header image

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

Inside
Weather


 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
April 14
2014 - "Become Ocean" by John Luther Adams (CalArts BFA 1973) named winner of 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music [story]
John Luther Adams


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
Thursday, Apr 11, 2024
Have you ever wanted to journey to another country to experience an array of new and unique cultures and customs?
Tuesday, Apr 9, 2024
In bustling Santa Clarita, where many residents lead busy lives and often feel divided and disconnected, there is a growing need for spaces that bring people together, fostering community and hope.
Monday, Apr 8, 2024
Each spring the city of Santa Clarita proudly showcases its cowboy culture and pays homage to its rich Western heritage during the one-of-a-kind Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival.
Thursday, Apr 4, 2024
Springtime, with all its blossoms and lovely weather is a popular time to get married. If you are looking to say “I do” at this picturesque time of year, look no further than City Hall Ceremonies.
Wednesday, Apr 3, 2024
It is anticipated that the three bylaw changes proposed by the CIF Sports Medicine Advisory Committee will pass this coming Friday, April 5 at the State CIF Federated Council meeting.
Wednesday, Apr 3, 2024
Feel the breeze and take in the sweeping views at the City’s 38th park, Skyline Ranch Park, a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
2014 - "Become Ocean" by John Luther Adams (CalArts BFA 1973) named winner of 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music [story]
John Luther Adams
A special meeting of the William S. Hart Union High School District’s Governing Board will be held 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17. It will be followed by the regular meeting of the Hart Board at 7 p.m.
April 17: Hart District to Choose Search Firm, Offer Hart Mascot Presentation
1935 - Gladys Carter convicted of manslaughter in fatal shooting of Frances Walker, of the Placerita Walkers [story]
Gladys Carter
The Santa Clarita Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting Tuesday, April 16, at 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall, 23920 Valencia Blvd. 1st Floor, Santa Clarita, CA 91355.
April 16: Planning Commission to Discuss Town Center Specific Plan
Hundreds of residents joined the Santa Clarita City Council and dignitaries on Saturday, Aprl 6, for the grand opening of the city’s newest amenity, Skyline Ranch Park. Marking the 38th park in the community, the 10.5-acre park offers activities for everyone.
Santa Clarita Opens 38th Park, Skyline Ranch Park
The Saugus Union School District is seeking qualified, interested individuals to serve on the district’s Asset Management Advisory Committee.
SUSD Seeks Applicants for Asset Management Advisory Committee
Take a magic carpet ride through the enchanting countries of the Middle East to experience an eclectic combination of music and dance from Egypt, Israel, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Emirates and more. Desert Dreams, An Evening of Dance and Music will appear on stage at The MAIN in Old Town Newhall Thursday, May 2 at 8 p.m.
May 2: Desert Dreams, An Evening of Dance, Music
Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger successfully introduced a motion during this week’s Board of Supervisors meeting to recognize a newly established non-profit organization, DarkSky LA County, for their local work to preserve natural darkness and diminish the impact of artificial light locally.
Barger Recognizes Dark Sky LA County for Preserving Dark Skies
The Valley Industry Association of Santa Clarita is set to ignite innovation and transformation with its VIA Workforce Development Conference 2024 at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Thursday, May 16.
May 16: VIA Workforce Development Conference
The Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center at College of the Canyons will host an in-person Open House event from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24 to preview academic programs offered by partner institutions, including University of La Verne and National University and showcase the facility’s rental spaces.
April 24: University Center at COC to Host Open House
The US Frontline Collective Golf Classic will be held Monday, April 29 at the Sand Canyon Country Club. Noon shotgun start.
April 29: US Frontline Collective Golf Classic
The Triumph Foundation's 11th Annual Wheelchair Sports Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28 at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex Gymnasium. Triumph Foundation hosts this free event to introduce wheelchair sports to people that are newly injured, Veterans, children and others with disabilities.
April 27-28: Triump Foundation 11th Annual Wheelchair Sports Festival
The College of the Canyons Foundation will host its Second Annual 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament on Saturday, April 27 in the Valencia Campus West PE (WPEK) building.
April 27:  COC Foundation 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament
The Science Talks Series at College of the Canyons will offer a Garden Walk at the Canyon Country Campus on Friday, April 26 at 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
April 26: Science Talks Garden Walk at COC Canyon Country Campus
1738 - Fr. Francisco Garcés born in Spain; came through SCV in 1776, found Tataviam fighting with Coastal Chumash, observed Santa Clara River flowing by night and dry by day despite the season being spring [story]
Garces statue
Have you ever wanted to journey to another country to experience an array of new and unique cultures and customs?
Jason Gibbs | Explore the World at Celebrate!
With a birdie on the final hole, Jonathan Larson won the The Master's University Spring Invitational and lifted The Master's men's team to an 11-stroke victory at the Crystalaire Country Club in Llano, Calif. Tuesday.
Larson Lifts Mustangs to Victory at Spring Invitational
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — A bill that would allow California poll workers and voters to sue over election intimidation is advancing through the Legislature after a Wednesday vote.
Bill Allowing California Poll Workers to Sue Over Intimidation Advances
College of the Canyons moved its win streak to four games after taking down visiting Antelope Valley College by a 14-12 final score in a back-and-forth game at Mike Gillespie Field on Tuesday.
Cougars Survive Slugfest Against AVC 14-12
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency regular board meeting will be held Tuesday, April 16, at 6 p.m.
April 16: SCV Water Public Hearing on Mandatory Recycled Water Ordinance
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency’s Public Outreach and Legislation Committee is holding an in-person meeting Thursday, April 18, at 5:30 p.m.
April 18: SCV Water Public Outreach, Legislation Committee Meeting
Offering a look into Los Angeles through his eyes, photographer and director Estevan Oriol will talk about his journey as an artist and his photography during a visit next week to California State University, Northridge. 
Celebrated Photographer Estevan Oriol to Speak at CSUN
Join the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, April 17, for an unforgettable evening of networking and fun at Sand Canyon Country Club, located in the picturesque foothills of the Angeles National Forest.
April 17: SCV Chamber After Hours Mixer
California State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced Thursday his bill to help reduce overcrowding at animal shelters across the state, by expanding access to low and no-cost spay/neuter services, was approved in the Senate Education Committee.
Wilk’s Animal Shelter Overcrowding Bill Clears First Hurdle
SCVNews.com