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July 21
1952 - 7.5-magnitude Kern County earthquake devastates Tehachapi; damage spread from San Diego to Las Vegas [story]

Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015

darrylmanzer_blacktieI’m asking for some help. No, not the kind you think I need, but some help in the form of historical information and personal stories about a few of the buildings and objects we have at Heritage Junction in William S. Hart Park in Newhall.

Did you ever get on or off of a passenger train at Saugus Station? Maybe you picked up a package or some freight there. Maybe you remember the old steam engines that stopped there, too. We need a lot of the stories. It is part of our history of the SCV.

I remember when the Pardee House was the telephone company. Didn’t we pay our phone bills there in person? I don’t remember. Some of you might. It was the place where the telephone operators would connect the SCV with the rest of the world. I wonder how many times they heard someone from our valley say to a relative calling from the cold Midwest, “Everyone out of the pool – we’ve got a call from Nebraska.” My dad loved saying that even if it was 35 degrees out and we had the heat turned up high.

The Pardee House, now at Heritage Junction, used to stand where Veterans Historical Plaza is located today. It used to be the telephone company office, among other things. Click to see what else.

The Pardee House, now at Heritage Junction, used to stand where Veterans Historical Plaza is located today. It used to be the telephone company office, among other things. Click to see what else.

I know many folks remember the Newhall Ranch House. It is said to be haunted. How about it, folks? I think there are still some people around who lived in it about the same time I lived in the Pico Cottage in Mentryville. Care to tell us your memories?

Did you ever sneak into Melody Ranch and play around the train engines?

We are also looking for folks who lived in an Edison House like the one we have at the Junction. Same goes for stories about Kingsburry House.

The Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society is looking for all y’all and the history you hold for those great moments that you remember of those buildings and our old train engine.

We’d love to make a video of you telling your story. Sort of a living history interview so that we can fill in some of the gaps the record doesn’t quite have down correctly.

I’m sure the statute of limitations has passed, so any stories won’t send you to jail.

Much our history in this valley is recorded in old photographs. We have thousands of photos at Heritage Junction. Do you have any that might help the Historical Society cover some ground? Maybe a snapshot of kids at the roller rink that used to be at the corner of Railroad and Magic Mountain? How about a view of the hills before Valencia and Magic Mountain? I don’t know what you might have, but there are some more out there, I’m sure.

The SCV Historical Society is starting a fundraising effort and getting some trees planted, too. For donors who contribute $5,000, we will plant a tree and have a plaque with your name next to it. Maybe you want to honor someone in your family? Dedicate a tree to them.

That is one of the many examples of some ways you can contribute to our history. A tree will outlive most of us. Imagine a valley or California live oak that could be around 100 or so years from now. The folks will read the plaque and think you were really a great person for helping preserve our heritage.

Membership in the society is really cheap. $30 a year for individuals and $50 for a family. We have a price for seniors and students, too. Corporations and companies can also lend a hand. The Society is a nonprofit 501c3 qualified charity organization.

This year, 2015, is the year my father would have turned 100. Next Aug. 8 to be exact. I think of the stories about our local history he could have told us like his times of when he was a deputy at the “Honor Farm” and was in charge of the dairy. Maybe the garage he had near Gorman in the late 1940s would be what he would talk about. Saving the Pico Cottage was one of his proudest accomplishments in his life. Just after Thanksgiving in 1959, he came home with news that we would move into that house after Christmas. That little piece of history was saved.

We didn’t have video camera in those days, and of course we didn’t think to write much down or even record any of them on tape (reel to reel). Now is the chance to do just that.

We would like to hear from you, each and every one. If you think you’ve got a story to tell about the SCV “way back when,” please contact me. The email address appears below.

If you don’t tell your story, it might never be heard. That would mean a piece of history would be lost forever. Maybe it is the one way folks will know you were even here. Maybe the only way.

Let me know. I love a good story, don’t you?


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, where he serves as executive director of the SCV Historical Society. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

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  1. I’d be interested in learning more about the history of Perkins Court on 6th St, where OutWest is now located along with 3 other businesses. I know the Signal offices were here at one time but I’ve heard visitors recall taking ballet classes here and a dentist office being in the front unit facing 6th St. There must be lots of great stories about the business history of these units.

  2. Frank Williams says:

    My mom Isabell Williams came to Newhall in the 40’s and she is will be 90 this year. She was married to Tommy Rivera who was related to the Rivera’s of Newhall. He is buried in the Ruiz Cemetary. My mom was a telephone operator way back when they would connect you on the switchboard. Tommy died when she was young and had 3 very young daughters.

  3. I have previously posted my memories of paying the phone bill at the Pardee home. In the 1960’s my Mom thought it was important for a child to learn to do certain things, ensure you got the correct change, etc. (Yes, we paid the phone bill in cash.) My Mom would wait in the car, send us in (my older sister and I) to pay. The ladies were,always so nice. They would sometimes give us the little “princess” phone keychains. We loved them because they were the perfect size to use for our Barbie. I have very vivid memories about this, the Tumble In, getting Buster Brown shoes on San Fernando Road, getting sick at Harrys Shoe Repair, Tops Shoes, Holiday Hardware on Lyons, 4th of July watching the fireworks from the Hart High bleachers, buying milk from the dairy on Placerita Cyn (bottles), pony rides where the old Green House Cafe now sits (Ross shopping center), getting in a a roll over crash on Seco Cyn and landing in the driveway if the newly built fire station, and so much more!

  4. Try posting this in SCV *ISO* In Search Of Group

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