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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly sunny
Mostly sunny
60°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
December 12
1891 - Actor Buck Jones, a Placerita and Vasquez "regular," born in Indiana [story]
Buck Jones


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Dec 30, 2012
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

As I write this, the outside temperature is in the mid-30s. Cold! So cold, it reminded me of one cold morning in Mentryville around 1965.

As usual, we got up before the sun and started chores. I was milking and taking the milk to the back porch of the house. I poured it into one of the big milk cans and went down to complete the milking.

Next it was time to turn the cows out to graze, and to feed the hogs and chickens. I also had to do one of my least favorite chores: collecting the eggs.

Those chores were complete, so it was back into the house to stand in front or the fire in the dining room until breakfast was ready.

That day I wasn’t getting breakfast on time. It seems the water had stopped flowing out of the kitchen faucet. We had bottled water to make coffee and for other cooking needs, but the other water was not there in the pipes.

It was a Saturday and the sun was rising over the hills to the east. This time of year, the bottom of Pico Canyon doesn’t see full sun until mid-day. Since my father was working, my mother told me to go up the canyon and see if there was a problem at the pump near the schoolhouse, or whether the upper tank had water. That tank was on top of PCO Hill south of CSO No. 4, the old, historic well.

My favorite horse, Suzy, was in the corral, so I went to the barn and got her ready to ride. I should have been thinking I had to break the ice on the water trough in the corral that morning so she could drink. Getting her bridle and saddle on was quickly done, and I rode up the canyon to the lower tank and pump. (The tank is still there.)

It's not Pico Canyon in the 1960s but it's close. It's Potrero Canyon (just over the hill from Pico) in 1949.

It’s not Pico Canyon in the 1960s but it’s close. It’s Potrero Canyon (just over the hill from Pico) in 1949. Click to enlarge & find more info.

The tank was nearly full, and the pump was ready to start. There weren’t any obvious leaks or ponds of standing water nearby. I went up the canyon a little more.

Suzy wasn’t so happy about being out in the cold. She would have been happy back at the corral in the small pole barn my father and I had built.

That barn is still there. Recently restored. Someone called it “historic.” Am I that old?

Anyway, it was cold. The road curves to the left and then back right, and I stopped to break the ice in the water trough at that curve. Had to keep the cattle and deer happy. Back in the saddle, I rode on up to Minnie-Lotta Canyon maybe another 200 yards.

Now there is a footbridge crossing Pico Creek at that canyon. Back then there was nothing but the creek. I could see the foundation for the old bakery, and in the early light it seemed to glisten. Why was that?

The whole flat area at the bakery was covered in ice – thick and starting to sparkle in the early sun rays that found their way between the canyon walls. There were foot-long icicles hanging from trees and a very thick, uneven, frozen waterfall covering the flat area that flowed into the creek.

The creek bottom was also encased in thick ice that had formed up to the road. The formation had stopped when the water stopped spraying. The upper tank must have been emptied when I looked at all the ice that was there. In some places the ice was more than a foot thick.

I now knew why we didn’t have water at Pico Cottage. The water in the pipe had become ice, and burst the pipe. Enough water was able to get around the ice plug in the pipe and start spraying the bakery flat. It must have sprayed for hours.

Riding back to the house, I told my mother the problem and she called the Standard Oil office to get the pipe repaired. In about 30 minutes, men from the company came and started repairs. First they had to chip ice to get to the break.

In the 1962 snow, we never lost water due to frozen pipes. In 1965 the pipes froze. From the tank on top of PCO Hill to the break was a drop of a few hundred feet. There was a lot of pressure in the pipe. Once the pipe burst, the water found a path and all of that force made the hole bigger by expanding the rip in the pipe. That huge tank that was 32 feet in diameter and 16 feet tall emptied through that rip. It was a lot of ice from a lot of water.

In no time at all, the pipe was repaired and water was being pumped up the hill. Pico Cottage had water again. My mother made breakfast for the crew that fixed the pipe. Fresh eggs, our own bacon, hash browns and toast from homemade bread. The butter had been churned that morning, and my mother’s jelly or jam was also on the table.

The ice melted. The pipe is still there. You can see it as you hike up Pico Canyon. It is the larger-diameter pipe. The smaller pipe was for oil. And to think this happened in the 1960s. We had just gotten electricity full-time.

I took Suzy to the barn and made sure she had an extra helping of oats. It had been a short ride, but she deserved the extra. It was so cold that we had ice floes in Pico Canyon. Can’t see that every day.

Keep warm and Happy New Year. See y’all in 2013.

