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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
63°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 19
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Dec 30, 2012
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

As I write this, the outside temperature is in the mid-30s. Cold! So cold, it reminded me of one cold morning in Mentryville around 1965.

As usual, we got up before the sun and started chores. I was milking and taking the milk to the back porch of the house. I poured it into one of the big milk cans and went down to complete the milking.

Next it was time to turn the cows out to graze, and to feed the hogs and chickens. I also had to do one of my least favorite chores: collecting the eggs.

Those chores were complete, so it was back into the house to stand in front or the fire in the dining room until breakfast was ready.

That day I wasn’t getting breakfast on time. It seems the water had stopped flowing out of the kitchen faucet. We had bottled water to make coffee and for other cooking needs, but the other water was not there in the pipes.

It was a Saturday and the sun was rising over the hills to the east. This time of year, the bottom of Pico Canyon doesn’t see full sun until mid-day. Since my father was working, my mother told me to go up the canyon and see if there was a problem at the pump near the schoolhouse, or whether the upper tank had water. That tank was on top of PCO Hill south of CSO No. 4, the old, historic well.

My favorite horse, Suzy, was in the corral, so I went to the barn and got her ready to ride. I should have been thinking I had to break the ice on the water trough in the corral that morning so she could drink. Getting her bridle and saddle on was quickly done, and I rode up the canyon to the lower tank and pump. (The tank is still there.)

It's not Pico Canyon in the 1960s but it's close. It's Potrero Canyon (just over the hill from Pico) in 1949.

It’s not Pico Canyon in the 1960s but it’s close. It’s Potrero Canyon (just over the hill from Pico) in 1949. Click to enlarge & find more info.

The tank was nearly full, and the pump was ready to start. There weren’t any obvious leaks or ponds of standing water nearby. I went up the canyon a little more.

Suzy wasn’t so happy about being out in the cold. She would have been happy back at the corral in the small pole barn my father and I had built.

That barn is still there. Recently restored. Someone called it “historic.” Am I that old?

Anyway, it was cold. The road curves to the left and then back right, and I stopped to break the ice in the water trough at that curve. Had to keep the cattle and deer happy. Back in the saddle, I rode on up to Minnie-Lotta Canyon maybe another 200 yards.

Now there is a footbridge crossing Pico Creek at that canyon. Back then there was nothing but the creek. I could see the foundation for the old bakery, and in the early light it seemed to glisten. Why was that?

The whole flat area at the bakery was covered in ice – thick and starting to sparkle in the early sun rays that found their way between the canyon walls. There were foot-long icicles hanging from trees and a very thick, uneven, frozen waterfall covering the flat area that flowed into the creek.

The creek bottom was also encased in thick ice that had formed up to the road. The formation had stopped when the water stopped spraying. The upper tank must have been emptied when I looked at all the ice that was there. In some places the ice was more than a foot thick.

I now knew why we didn’t have water at Pico Cottage. The water in the pipe had become ice, and burst the pipe. Enough water was able to get around the ice plug in the pipe and start spraying the bakery flat. It must have sprayed for hours.

Riding back to the house, I told my mother the problem and she called the Standard Oil office to get the pipe repaired. In about 30 minutes, men from the company came and started repairs. First they had to chip ice to get to the break.

In the 1962 snow, we never lost water due to frozen pipes. In 1965 the pipes froze. From the tank on top of PCO Hill to the break was a drop of a few hundred feet. There was a lot of pressure in the pipe. Once the pipe burst, the water found a path and all of that force made the hole bigger by expanding the rip in the pipe. That huge tank that was 32 feet in diameter and 16 feet tall emptied through that rip. It was a lot of ice from a lot of water.

In no time at all, the pipe was repaired and water was being pumped up the hill. Pico Cottage had water again. My mother made breakfast for the crew that fixed the pipe. Fresh eggs, our own bacon, hash browns and toast from homemade bread. The butter had been churned that morning, and my mother’s jelly or jam was also on the table.

The ice melted. The pipe is still there. You can see it as you hike up Pico Canyon. It is the larger-diameter pipe. The smaller pipe was for oil. And to think this happened in the 1960s. We had just gotten electricity full-time.

I took Suzy to the barn and made sure she had an extra helping of oats. It had been a short ride, but she deserved the extra. It was so cold that we had ice floes in Pico Canyon. Can’t see that every day.

Keep warm and Happy New Year. See y’all in 2013.

