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Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 16
1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]

Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014

mug_darrylmanzerAlong with my thoughts of places and streets, it comes to mind, thanks to a close friend, that some names are just plain strange.

Some recent additions are “Hidden Valley” – it’s a housing development that sits on a hill. It also has a street named “Mentry Drive” that is not in any way near Mentryville. It is near a street called “Crestview” that is on a crest of the hill, so you can’t view the crest you’re on, and that ends at Skyridge Drive.

What and where is Honby? At one time, it had a water stop for train engines, and it was also a place where helper engines would be added to a train that was headed over the pass toward Palmdale. By the way, it is pronounced, HAWN-bee.

Did you know there are streets on the map that sound a little bit Hawaiian? There are some spelling problems as the words migrated here to the mainland, but we have a Niihau and Kahoolave street in the Polynesian Mobile Home Park, along with Monakea, Lahaina and Haleakala streets. I don’t think Hawaii would appreciate some of those spellings of Hawaiian places. But hey, here on the mainland, we don’t use words like that.

As much as we “love” Valencia, it was a name picked nearly at random for it’s marketing value. Much was made in the local paper about having a whole new city named after a thick-skinned orange.

We know about Lang Station and the Lang Ranch, but as parts of the ranch were sold we got “Pole Canyon.” It was purchased from Mr. Lang by a group of Polish folks who had recently arrived in our valley – in 1880 or so. It is really close to Bear Canyon, where a huge grizzly bear was shot way back when – if you can believe the story.

Another grizzly bear story is from Fort Tejon. Legend has it that a trapper named Lebeck (from which we get “Lebec”) was killed by a big bear and buried under an oak tree where Fort Tejon was established. We aren’t sure of that story, as the other “oak tree tale” is the Oak of the Golden Dream in Placerita Canyon. You know that yarn, too. Senor Lopez takes a nap under that oak tree and dreams of gold. Sure enough, he awakens and pulls a wild onion that was grown near the tree. The onion had gold on it, and the story became “true.”

Just a few problems with that story: Onions don’t grown under oak trees, because the fallen leaves of the oak are toxic to the onion, and the story was verified many, many years after the fact of the gold discovery. It did help to give Placerita Canyon its name and a mascot for Placerita Junior High, the Miners.

They could have been some of the early oil men of Placerita and Pico; drillers of oil wells were called “miners” in days of old.

mentry-tibbittsSouth of Newhall Ranch Road, we can find street names that combine famous names from the era of the Central Pacific Railroad, Avenues Crocker, and Stanford and Huntington, along with modern names like Avenue Tibbitts, which is crossed by Avenue Mentry. Samuel Tibbitts was the man from the Lutheran Hospital Society who partnered with Newhall Land to bring us Henry Mayo Hospital.

Mr. Mentry was nearly forgotten, and now his name pops up all over – except in Mentryville. The one and only street is Pico Canyon Road.

You know someone isn’t from here when you hear them say, “Agua Dull-chee” instead of “Dool-say.” Some folks call it Sweetwater.

Find these places on a map today: Bonelli tract. American Beauty and North Oaks. The last two were in Saugus until we started calling that area Canyon Country.

And Saugus was once the location of Newhall until Newhall moved to where it is today. Saugus was for a time called “Surrey.” Don’t know why. Maybe it just sounded good at the time.

Now I challenge folks to locate Wickham Canyon and Minnie-Lotta Canyon … which also brings to mind another tract that sits on top of a now-covered canyon. And just how did “Southern Oaks” get that name? There were no “southern oaks” there in Stevenson Ranch, but it did have lots of good old California live oaks.

And I’m still amazed at “Seco Canyon” Road. In its previous name it was the eastern side of the Bonelli tract.

More names stuff soon. I’m kind of liking this search. All y’all be good now.


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].


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  1. Whispering Leaves is kinda weak…

  2. Whispering Leaves is kinda weak…

  3. Dwayne Pine Dwayne Pine says:

    As long as they dont name any more streets after our local polititions

  4. Chris Rider Chris Rider says:

    Don’t want streets named after developers friends first names as well

  5. Gailxy drives me crazy!!

  6. First time I drove into “Friendly Valley” ( a senior community) a senior driving out flipped me the bird!!!!’ I think they got the name wrong!!!!!!

  7. Heidi J says:

    We live on Elvira Road, always thought that was strange.

  8. Jennifer Rashid says:

    Calypso Ln. Were not in the Caribbean so how do we end up with a name of a type of music or a goddess?

  9. Dave Lee Dave Lee says:

    Yeah! What’s the deal with Gailxy? Does anyone know?

  10. Yeah and stop naming the streets of elected politicians instead try naming the street after a fallen hero who fought and died for are country that live in Santa Clarita. Cjc

  11. Dave , when they named all those side streets off Soledad,way back,,they put together the names of the contractors wives,,!!!! All those stupid girl names!!!that don’t make sense,,,

  12. Karla Love Karla Love says:

    lmfao.. what about Heller Dr. Angel Reyes like HELLLURRRRR lol in my (Madea) voice

  13. Streets that change names is one of my SCV pet peeves! Why do that? This is very obvious when traveling Newhall Ranch.

  14. What’s the deal with airline food anyway?

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