 

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 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.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

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
Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019
The city of Santa Clarita continues to be a forward-thinking city, providing residents with the resources and amenities that make Santa Clarita a great place to raise our families.
Monday, Dec 2, 2019
In his December column, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin focuses on how residents can best be prepared for emergencies.
Saturday, Nov 30, 2019
Every school shooting is a tragedy. Beyond their common elements, however, there are differences, and in the case of Santa Clarita, collateral suffering that may be less obvious — and a lot more difficult for many to accept.
Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019
The real measure of our impact is our ability to deliver on the promise of opportunity – which can be seen in the hundreds of thousands of lives changed because students could access higher education at College of the Canyons.
Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019
Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean's "Saugus Strong" editorial for The Signal lauds the community's strength after the Saugus High shooting.
Monday, Nov 4, 2019
In his November column, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin addresses the dangers of vaping and what the city is doing about it.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Returning key players from last year’s squad and adding some more talent, the Saugus girls soccer team is still trying to figure out what combinations work well with each other.
Centurions Net Second-Half Goal for 1-0 Win Against Thousand Oaks
The William S. Hart Union HIgh School District board of trustees has named Linda Storli as its next board president.
Linda Storli New Hart Board President
With the new year just around the corner, the Santa Clarita City Council and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors each approved their 2020 state legislative agenda, highlighting priorities ranging from supporting infrastructure legislation to homeless services efforts.
Infrastructure, Homeless Service Efforts Top City, County 2020 Legislative Agenda
1891 - Actor Buck Jones, a Placerita and Vasquez "regular," born in Indiana [story]
Buck Jones
Seven prep volleyball players, one of whom was the league’s most valuable player, were named All-Heritage League selections at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
Seven SCV Volleyball Players Named All-Heritage League
The All-Foothill football league roster for 2019 has been released, with senior Johnathan Kaelin of Golden Valley the "Player of the Year."
All-Foothill League Football Team Released
Tickets are now on sale for Santa Clarita Transit’s Holiday Light Tour of some of the city’s most festively decorated neighborhoods from Thursday, December 19 through Saturday, December 21.
Dec. 19-21: Santa Clarita Transit’s Holiday Light Tour
Los Angeles County will only buy cars from automakers that comply with California’s clean air laws, joining the state’s boycott of companies like General Motors and Toyota that have sided with the Trump administration in the high-profile bout over emissions standards.
Emissions Fight: LA County Joins Boycott of Automakers That Sided With Trump
The Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra will present a free concert by SCVYO's Guitar Orchestra in the Choir Room at Pico Canyon Hall, located on the College of the Canyons' Valencia campus, on Saturday, December 14 beginning at 7 p.m.
Dec. 14: SCVYO Guitar Orchestra to Tune Up at COC
The Los Angeles County CEO’s office unveiled an interactive GIS mapping tool on Tuesday created to show the locations of the county's homeless population juxtaposed with the availability of existing and projected homeless housing resources.
New Mapping Tool Illustrates County’s Homeless-Housing Needs
The nonprofit Family Promise of the Santa Clarita Valley is seeking donations of supplies, toys, gift cards and more to be given to low-income and/or homeless families during a Holiday Shopping event at Valencia United Methodist Church on Saturday, December 14 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Dec. 14: Shopping Event for SCV Low-Income, Homeless Families
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved College of the Canyons’ $31 million general obligation bond refund Tuesday, saving taxpayers $8.3 million over the next 23 years, according to COC.
County OK’s COC General Obligation Bond Refund
The Rancho Camulos Museum invites local history fans and aficionados to experience a faithful reenactment of the January 23, 1882 visit by best-selling author Helen Hunt Jackson on Saturday, January 25, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Jan. 25: ‘Helen Hunt Jackson Returns’ to Rancho Camulos
Citing the uncertainty about the company ever mining in Soledad Canyon, state water officials have put the Cemex request for water on hold, according to a letter sent by state officials to State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, who had inquired about the company’s water application.
State Water Officials Put Cemex Request for Water on Hold
Recent California voter registration figures show that Republican congressional candidates vying to take back their seats from Democrats, including in the 25th Congressional District, might not be facing an easy feat.
Democrats Gain Registration in 25th Congressional District
At the start of every school year, teens from the SCV YMCA’s Youth and Government chapter gather to discuss current issues and this year’s top issue is ghost guns.
YMCA-Hosted Student Debate Discusses ‘Ghost’ Guns
Handed a bill to pay more than $25 million in missed annual payments over the last two decades, Cemex now has three options, according to the Bureau of Land Management, which issued the bill Friday.
Cemex Has Options to Simply Paying $25M Bill
1922 - Piru bank robbed, banker and daughter kidnapped [story]
Jenks Harris
The Santa Clarita City Council unanimously voted Cameron Smyth as its 2020 mayor and Bill Miranda as mayor pro tem on Tuesday.
Smyth Mayor, Miranda Pro-Tem
The Cougars shot better than 50 percent from the field and had four starters score in double figures to defeat visiting West Hills Coalinga College 93-71 on Saturday night at the MacArthur Center.
Cougars Cruise Past West Hills Coalinga 93-71
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies arrested a woman who was allegedly recognized by loss-prevention staff on suspicion of possible prior thefts at the Walmart on The Old Road in Stevenson Ranch, officials said Tuesday.
Woman Arrested for Alleged Walmart Thefts
California State University, Northridge chemistry professor Gagik Melikyan has been elected as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow – a recognition given to AAAS members who contribute to the advancement of science and technology.
CSUN Chemistry Professor Recognized for Advancement of Science & Technology
Red Rock Canyon State Park’s visitor center is currently open Fridays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., and Saturdays 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
State Parks’ Winter Events, Volunteer Opportunities Announced
Hart High School alumnus Derek Waldeck felt a little extra motivation entering his fourth year as a midfielder for the Stanford University men’s soccer team. Not only because it would be his final collegiate season playing for the team, but because of how the previous campaign ended.
Hart Alumnus Derek Waldeck Striving for 3rd NCAA Title with Stanford
%d bloggers like this: