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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
72°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 19
1863 - Gen. Edward F. Beale loans money to A.A. Hudson and Oliver P. Robbins to erect toll house in Newhall Pass [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Feb 24, 2013
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

The movie, “The Last Roundup,” had many scenes of Mentryville. I’ve watched it over and over and I still can’t quite identify those other places I see.

Just where was the outlaw’s cabin? Placerita? Towsley? Not quite sure – but I took a drive to Towsley Canyon in hopes some of the topography would look at all similar to the scenes in the film.

Well, the first big problem is that the major West Coast interstate highway blocks the wide view of what might have been. But there are a few features that slightly resemble those of the film.

You know, more than a few films have used Towsley Canyon as a location. It was near the main shooting spot for the “The Last Roundup,” and just like today, film production companies liked to save money. Take the wagon full of stuff down the road and turn right. Find the next canyon and start filming. Pretty easy. They didn’t have to post bright yellow signs with names and arrows pointing to the location. Just listen for the noise of the production … and the cows … and birds … and people and … you get the idea.

There is a ridgeback near the entrance to Towsley that sort of looks like it was in the movie, but I can’t be sure. I’ll keep looking.

rivendalesignThat ridgeback is really close to – or maybe even in – the section of the city of Santa Clarita called Rivendale. Annexed into the city, it is a little piece of land of about 60 acres that are within the city limits – and west of the interstate. Sixty acres that have been used for the arts for years with film, photography, paintings and theater all components of the artistic makeup of that place.

Today the Rivendale property provides inexpensive parking for folks using the trails in the canyon that are part of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority park system.

For a short time, along with the land my folks leased in Pico Canyon, we leased a small portion of Towsley from Standard Oil for additional grazing area for our herd. Like Pico, it, too, was very cheap to rent. About $ 75 a year.  So, for a year, we had a big spread – with a lot more fences to check.

There were barns and stables that are long-since gone. A simple gate kept the public out and the cattle in. There was never any talk of Shakespeare or native American gatherings or concerts. It was a quiet place with only the traffic from Highway 99 as a background noise producer.

Times have changed. The 60 acres of Santa Clarita are an area of open space with city limits, and that land might just fill the need for an outdoor amphitheater that could accommodate live theater (such as the Shakespeare Festival), native American gatherings (such as those of the Fernandeno-Tataviam Band of Mission Indians), various concerts and many other events.  Planning has started, and Santa Clarita needs the input of citizens to help in the decision process.

This coming Saturday, March 2, at 10 a.m. at Wiley Canyon School, there will be a meeting to discuss just that – what the Rivendale property might become and how it should be used. Come out and let the City know your thoughts.

In the past, various groups have indicated they’d like exclusive use of the area. Some yell for more sports fields for soccer and such. Others want a performing arts stage, and still others want their own spot in the SCV.

RivendaleOS-Outreach-Mtg-copy3-323x250I’m here to tell you that no one entity should get exclusive use. Not a one. It has to be useful to everyone in some way. Additional soccer fields would be nice, but many of us don’t play the sport. A place for a company of actors devoted to Shakespeare would also be nice, but what about others’ plays and concerts and pow-wows and maybe even the celebration of, well, anything?

Historically, the place was used for oil drilling. That wouldn’t fly today. But later it was used for filming, so theater is a natural fit. So are all of the other uses. Used by all, it would only add to one of the best places in our valley.

But in doing “whatever,” we must use the environment properly. Maybe parking lots need to remain of gravel but maintained. In many places, like where I lived in Virginia, folks park on the grass for such events. We can’t have vast lawns to park upon, but we do have gravel. The rain soaks in and doesn’t wash off a paved area carrying the oil and dirt from cars.

And if it is to be an amphitheater, it should blend into the environment. I’ve seen plays and concerts where the performers seemed to come from behind trees and large boulders to perform.  The benches could be as simple as possible, too.

Keeping it simple is the key to the thing. Nothing fancy. Use what is available and leave nature to do the rest.

The early film folks here in the SCV did just that. They used what was available and left the rest. Hope we have learned that lesson.

