To say the birth of Valencia was a festive affair would be a bit like saying the failure of the St. Francis Dam was an unfortunate mishap. The heirs of landowner Henry Mayo Newhall even flew in the mayor of the namesake city in Spain to christen the "new town" that was to rise up out of family’s cow pastures and onion fields.
Ruth Waldo Newhall, Henry’s great-granddaughter by marriage, remembers: "The idea of Valencia, and the planners' idealized designs, were revealed to merchants and politicians and other leading citizens at a dinner party given in a huge tent set up on a hill near the soon-to-be freeway. The dinner was elegant, ornamented by the presence of a handsome doctor, the mayor of Valencia, Spain… It was an intoxicating view for merchants whose principal customers had been farmers and the new residents of working-class subdivisions."
Historian Jerry Reynolds writes: "The new community was born on Sunday, August 20, 1967. Named for the Spanish town of ancient Moorish splendors, its inaugural day was highlighted by a ceremonial and utterly symbolic passing of title from the king of Spain through Franciscan missionaries to the Mexican government, to Don Antonio del Valle, to Henry Mayo Newhall, and thence to the new owners."
Celebrants were treated to copies of a souvenir title report (shown here) prepared by the Title Insurance and Trust Co. of Los Angeles and printed on parchment, suitable for framing tracing that lineage in detail.
Just to be clear, this "Chain of Title" report is a fantasy piece; there is not and never was any such document (prior to 1967, anyway). But the information it contains, no doubt written by Ruth Newhall or based on her research, is solid. The text of the "document" follows.
Chain of Title from the King of Spain
to California Land Company
Covering Valencia, California .... formerly known as The Newhall Ranch and Rancho San Francisco.
King of Spain Who under the Laws of the Indies, became the owner of the land of California upon Spanish Occupation in 1769, begun by Gaspar de Portola at San Diego and followed by the establishment of presidios, missions, and pueblos.
San Fernando Mission This Mission was established in 1797 by Father Fermin Lasuen, who carried on the work of the California Missions after the death of Father Serra in 1784. It was secularized on October 18, 1834.
The Mexican Nation In 1822, California became Mexican territory as a result of the Revolution by Mexico against Spain. Early in 1822, California was notified of Mexico's successful revolt against Spain. California accepted the situation and at Monterey, the capital city, allegiance was sworn to the new government on April 11, 1822. The banner of Spain gave way to the Mexican Imperial Flag. The Mexican Empire, however, was short-lived. In the following year, Emperor Iturbide abdicated and a federal republic was established. California land that had been vested in the King of Spain was now owned by the Mexican Nation.
Rancho San Francisco The above-described property, known during the Mexican Era as Rancho San Francisco, was granted by Governor Juan B. Alvarado to Antonio del Valle on January 22, 1839. The Rancho was confirmed to Jacoba Feliz et al on January 2, 1855 by the American Land Commission, the area consisting of 48,612 acres. On March 18, 1875, the United States granted a Patent to Jacoba Feliz et al recorded in Book 1, Page 514 Patents.
The United States of America When the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, ratified and proclaimed at the end of the war between the United States and Mexico in 1848, California became United States territory and the land formerly owned by the Mexican Nation was then part of the public lands of the United States.
Ignacio del Valle The Ranch was deeded by the estate of Antonio del Valle to Ignacio del Valle on September 24, 1853, and was recorded in book 1, Page 370 Deeds.
Thomas R. Bard On March 18, 1865, Ignacio del Valle deeded the Rancho to Thomas R. Bard and this transaction was recorded in Book 7, Page 108, Deeds.
Robert H. Gratz On April 29, 1865, Robert H. Gratz came into title of the Rancho by Deed from Thomas R. Bard, and recorded in Book 7, Page 180 Deeds.
Philadelphia & California Petroleum Co. Philadelphia & California Petroleum Co., became owners of the Rancho by deed from Robert H. Gratz, recorded April 30, 1869, and recorded in Book 13, Page 476.
Charles Fernald A Sheriff's Deed to Charles Fernald was recorded October 20, 1873, in Book 26, Page 330 Deeds.
H.M. Newhall By deed from Charles Fernald to H.M. Newhall recorded February 20, 1875 in Book 36, Page 102 Deeds.
M.J. Newhall et al A decree of distribution in the estate of H.M. Newhall granting the Rancho to M.J. Newhall et al, was recorded June 7, 1883, and recorded in Book 102, Page 367 Deeds.
The Newhall Land and Farming Co. On July 5, 1883, M.J. Newhall et al deeded the above-described property to The Newhall Land and Farming Co.
California Land Company Portions of the above-described property were transfered to California Land Company by The Newhall Land and Farming Co. This is the property on which California Land Company will commence the development of a community henceforth to be known as
From the first Valencia newsletter (The View from Valencia, Vol. 1, No. 1):
Click to enlarge.