged to know a number of pioneers who, unfortunately, are no longer with us except in spirit.
These include, first and foremost, Mrs. Anita Ruby Jenkins Kellogg, a delightfully charming lady, the daughter of Ranger Bill Jenkins of Castaic. Tall, slender, natty Lloyd Houghton was, to the end, a true gentleman. The valley historian for years was Mr. Arthur B. Perkins, who loved nothing better than a good argument.
Others were Art Evans — the elder statesman of true grit and wise counsel — and Fred Trueblood, Jr., a talented writer and tireless seeker of truth. There was A.K. Pike, who knew the secrets of Castaic, and Opal Mayhue du Chene, who could light up a room with her smile.
Many thanks to Scott and Ruth Newhall of Piru, Anthony Newhall of Valencia, Claude Jones of Castaic, Mimi White of Newhall, George Shaffer of Saugus, Harold Michael of Fillmore, Helen Wood Cone, Mrs. Fred Cullen, Mr. and Mrs. Don Riley, Alberta Knox and others. Also there is that excellent researcher, Cynthia Neal-Harris, and constant critic, Tom Mason.
Three lovely ladies deserve credit for constant help and encouragement — Bobbie Trueblood Davis, Connie Worden and Jo Anne Darcy.
Frenchy and Carol Lagasse are the oil experts, and Betty Pember and Melba Fisher deserve medals for their patience.
All of their comments are in the archives of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society.