 

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. David Stears says:

    Thank you Darryl for such a rich portrait of Towsley. As the Executive Director of the Shakespeare Festival, I agree with you one hundred percent: balanced approach to any project in the space, incorporating the natural environment, and non-exclusive, shared use by residents and local groups. Shakespeare, other plays, concerts, celebrations, hiking groups, and many others can share the space. How wonderful would it be to have a new trailhead for hikers (with water, information, restroom, maybe an emergency phone). The City remains a wonderful project partner for local groups and residents. There is no need to have a an exclusive group be a master lease holder and control the site. Our residents need to speak up and make sure this beautiful park remains open and available to everyone.

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, Sep 16, 2017
While not perfect, SB 54 kept intact our ability to maintain partnerships with federal law enforcement officials who help us in the fight against gangs, drugs and human trafficking. It also retains the controlled access that the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has to our jails.
Thursday, Sep 7, 2017
Local residents have the right to record things their congressional leaders and legislative staff members say to residents of the 25th District and any of Rep. Knight's town hall meetings and legislative decisions.
Tuesday, Sep 5, 2017
Speaking with one of our Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies recently, he was telling me about the hardest part of his job.
Friday, Sep 1, 2017
Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth invites residents to join him for the Santa Clara River Rally cleanup on Saturday, September 23.
Thursday, Aug 24, 2017
McConnell’s herd was among the Republicans who have been yelling about repealing an replacing Obamacare for over seven years, and now he says Trump is expecting a change too soon?
Thursday, Aug 24, 2017
I started by asking my grandchildren what color they would use to draw a fox. I handed them a box of crayons. The situation became impossible when both started fighting over the red crayon.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
A group of Newhall School District parents upset the elementary school calendar doesn’t match up to the high school one plan to attend this week’s board meeting, continuing a “walk-out” threat.
NSD Parents Upset Over School’s Calendar; Threaten Walk-Out
Six Flags Magic Mountain's biggest season of Fright Fest, presented by Snickers, reopened Saturday.
Magic Mountain Fright Fest Back, Bigger Than Ever
Child pornography resulted in a six-month jail sentence for a Santa Clarita man Monday, officials said.
Santa Clarita Man Suspected of Child Pornography Pleads No Contest
California Credit Union is inviting all Los Angeles County teachers who have a great class project idea to apply for a credit union grant through its bi-annual Teacher Grant Program.
CCU’s Fall Teacher Grant Applications Underway
California's housing market defied gravity as existing home sales and median home price registered increases on both a monthly and an annual basis in August, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said Monday.
State Sees Increase in Housing Market
1863 - Gen. Edward F. Beale loans money to A.A. Hudson and Oliver P. Robbins to erect toll house in Newhall Pass [story]
California State University, Northridge students and faculty have joined forces with Bet Tzedek to expand legal aid for undocumented parents of CSUN students.
CSUN, Bet Tzedek Expand Legal Aid for Students’ Undocumented Parents
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, the family of a missing 16 year old Hart High student is asking the community for help in locating him. Plus, dust off your resumes: COC is hosting its Fall semester Job & Career Fair soon. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Monday, September 18, 2017
The Governing Board of the Saugus Union School District is extending the deadline to apply for the 7-11 Advisory Committee through Thursday, September 21 at 4 p.m.
Saugus School District Extends Deadline to Apply for Surplus Committee
After letting an early two-set lead slip away, the TMU Mustangs volleyball team rallied from behind to secure a 3-2 win over the San Diego Christian Hawks Saturday night.
Mustangs Volleyball Team Rallies to Beat San Diego Christian 3-2
The Master's University and Bethesda University battled 110 minutes to a scoreless draw in double-overtime Saturday afternoon on Reese Field.
TMU, Bethesda Men’s Soccer Teams Battle to 0-0 Draw in Double Overtime
The TMU Mustangs men's and women's cross-country teams raced in the open division of UC Riverside’s event Saturday.
TMU Cross Country Impresses at UC Riverside Invitational
The TMU Mustangs volleyball team rallied to win sets four and five against Arizona Christian Friday, taking the match 3-2 on Bross Court.
TMU Volleyball Edges Arizona Christian 3-2
