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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Partly sunny
Partly sunny
70°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
April 20
1874 - First train out of L.A. to reach new town of San Fernando; Newhall 2 years later [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Mar 2, 2014

darrylmanzer021014Rain. Lots of rain with a little bit of lightning and thunder. We also had rocks and mud dropping or flowing on our roads and hillsides. Even our river had water in it. Glorious rain.

The smell of just-washed sagebrush is something that lets me know I’m in my hometown. Sometimes it doesn’t get better than what we just had the past three days.

Friday night I was in the little town of Acton at the northeast end of the SCV. Crown Valley Road had become a river. I was in my Jeep and made it through. By the way, it might be about the closest thing to a car wash my Jeep has had in the last six months. Jeeps just look better with a little dirt and mud as decoration.

For many years I’ve stated that I knew of no deaths occurring in Mentryville or Pico Canyon during the oil boom years. This week I found out I’ve been wrong. It seems an oil worker – they were called miners back then – died on the job, and later, the father of Alec Mentry died in the canyon after walking to Newhall. His body wasn’t found for 12 years. So maybe the ghost stories could have some basis after all. Naw … if so, we’ve got to call Ghostbusters.

For those of you who want to have a tour of the old place called Mentryville, the Santa Clarita Community Hiking Club has asked me to lead one May 3. It will start at 8 a.m. (or 0800 for us former military types) at the parking lot across the creek from Felton School. More on this as it nears.

Mentryville in Pico Canyon, 1885-1891 | Click to view

Mentryville in Pico Canyon, 1885-1891 | Click to view

I also see an old argument about the color of the buildings in Pico Canyon-Mentryville has resurfaced. First let me state, once again: the barn, schoolhouse and chicken house were not painted red until the 1970s. They were gray or, in the idiom of the day, “buff.” Recently an old picture showed the schoolhouse to be a dark color. It wasn’t red. A black-and-white photograph won’t show the color.

But many photographs show dark-sided buildings and homes. Just what was the color? Well, paint was expensive. It also was difficult to transport. Since most of the structures in Mentryville were built of redwood, there was no reason to paint them. Also, many folks knew those same houses would be moved to another oil field, so the places weren’t painted at all. The redwood darkened quickly, and thus the color in the pictures is just … dark.

An example of a dark-sided and unpainted building was the Wolcott barn that was lost in the 1962 fire. It was unpainted redwood. It looked dark brown.

The old foreman’s shack on CSO Hill above the CSO No. 4 oil well was also bare wood. Dark brown redwood.

An important building such as Mr. Mentry’s home or “cottage” was painted, and that can be seen in the photographs. Later, when the current 13-room cottage was built, it was painted the “buff” gray just like that found on ships of the Navy in later years. As a side note, battleships of the U.S. Navy were painted white until 1907.

History is strangely dynamic. I remember when I first found that out. It isn’t just a collection of dates about people, places and things. History is all about people and how they acted and felt and loved and hated. It is a record of cultures past and present.

So when I find out something new or different about a subject I thought I had a vast knowledge of, I’m humbled by a new piece of information that has a significant impact on my former beliefs.

Click to read

Click to read more

Like finding out that Alec Mentry probably died of typhoid fever and not a “kissing bug.”

… or learning the Alec Mentry’s father died while returning from Newhall to Pico Canyon – AND that it was 12 years before the body was found.

… and that another worker died on the job in the oil field.

Heck, I’ve just learned the early oil workers were called miners. I was a miner once. From 1962 to 1965. Right after that, I became an Indian and then a Matador, followed by being a sailor.

Now I’m just retired, with more time to learn more about what I should have known years ago.

Well, maybe I did know a lot of this history. It just wasn’t as important then. Not when there was Jane, Cheryl, Kathie, Diane…

You get the idea.

But I never heard about ghosts and deaths and the like. Guess I just didn’t pay attention to the rattling chains and odd noises. I thought that was normal.

 

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 Tuesdays and 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.

2 Comments

  1. Looks like I’m going to be doing some ghost hunting! Lol

  2. Looks like I’m going to be doing some ghost hunting! Lol

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
Monday, Apr 16, 2018
The best way to fight kidney disease is to find it before trouble starts. But if you’ve already been diagnosed, Medicare can help you make informed decisions about your care.
Thursday, Apr 12, 2018
In 2016, California voters went to the polls and made it clear they wanted elected state officials to spend more money on school construction and passed Proposition 51 to invest $9 billion to upgrade aging buildings, build new schools where needed and build Career Technical Education (CTE) facilities to support better CTE programs.
Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018
Despite voter approval of construction funds in 2016, school districts are struggling to explain to their communities why the state is refusing to release the majority of the money.
Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” — Frank Lloyd Wright
Monday, Apr 2, 2018
Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste and the City Council invite residents to celebrate the 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, which officially kicks off April 19.
Friday, Mar 16, 2018
Quentin Kopp, retired judge and Bay Area politician, was once chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority and helped sell the bullet train to voters. He’s now suing to stop it, saying, "The litigation, which is pending, will result, I am confident, in the termination of the High-Speed Rail Authority's deceiving plan."

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
California State University will not increase tuition for the 2018-19 academic year, but will continue to fight for increased funding to meet its current needs, according to Chancellor Timothy P. White.
California State University Decides Not to Increase 2018 Tuition
Wednesday, May 2 is the deadline to apply for one of 23 positions with the Santa Clarita Library.
May 2: Deadline to Apply for 23 Santa Clarita Library Jobs
1874 - First train out of L.A. to reach new town of San Fernando; Newhall 2 years later [story]
NORTHRIDGE - CSUN beach volleyball honored its first seniors Thursday, just after the Matadors improved to 15-6 with a 5-0 sweep over Cal State Los Angeles at the CSUN Beach Volleyball Facility.
Matadors Celebrate Senior Day, Sweep of UC Irvine
Parents from Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts, and Sciences were notified Wednesday that Einstein will surrender its charter from the Acton Agua Dulce Unified School District and shutter its campuses.
Einstein Academy to Close Charter Schools
NORTHRIDGE - CSUN Baseball (17-19, 5-4 BWC) resume Big West play this weekend with a three-game series against UC Irvine at Matador Field.
Matadors Resume Big West Play with 3 Game Set Against UC Irvine
The California Enterprise Development Authority will hold a teleconference meeting Thursday, April 26, at 10:30 a.m.
April 26: California Enterprise Development Authority Teleconference Meeting
The Santa Clarita City Council will be holding its regular meeting Tuesday, April 24, at 6:00 p.m.
April 24: City Council Regular Meeting
Solo Flight Swing is a Southern California-based western swing band that performs hot western-swing, dixie, bop, originals, and covers.
April 20: Solo Flight Swing at The MAIN
The County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) celebrates National Volunteer Appreciation Week starting on April 15 - April 22.
Volunteers of the Year Recognized by County Animal Control
In partnership with the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center and Alzheimer's Greater Los Angeles, College of the Canyons will be offering the next workshop for family caregivers.
April 28: Family Caregivers Workshop
Once again, the Paseo Aquatics Club entered the pool undermanned and underdogs, and came away with an impressive 15th place finish against 75 other teams, many of which were double and triple in size, at the recent Speedo Short Course Far Western Championships hosted by Santa Clara Swim Club.
Underdogs Paseo Aquatics Club Holds Their Own in Top State Meet
A reckless driver on Railroad Avenue led to a pursuit that landed four suspects in custody on Wednesday.
Newhall Pursuit Ends with Four Suspects in Custody
LANCASTER - Rancho Cucamonga homered five times Wednesday night as Lancaster fell, 11-4, in the series finale at The Hangar. Rancho’s Rylan Bannon became the second California League player this season to hit three home runs in a game.
JetHawks Fall to Quakes in Series Finale
Here is the Stevenson Ranch Crime Information and Public Safety Report for the week of April 9 - 15:
Crime Blotter: Assault, Grand Theft Auto, Burglary in Stevenson Ranch
SACRAMENTO - California State Auditor released Thursday an audit requested by Senator Scott Wilk, R - Antelope Valley, last spring concerning homelessness in California and specifically the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority's administration of public funds.
