Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Fishing at Lake Piru
Piru, California


John Guarino and friends go fishing at Lake Piru in March 1957, two years after the man-made reservoir opened. Guarino is the third person shown in the film. He is wearing red.

Guarino is the uncle of contributor Sandy Smith, who grew up in Bouquet Canyon and worked at the Magic Mountain amusement park. Guarino was married to Sandy's father's sister, Betty Laverne Smith. Betty's parents were Louise Courtemanche and James B. Smith. Louise was one of 11 children of Alfred and Emma Courtemanche, founders of the National Forest Inn on the Ridge Route (1916) and the French Village in Newhall (1926).

The other young men in the film are unidentified. They might be some of Guarino's co-workers at Fred Schroeder Mfg. Co., a machine shop at 12021 Vose Street in North Hollywood. (He later worked for Librascope, a manufacturer of early digital computers in Glendale.) John and Betty (Smith) Guarino lived in Burbank, in a home built by Alfred Courtemanche. Betty's mother, Louise, lived next door.

Alternatively, the other men might have been John's bowling or baseball teammates. Names on team photos (below) include Bob Coveney, Dick Erickson, Dick Prine, Gary Prine, John Sevier and Jay Weed.

John Guarino had come to Los Angeles from New York after World War II with his childhood best friend, singer Vic Damone. He landed a few small acting jobs before establishing his career as a machinist.

Betty Laverne Smith.

About Lake Piru.

Source: United Water Conservation District, accessed 2019.

Lake Piru was created in 1955 with construction of the Santa Felicia Dam. Santa Felicia Dam can store up to 82,000 acre-feet of winter runoff from the Piru Creek watershed. This water is then released into Piru Creek and flows to the Santa Clara River where it is joined by runoff from Sespe and Santa Paula Creeks. This runoff is used to replenish underground aquifers, and is made available to municipalities, industry and agriculture.



Geological Investigation 1931 (Mult.)


FILM: Fishing 1957

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