The Gentle Barn is celebrating its 18th year of spreading compassion and hope for animals around the world from its current locations in Santa Clarita, California, Knoxville, Tennessee and the newest animal sanctuary set to open September 24 near St. Louis.
Gentle Barn Animal Rescue Sanctuary Turns 18
“Wildwood Canyon: The Resilience of Nature,” a photography exhibit by artist Kristina Jacob, will be on display at the Jo Anne Darcy Library in Canyon Country from September 26 through January 24.
Sept. 26: Wildwood Canyon Photo Exhibit at Darcy Library
October is National Arts and Humanities Month and to celebrate the city of Santa Clarita will host ARTober during the month.
October is ‘Artober’ in Santa Clarita
College of the Canyons will host the one-day conference, “It’s Still Happening Right Here! Human Trafficking,” on Friday, Sept. 22 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Sept. 22: COC Hosts Human Trafficking Conference
College of the Canyons hosted the 2017 California Community College Athletic Association Southern California Preview on Friday, attracting a field of more than 500 cross-country runners to the course at Central Park in Santa Clarita.
Canyons Women Take Second at CCCAA SoCal Preview
The Dodgers enter the final leg of their 10-game road trip (4-2) tonight with the first of four against the Philadelphia Phillies, with Clayton Kershaw on the mound.
Dodgers and Kershaw Open 4-Game Stand in Philadelphia
Family members report they have found Elias Ortiz, a 16-year-old Newhall resident who had been missing since Saturday night.
Newhall Teen Missing Since Saturday Found
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that six of 27 national monuments under review by the Trump administration be reduced in size, with changes to several others proposed, but the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is not on Zinke's shrink list.
San Gabriel National Monument Not on Interior Secretary’s Shrink List
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce will move from its present location at City Hall to new office space at 28494 Westinghouse Place, Suite 114, Valencia 91355, on October 12.
October 12: SCV Chamber Moves to New Office
The Modesto Nuts pulled away late and swept the California League Championship Series with an 8-1 victory over the JetHawks in Game 3 on Friday night at John Thurman Field, ending the season for the Lancaster team.
JetHawks Swept in CLCS to End 2017 Season
New stencils on Santa Clarita crosswalks are part of the city's 'Heads Up' pedestrian safety program.
‘Heads Up’ Crosswalk Stencils Boost Santa Clarita’s Pedestrian Safety Effort
Senate Constitutional Amendment 12, or SCA-12, authored by Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Los Angeles) with Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) the principal co-author, has passed by the State Senate on a bipartisan vote of 27-7.
Mendoza-Wilk Supervisors Expansion Bill Clears State Senate
The California Highway Patrol's Newhall station screened 375 vehicles in a DUI checkpoint in Stevenson Ranch Friday night but made no arrests.
CHP Screens 375 Vehicles in Stevenson Ranch DUI Checkpoint
A man died of a suspected heroin overdose in the 17000 block of Sierra Highway in Canyon Country late Friday night, according to SCV Sheriff's Station officials.
Canyon Country Man Dead of Suspected Heroin Overdose
1962 - Articles of incorporation filed for Golden State Memorial Hospital on Lyons Avenue [story]
1879 - First official Newhall School building erected near Walnut & Ninth streets [story]
While not perfect, SB 54 kept intact our ability to maintain partnerships with federal law enforcement officials who help us in the fight against gangs, drugs and human trafficking. It also retains the controlled access that the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has to our jails.
Changes to ‘Sanctuary’ Bill Made it Better | Commentary by Sheriff Jim McDonnell
In the conceptual planning stages for decades, the extension of Lyons Avenue to Dockweiler Drive could finally be shifting out of neutral.
Plans Are Out for Lyons Extension to Dockweiler
1872 - Sulphur Springs School District established by Mitchells and Langs [story]
Jack Shine, founder and president of American Beauty Homes and a key figure in the development of affordable housing for veterans in the Santa Clarita Valley, died Thursday. He was 82.
SCV Home Builder, Philanthropist Jack Shine Dies at 82
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today reiterated his call for consumers to take action to protect their identities in light of the recent Equifax data breach, and provided links to do so online.
AG Urges Consumers to Take Action After Equifax Data Breach
The Santa Clarita City Council's Public Safety Committee will meet at City Hall to review preliminary plans for the new Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station on Tuesday, September 19 starting at 3 p.m.
September 19: City Public Safety Officials Review Plans for New Sheriff’s Station