[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
79°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 15
1970 - SCV voters recall two Hart School Board members who won't let students circulate anti-Vietnam War petition [story]


Guest Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Nov 4, 2012

Darryl Manzer

Hello. For those of you who know me, I’m here to tell you I’m back home in the Santa Clarita Valley for good.

If you don’t know, me let me introduce myself: I am Darryl Manzer, and at one time I was the only kid in Mentryville. I’ve also written a few columns for The Signal newspaper, served in the United States Navy for a few years (36), and play a little banjo. I hope to write a little for SCVTV/SCVNews.com and share some of my thoughts about, and experiences in, our valley.

Hundreds of folks lived in Pico Canyon long before there was a Stevenson Ranch or Southern Oaks. They raised their kids and sent them to school – right in Pico Canyon – and earned a living, seldom leaving the place.

There were dances, picnics, celebrations and all sorts of events. The little community had a tree planting frenzy one year, and a couple of the local boys got paid to water those trees every day.

Houses were built and gardens planted. Some families kept chickens for eggs and meat.

So, it is obvious that I’m not writing of the Pico Canyon you all know. No, this is all about the little town that came to be called Mentryville – called that because Mr. Alec Mentry was the man who drilled the wells and was in charge of the operations of the oil field.

Oh, what an oil field! It produced oil that was refined down in Newhall, and the kerosene that was made burned far brighter than the oil used in lamps previously. It was cheap and available, too. It soon replaced most of the lamp oil that had been used.

It was so good that the gathering and manufacturing of that prior lamp oil was nearly stopped on the West Coast. “What oil was that?” you ask. Why, whale oil, of course. Yep, the little wells in Pico Canyon just may have had a hand in starting to save the whales.

Many of you hike in Towsley Canyon. Great trails there. Pico has great trails, too, and they are being expanded all the time.  Towsley had oil wells, too. The little refinery was very busy.

I hope to tell you stories of this valley that you may have never heard before. I also hope to correct some of the “urban myths” I’ve heard since my return. Myths like, “The haunted graveyard in Pico Canyon” and the “Haunted house.” Nope, never a graveyard, and in the years I lived in that house, we never saw a ghost.

There are hundreds of stories that have never been told about Pico and Mentryville. Maybe this can serve as a little history lesson and along the way, bring to light some laughs – and a few tears, too.

In that house, a boy grew up into a young man.  Pico Cottage was actually a mansion, and what a glorious home it was!  I was the boy.  My experiences in Pico Canyon formed in me a strong sense of duty to others – not to mention that we were “green” long before it was a popular notion.  Nothing went to waste.  Food was home-grown: milk from our own cows and eggs warm and fresh from hens.

After leaving Pico Canyon, I went on to serve my country for 36 years and, let me tell you, my life in what is now the Santa Clarita Valley was vastly impacted by the sense of community and family values that I learned right here.

Come visit Towsley and Pico canyons.  Take in the beauty.  You’ll never find a more quiet spot than Johnson Park.  The only thing to tell you that you are in the year 2012 is the sound of a jet flying high overhead.

Are there ghosts?  Is Pico Cottage haunted?  See for yourself.  But most likely, the only thing you may hear is the echo of my footsteps on the stairs from a year long gone.

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com and his commentaries, published on Sundays, are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. First welcome home! I cant wait to here more stories about the town. I have lived here from 1970. Amazing changes. My stories kick star some fun. And thank you for you service even if it was the Navy… Lol Mike USMC

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Wednesday, Sep 4, 2019
Paying attention to the road and avoiding distractions when you're a driver is always necessary.
Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019
Eight questions tenants should ask before signing a lease.
Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019
Did you know that children who read for enjoyment perform better in school, develop a broader vocabulary, have a larger base of general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures?
Thursday, Aug 15, 2019
Would you like for a family member or caregiver to be able to call Medicare on your behalf? Would you like a way to store all your health records in one place online, so you can quickly share them with a new doctor or other healthcare provider? How about an easy way to print a new Medicare card if you lose yours? You can do all that and more by creating a free, secure MyMedicare.gov account.
Friday, Aug 2, 2019
After a six-month development process, the City Council has once again passed an on-time, balanced city budget for the 2019/2020 Fiscal Year.
Thursday, Aug 1, 2019
Summertime in Southern California means high temps, high gas prices and an increase in travelers heading off for vacation. What if I told you there was an easy way to beat the heat…at a fraction of the cost…without the stress and hassle of dealing with traffic? There is – and it is called public transit.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1970 - SCV voters recall two Hart School Board members who won't let students circulate anti-Vietnam War petition [story]
1924 - SCV Deputy Ed Brown killed in shootout with Gus Le Brun [story]
Deputy Ed Brown
A bat left on a napkin on the doorstep of All Creatures Veterinary Center in Newhall on Tuesday has tested positive for rabies, the Department of Public Health reported Friday afternoon.
Rabid Bat Left at Veterinary Center in Newhall
Twenty-six years after Chris Beck left the diamond and etched his name in The Master's University baseball program's record books, his son, Jackson, will take the field for the Mustangs in 2020.
TMU Baseball Signs Jackson Beck, Son of Hall of Famer
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies detained an "uncooperative person" in Valencia Friday afternoon, according to station officials.
SCV Deputies Detain ‘Uncooperative Person’ in Valencia
College of the Canyons will look to rebound from its week one loss when the Cougars host Grossmont College in Week 2 action Saturday night in a non-conference contest.
Cougars Football Ready to Rebound in Week 2 vs. Grossmont
Despite having some chances, the College of the Canyons men's soccer team suffered a 1-0 loss to Moorpark College as the visiting Raiders were able to spoil the Cougars' 2019 home opener.
Canyons Falls 1-0 to Moorpark in Home Opener
The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District has confirmed three additional mosquito samples positive for West Nile virus have been collected in two new areas: Boyle Heights and Whittier.
West Nile Virus Confirmed in Boyle Heights, Whittier
The city of Santa Clarita will host the 25th Annual River Rally Cleanup and Environmental Expo on Saturday, September 21, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., starting at the Newhall Community Center located at 22421 Market Street.
Sept. 21: 25th Annual River Rally Cleanup
To help keep kids safe, the California Highway Patrol is joining its traffic safety partners throughout the state for Child Passenger Safety Week, which begins September 15 and concludes September 21 with National Seat Check Saturday.
CHP Preps for Child Passenger Safety Week
Senate Bill 153 has cleared the California Legislature and the industrial hemp bill will now go to Governor Gavin Newsom for final action, the bill's author, Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced Friday.
Wilk Hemp Industry Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk
The California Senate passed a robust consumer protection law Friday that limits the amount of interest payday lenders can charge their customers.
California Lawmakers OK Cap on Payday Lending Rates
It was a regular day at work for employees at Jimmy Dean’s in Valencia on Thursday until several customers and employees were witnesses to a suspicious man near the restaurant who was removing his clothes.
Witnesses Share What They Saw Before Thursday’s Shooting
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau detectives are continuing their investigation of Thursday afternoon's deputy-involved shooting in Santa Clarita, according to an LASD update Thursday night.
Detectives Continue Deputy-Involved Shooting Investigation
With her bills approved by the Legislature, Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) announced the status of her 2019 legislative package Friday.
Smith Bills Update: Seven Passed, Four Already Signed
Moving to keep children off websites like Facebook and Instagram, California lawmakers on Thursday approved a bill barring social media companies from opening an account for anyone under the age of 13 without receiving parental consent.
California Moves to Keep Pre-Teens Off Social Media
Sebastian Barrales Raymundo of Santa Clarita was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on charges of taking upskirt photos of four women, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Santa Clarita Man Charged with Taking Upskirt Photos
The California Legislature on Wednesday approved Senate Bill 206, the "Fair Pay to Play Act," authored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and co-authored by Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita.
California Legislature OK’s SB 206, ‘Fair Pay to Play Act’
1964 - Fire fighters mop up after blaze in Bouquet Canyon that destroyed world's largest live oak tree [story]
fire
Longtime Agua Dulce resident Doreetha S. Daniels, who became the oldest person ever to graduate from College of the Canyons in June 2015 at age 99, died Sunday. She was 103. Services are pending.
Doreetha Daniels, COC’s Oldest Graduate, Dies at 103
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday the Latino Business Alliance Businesses of the Year Awards to Northeast Valley Health Corporation and Premier America Credit Union.
Chamber to Honor Northeast Valley Health Corporation, Premier America
As part of annual roadway improvements, the city of Santa Clarita will reconfigure two area streets to include a bicycle lane in both directions.
Road Improvements Scheduled for Plum Canyon Road, Smyth Drive
On Wednesday, Santa Clarita Sheriff’s COBRA detectives, assisted by deputies, detained several local high school students after learning about social media threats regarding committing acts of school violence.
Several Students Detained After Alleged Threats of School Violence
A suspect was shot by a local sheriff’s deputy in the Valencia Industrial Center Thursday, prompting a shutdown of the intersection of Rye Canyon Road and Stanford Avenue.
Suspect Shot, Killed in Reported Deputy-Involved Shooting
%d bloggers like this: