Undated photos of the signal tree, aka marker tree, located at today's 24940 Pico Canyon Road, Stevenson Ranch. Probably 1970s or 1980s; in any event, prior to the construction of the Stevenson Ranch
community in the 1980s and the Valencia Markeplace in the 1990s. Top view, above, facing north, predates the bottom three photos, facing south.
The oak tree is believed to have been bent over and two upper branches affixed to the ground by local indigenous people centuries ago, when it was a sapling, as a directional marker — apparently pointing the way to Pico Springs, a source of asphaltum.
Over time, roughly the turn of the 21st century, one of the two tied-down treetops fell away. (Both are visible in the photo above.)
When it was built at this location in 2000, the Extended Stay America hotel was required to preserve the marker tree and another nearby heritage oak tree and work around them — which is why the hotel has the has a footprint that accommodates a small oak grove.
SW8001: 9600 dpi jpegs courtesy of Stan Walker.