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S.C.V. History
October 4
1900 - Pico oil driller Alex Mentry (as in Mentryville) succumbs to typhoid fever at California Hospital in Los Angeles [story]
Alex Mentry


The Santa Clarita City Council unanimously approved Mayor Laurene Weste’s motion for the city to take ownership of the SCVHistory.com archive along with a $300,000 funding request to upgrade its technology.

The 4-0 vote in favor of the request included Mayor Pro Tem Jason Gibbs and Council Members Marsha McLean and Bill Miranda. Council Member Cameron Smyth was absent due to an obligation relating to his son’s enrollment in college in San Luis Obispo.

The City Council heard from 25 community members during the Sept. 13 meeting and reportedly received more than 30 letters in support of the funding request.

“This is the broadest base of community I’ve ever seen in one room mostly agreeing on something,” said Weste. “It is a remarkable night.”

Once the update of the website is complete, the website will transfer to the city where it is expected to be incorporated into the Santa Clarita Public Library system.

SCVHistory.com is a comprehensive digital history archive and repository for the Santa Clarita Valley, owned and maintained by SCVTV. The site began in 1996 with a few dozen historic photographs and has grown in the last 26 years to house tens of thousands of archival items in various digital formats.

It serves as a repository for historical images including local family photos, books, film, documents, and oral histories of significance to the community, documenting events such as the St. Francis Dam Disaster, the earliest gold discovery and oil production in California, and the beginning – and continuation – of the film industry. Groups that frequently visit the website range from the general public to academic researchers, filmmakers, educators and public agencies.

Many of the speakers at the meeting supporting the funding request referred to the website’s use by students in the SCV, especially in the third grade, where the state curriculum includes a study of local community history.

RuthAnne Murthy, a retired third-grade teacher in Castaic, spoke to the council about how crucial the resources of SCVHistory.com were to the development of a history curriculum in SCV schools.

“I knew nothing about local history,” she said. “I was fortunate to stumble upon SCVHistory.com and I spent countless hours on the website learning about our incredible history.”

Murthy ended up using the resources from SCVHistory.com to develop a teaching curriculum that has been used in multiple school districts across the valley.

Jessica Boyer, Executive Director of SCVTV, the nonprofit operator of the city of Santa Clarita’s public television channel, said her connection to SCVHistory.com was not only professional, but personal.

“About 20 years ago, I was introduced to scvhistory.com for my third-grade local history project at Highlands Elementary School. My teacher, Mrs. Benz, used the website to develop her curriculum. My mom and I used the website to research and find the historic landmarks,” she said. “Luckily, my parents had saved it all these years and I brought it for you today.”

Boyer then displayed her third-grade project to laughter in the council chamber.

“I developed an interest in history and storytelling after this project, and I spent a lot of my free time on the weekends watching the History Channel and puttering in the garage, listening to family stories with my dad. I used this site for my schooling at Arroyo Seco Junior High, Saugus High School, College of the Canyons, Pierce College and California State University, Northridge.”

Jim Ventress, former executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of SCV, urged the council to vote in favor of the grant.

“One of the things I’ve enjoyed most since coming to the SCV is learning the history of the SCV. We have so much history here. It’s important to continue to compile, protect and share these materials, as well as our future history,” he said.

“I want to be very clear about this,” said Leon Worden, President of SCVTV and founder of SCVHistory.com, when he addressed the council. “We are not asking the city to give us a dime for ourselves, or for some program we want to run. We are trying to give you something. Not only my life’s work, but also 26 years of contributions from hundreds upon hundreds of community members and organizations. After all, what is our history if not the family photos and stories of our people and the things they’ve done?”

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