Audit on Homelessness Highlights Need for Improvement, Services
(SACRAMENTO) - Californians who filed tax returns this week must unfortunately wait nearly a week longer until they've collectively earned enough money to pay off their total tax bill for the year.
April 23: California Tax Freedom Day
Here is the Saugus (Zone 4) Public Safety and Crime Information Report for the week of April 9 - 15:
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft Auto, Assault with Deadly Weapon in Saugus
1880 - Pico Oil Spring Mine Section 2 patented by R.F. Baker and Edward F. Beale [story]
'Make Believe: The World of Glen Keane,' celebrating the work of Oscar-winning Disney animator and CalArts alum Glen Keane (Film/Video ’74), opened at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco March 8 and will be on display through Sept. 3.
Oscar-Winning CalArts Animator Glen Keane Showcased at Disney in SF
College of the Canyons' softball team continued its conference unbeaten streak on Tuesday, downing Antelope Valley College 13-4 in Lancaster to clinch the Western State Conference East Division Championship.
Cougars Clinch Conference Championship in 13-4 Win Over AVC
The city of Santa Clarita, in partnership with FEMA and Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), will host a free QuakeSmart Preparedness Workshop at The Centre for local businesses and organizations on Wednesday, May 30, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
May 30: City, FEMA, FLASH Earthquake Preparedness Workshop
The California State University, Northridge Tom and Ethel Bradley Center has received a grant for $315,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the creation of a digital database of the Richard Cross 1950-1980 Photographic Collection.
CSUN Receives $315K Grant to Digitize Richard Cross Photo Collection
COC's Canyon Country campus will stage the first-ever CanyonsFest Music Festival on Sunday, May 6, featuring Sue Rey and The Runarounds, Robert Heft Blues Band, Mary White and Magnolia Drawl, and Savannah Burrows.
May 6: CanyonFEST Music Festival at COC Canyon Country
Rep. Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley) introduced H.R. 5546 on Wednesday to authorize the use of certain Department of Defense funds for combating opioid trafficking and abuse in the United States.
Knight Intros Bill to Use DoD Funds to Combat Illegal Drug Trafficking
The Senate Committee on Education on Wednesday unanimously approved Senate Bill 1356 introduced by Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Antelope Valley), to provide state funding for a California Institute for Aerospace in the Antelope Valley.
Wilk Push for Aerospace Institute Rockets Through First Committee Hearing
The Lancaster JetHawks used a pair of timely hits to down Rancho Cucamonga, 11-7, Tuesday night at The Hangar.
Clutch Hitting Helps JetHawks Down Rancho 11-7
One of the premier events associated with the 25th annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival is the narrated bus tour of historic sites in the Santa Clarita Valley, set for Sunday, April 22, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
April 22: Narrated Bus Tour of Historic SCV Sites
Western Music Hall of Famer and Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival favorite Dave Stamey will play a lunchtime concert at the Rancho Camulos National Historic Landmark and museum near Piru on Friday, April 20.
April 20: Dave Stamey at Rancho Camulos Museum
California's housing market continued its momentum as seasonally adjusted, existing home sales rose both month-to-month and year-to-year in March, while the statewide median price accelerated to an eight-month high, the California Association of Realtors said Tuesday.
California Realtors: March Median Home Price Hits 8-Month High
The Men of Harmony Barbershop Chorus invites singers and anyone who needs some entertainment to attend the Chorus's 2018 Open House in Newhall on Tuesday, May 8 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
May 8: Men of Harmony Chorus to Host Open House
A 20-year-old Castaic man who was filmed driving with his feet prior to a collision was arrested Friday on charges of DUI with great bodily harm, according to the SCV Sheriff's Station.
Foot-Driving Castaic Man Arrested for DUI in Saugus Crash
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a Stevenson Ranch man for allegedly receiving stolen property and a pair of transients in Newhall on multiple warrants on Tuesday, according to station officials.
SCV Crime Beat: Probationer, Transients with Warrants Arrested
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a Whittier man suspected of drunk driving and for multiple alcohol and drug offenses on Saturday, according to station officials.
Whittier Man Arrested for DUI, Multiple Charges in Newhall
1945 - Actors Harry & Olive Carey sell Saugus ranch after 29 years; now Tesoro del Valle [story]
Join the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce as the Boy & Girls Club of Santa Clarita marks its 50th Anniversary, Thursday, May 10.
May 10: Boys & Girls Club Santa Clarita Celebrates 50th Anniversary