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S.C.V. History
September 18
1962 - Articles of incorporation filed for Golden State Memorial Hospital on Lyons Avenue [story]
Golden State Hospital


The “history” in the following story was based primarily on information in the city record. That information was provided to the city by local historians prior to 1991. Soon after the city agenda report and the following story below were published, the writer discovered huge discrepancies in the historical record. For the time being, none of the history presented here should be considered factual. Once we’ve made the necessary changes and corrections, we’ll remove this message.

 

And then there were seven.

The burned-out shell of a historic house in Newhall will be cleared away once the Santa Clarita City Council gives the go-ahead Tuesday.

Built about 1878 in Pico Canyon as a guest house for oil field executives and moved to Newhall early in the last century, the so-called Star Oil House was destroyed by fire Nov. 2, 2014.

Someone inside the vacant house knocked over a candle. Flames ripped through the roof and gutted much of the small wooden building.

staroilhouse2015bOne of only eight structures outside of William S. Hart Park to have been deemed historically significant by the City Council in 2013, the house was a total loss. The fire destroyed its structural integrity and with it, its historic value. City officials “red tagged” the building Nov. 4 and secured it to keep people out.

The property owner, who lives in Redondo Beach, offered to donate the property to the city, for which he would receive a tax write-off.

On Tuesday the City Council will consider receiving a donation of the property at 24148 Pine Street (east of the railroad tracks between 4th and 5th streets). It will also consider removing its historic designation and authorizing the demolition of the house and two other small structures on the 12,240-square-foot property.

Then the city will have the option to build on the property or sell it. It’s zoned for residential development (which it has been all along) or low-intensity non-residential development such as a day care center or restaurant.

staroilhouse2015aExactly when the Star Oil House was moved from Pico Canyon to Newhall is unknown. Assessor records show two dwellings on the property: an 856-square-foot 2-plus-1 with a construction date of 1929; and a 732-square-foot 1-plus-1 with a construction date of 1934 and a remodel date of 1939. One of those is the historic house. The third structure on the property is a small storage shed.

The Star Oil House was historically significant not so much for its design – a vernacular wood-frame building – but rather for the history that walked through its front door and slept under its medium-pitch, side-gable roof.

It was built as a company house of California Star Oil Works, the outfit that hired Charles Mentry to drill wells in Pico Canyon. Mentry put the Santa Clarita Valley on the map in 1876 when he brought in California’s first commercially successful oil well. The petroleum industry would prove to be a major employer of Newhall townsfolk for decades.

Star Oil House in 2009

Star Oil House in 2009

George Washington didn’t sleep there, but Demetrius G. Scofield did. He was the company president and one of the early believers in the potential of oil – not for gasoline (there were no automobiles then), but to light lamps. Petroleum was better and more plentiful than whale oil (not to mention less brutal). Scofield became the first president of Standard Oil Co. of California when John D. Rockefeller bought him out in 1900.

Charles N. Felton slept there, too; he was a major financier and ran the other company in Pico Canyon, Pacific Coast Oil. Felton was elected to Congress in 1885 and became one of California’s U.S. senators in 1891.

Lyman Stewart, who had a place of his own in Newhall in 1878 (now one of the historic homes in Hart Park), is believed to have slept there, as well. By 1890 Pico was getting crowded so Stewart moved to Santa Paula and founded the Union Oil Co.

In 1915, when the oil boom in Pico Canyon was over, Standard Oil Co. sold the house to longtime employee Josh Woolridge, who moved it to its present location in Newhall.

An official survey from 2009 terms it “a rare example of a property related to early settlement and oil discovery in Santa Clarita.”

After the fire, it’s officially “a visual blight on the community and a threat to public health and safety.”

And soon, just a faded memory.

 

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12 Comments

  1. Kinda funny how all these historical property’s catch fire just before they’re to become historical landmarks just like that old barn at the Saugus speedway move way for progress in our small town forget about historical significance !!

    • Deann Young Deann Young says:

      Gentlemen, this house is privately owned, not City owned. If you read the article, you will see that this structure already has been deemed a Historical Landmark.
      When the fire occurred in November, it as vacant, drifters or homeless were living in it with no electricity! They were using candles for hear and light! One of those candles somehow fell or was knocked over and the old wood structure burned down.
      It’s a sad story! A Historical Landmark, of which we have very few, was lost coupled with the fact that some human beings were seeking shelter in this building.
      Please tell me how the City is the bad guy in this? The owner doesn’t want to clean up the mess, maybe he didn’t have insurance, who knows. Now he has offered to give it to the City. If the City accepts this, they will now incur the cost of clean up and liability.
      Both this house and the old barn at the swap meet, which i loved, were built many many years ago, the wood is very old and dried up. This makes it very flammable. Nothing funny or greedy here sirs, in my opinion. Just more money the City has to send to clean up another person’s mess!

  2. Jim Oge Jr Jim Oge Jr says:

    I couldn’t agree more Richard this city is all about greed and over building.

  3. Deann Young Deann Young says:

    Gentlemen, this house is privately owned, not City owned. If you read the article, you will see that this structure already has been deemed a Historical Landmark.
    When the fire occurred in November, it as vacant, drifters or homeless were living in it with no electricity! They were using candles for hear and light! One of those candles somehow fell or was knocked over and the old wood structure burned down.
    It’s a sad story! A Historical Landmark, of which we have very few, was lost coupled with the fact that some human beings were seeking shelter in this building.
    Please tell me how the City is the bad guy in this? The owner doesn’t want to clean up the mess, maybe he didn’t have insurance, who knows. Now he has offered to give it to the City. If the City accepts this, they will now incur the cost of clean up and liability.
    Both this house and the old barn at the swap meet, which i loved, were built many many years ago, the wood is very old and dried up. This makes it very flammable. Nothing funny or greedy here sirs, in my opinion. Just more money the City has to send to clean up another person’s mess!

  4. Doug Pearson Doug Pearson says:

    Get measurements and Rebuild the original part in mentryville or heritage junction with anything that may be salvaged from it and using the money from the value of the lot

  5. Deann Young Deann Young says:

    Gentlemen, this house is privately owned, not City owned. If you read the article, you will see that this structure already has been deemed a Historical Landmark.
    When the fire occurred in November, it as vacant, drifters or homeless were living in it with no electricity! They were using candles for hear and light! One of those candles somehow fell or was knocked over and the old wood structure burned down.
    It’s a sad story! A Historical Landmark, of which we have very few, was lost coupled with the fact that some human beings were seeking shelter in this building.
    Please tell me how the City is the bad guy in this? The owner doesn’t want to clean up the mess, maybe he didn’t have insurance, who knows. Now he has offered to give it to the City. If the City accepts this, they will now incur the cost of clean up and liability.
    Both this house and the old barn at the swap meet, which i loved, were built many many years ago, the wood is very old and dried up. This makes it very flammable. Nothing funny or greedy here sirs, in my opinion. Just more money the City has to send to clean up another person’s mess!

  6. Yaeko Tsuboi Yaeko Tsuboi says:

    That too bad, some set fire?

  7. Oh that’s the tweeker house in newhall aka the yard

  8. Linda Matuz Linda Matuz says:

    Very similar to how to historic buildings seem to get torn down on weekends and then there is nothing that can be done except put a very ugly box like condo complex on the property. Ooooop!

Leave a Comment


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