 

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.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

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
Saturday, Oct 19, 2019
Some people find the college financial aid process intimidating, if not overwhelming. But when it comes to completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as the FAFSA, the fear is misplaced.
Thursday, Oct 17, 2019
New Medicare Plan Finder tool helps you pick your Medicare plan online.
Wednesday, Oct 2, 2019
In his message for October, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin invites the community to join in celebrating the Santa Clarita Skatepark's 10th anniversary.
Tuesday, Oct 1, 2019
October is one of my favorite months of the year.
Saturday, Sep 28, 2019
Tenants must realize they are responsible for helping to pay for the maintenance, upkeep, repair and, in some instances, replacement of common areas.
Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019
Some things to consider before signing a lease.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Some people find the college financial aid process intimidating, if not overwhelming. But when it comes to completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as the FAFSA, the fear is misplaced.
Don’t Let Student Aid Filing Scare You | Commentary by Dr. Dianne Van Hook
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]
The National Weather Service on Friday afternoon issued a high wind watch for the Santa Clarita Valley from Saturday evening through Sunday morning.
High Wind Watch Saturday Night to Sunday Morning
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has published the agenda for their Tuesday, Oct. 22 meeting starting at 1 p.m.
Oct. 22 Meeting Agenda – LA County Supervisors
The next regular meeting of the North Los Angeles County Transportation Coalition Board of Directors is set for Monday, October 21, at 1 p.m.
Oct. 21: North Los Angeles County Transportation Coalition Regular Meeting
Tickets are now on sale for the Youth Project's 13th Annual Hold ‘Em Not Hassle ‘Em fundraising poker tournament, to be held at the Valencia Country Club on Saturday, November 2, starting at 5 p.m.
Nov. 2: Youth Project ‘Hold ‘Em Not Hassle ‘Em Poker Tourney
Author Michele Singer Evans will sign her new book "Island of Zarada: The Larimar Quest" at Barnes & Noble in Valencia on Sunday, October 20 at 2 p.m., and the public is invited to join her.
Oct. 20: Michele Singer Evans Book Signing at Barnes & Noble
Construction has commenced at the new Orchard Medical Center on Orchard Village Road in Valencia, CBRE announced.
Walls Tilted Up for New Orchard Medical Center
Downed power lines in Newhall sparked a small fire and left more than 1,880 people without electricity, between Lyons Avenue and the southern edge of the Newhall Pass, Friday afternoon.
Downed Power Lines Spark Small Fire, Power Outage in Newhall
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored 16 student winners from colleges and universities around the world at the 46th Student Academy Awards ceremony, held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills Thursday night.
AMPAS Honors Winners of 2019 Student Academy Awards
Local sheriff’s detectives, investigating the break-in last month of a home in Stevenson Ranch, tracked their suspect to Bakersfield where they arrested one man, seizing guns and drugs in the operation.
SCV Detectives Track Burglary Suspect to Bakersfield, Seize Guns, Drugs
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation’s William S. Hart Regional Park, in cooperation with the Friends of Hart Park, will present the Hart Bookstore & Collectors Flea Market at the Newhall park on Saturday, October 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Oct. 26: Collectors’ Flea Market at Hart Park
A Val Verde citizens’ group that sued the county over its decision to grant Chiquita Canyon Landfill an operating permit saw its case dismissed in court.
Court Tosses Val Verde Group’s Lawsuit Over Chiquita Canyon Landfill
Emergency road work to repair a water-damaged stretch of Newhall Ranch Road wrapped up Thursday evening about 7:45, city of Santa Clarita spokesperson Carrie Lujan said Friday morning.
Newhall Ranch Road Reopened After Water Main Break, Repairs
Saugus Union School District officials discussed how they once again increased scores on the statewide assessment testing over the previous year, and also how to close achievement gaps found in certain students.
Saugus School District Sees Improvement in State Test Scores
California is expected to experience a drier than average winter, according to an outlook published by federal climate experts Thursday.
Feds Predict Warmer, Drier Winter 2019-2020 for California
Amid a revived legal challenge over the storage of nuclear waste and public doubts over the safety of the decommissioning process of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, the California Coastal Commission unanimously approved demolition Thursday of the iconic Southern California nuclear power plant.
San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant OK’d for Demolition
Marking the 30th anniversary of the deadly Loma Prieta earthquake and its devastation to buildings, bridges, freeways and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, California officials on Thursday launched a long-awaited statewide warning system that will send cellphone alerts before earthquakes.
California Gets Earthquake Warning System 30 Years After Loma Prieta
1876 - Southern Pacific begins subdividing town of Newhall (original location at Bouquet Junction) [story]
Campton store
New Medicare Plan Finder tool helps you pick your Medicare plan online.
Pick Your Medicare Plan Online | Commentary by Greg Dill
David Kuck, who was hired as head coach by the Canyons Aquatic Club two years ago, is now suing the swim club for wrongful termination, alleging he was fired for blowing the whistle on crimes implicating the late child sex crimes suspect Jeremy Anderson.
Former Coach Sues Canyons Aquatic for Wrongful Termination
Preliminary, university-wide data shared by California State University (CSU) Chancellor Timothy P. White indicated that four- and six-year graduation rates for first-time students and two- and four-year rates for community college transfer students continue to increase and have reached all-time highs.
Study Indicates Grad Rates for First-Time, Transfer Students at All-Time Highs
Lancaster Sheriff's Station detectives in collaboration with the Lancaster Appreciation Program (LANCAP) arrested 4 suspects for armed robbery.
Suspects in Alleged Robberies from Mojave to SCV Arrested
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, who was serving as chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, died Thursday morning. He was 68.
Hill: Cummings ‘Friend, Adviser, Leader’
%d bloggers like this: