Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Newhall Grade (Sierra Highway) South of Auto Tunnel
Newhall, California

Click image to enlarge

The Newhall grade, just south of the Newhall auto tunnel. Formerly US-6; now known as Sierra Highway just north of the 5/14 split. Compare to this image.

Divided, undenominated postcard published by M. Kashower Co. of Los Angeles.

Kashower was active from 1914 to 1934. Various sources suggest a date of 1930 for this postcard. Judging from the colorized photograph, we're inclined to think it's a bit earlier; however, in the 1930s, Kashower was still using older photographs showing older automobiles. So it could be 1930; we haven't seen an earlier postmark. This example is postally unused.

Postcard reads: "On the Coast Highway and Inland Route / Newhall Grade. Gold in California was first discovered at this spot."

Close enough. California's first documented gold discovery was made about 3 miles northeast of this point, in Placerita Canyon.

It goes to show that not all early postcard publishers were confused about the site of California's first gold discovery, the way this one was.

As the age of the automobile descended on the Newhall Pass, Beale's Cut proved to be too difficult a climb for this new mode of transportation. Therefore in 1910, the 435-foot-long Newhall Auto Tunnel was constructed a quarter-mile to the northwest of Beale's Cut. Just 17½ feet in width, the tunnel was quite narrow, making it difficult for two-way traffic to pass through.

By 1938, with increasing auto and truck traffic, the California Division of Highways determined it needed to be replaced. In July of that year, the mountain above the tunnel was blasted away, and a four-lane road was built above the level of the old tunnel. It was first known as Highway 6, then Highway 14, and finally as the present-day Sierra Highway. The cutout of the mountain where the tunnel was located can still be seen today on Sierra Highway at the crest of the Newhall Pass.

SW3002: 19200 dpi jpeg from original postcard.
(Sierra Highway)

See Also:
Newhall Auto Tunnel

Newhall Pass ~1912

Newhall Pass 1913-14


RPPC ~1920s


Bridge ~1940s

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