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S.C.V. History
September 26
1876 - California oil industry born as CSO No. 4 in Pico Canyon becomes state's first commercially productive oil well [story]
Pico No. 4


| Friday, Jul 12, 2019
A forklift prepares to lift the arch off of a truck and move it into place.

 

The Live Oak Manor rock arch, a landmark for Sierra Highway motorists for nine decades, was moved Friday for the third time in history – only about 75 feet from its old location and still visible from the road.

The arch was built in 1926 by John E. Olmstead, an eccentric desert rat who created a cactus and sculptural rock garden as a tourist attraction on the Newhall side of the Newhall Pass. In 1930, when Sierra Highway (then known as Highway 6) was realigned, Olmstead moved it 50 feet to the west side of the road where most people alive today have always known it.

In 2003, when the Santa Clarita City Council approved the Gate-King Industrial Park, it required the developer to preserve the arch and other historic features on the property including the Pioneer Oil Refinery (which will be a factor in the second phase of the project).

The same cactus plants have been growing since the 1930s atop the two columns of the arch.

But the rock arch could not be preserved in place. Sierra Highway having been widened again in 1938, the arch stood in the public right-of-way where it posed a danger to motorists and to itself. Plus, more road improvements are coming with the addition of a turn lane for the first phase of the Gate-King project – which has been under construction since 2017 as “The Center at Needham Ranch.”

So, in order to preserve it, the rock arch had to be moved a few feet back from the road at a 6-figure cost to the business park developer, Trammell Crow Co. and Clarion Partners.

Last August, workers from Oltmans Construction Co. and American Heavy Rigging and Moving Inc. picked up and trucked the arch to a temporary location on the property so that the sewer, water, electrical and other utility work could be done at the entrance to the business park.

Plans were drawn and redrawn, and on Friday the contractors were back on the job, moving the 20-ton arch to what is intended to be its final location.

With two deep concrete-and-steel footings joined with railroad track, the rock arch withstood the 1933 Long Beach and 1952 Kern County and 1971 Sylmar and 1994 Northridge earthquakes– as well as the recent Ridgecrest shakers when it had a temporary metal brace around it.

Now it will have a new, wider, 3- or 4-foot-deep reinforced concrete foundation, which should support it through a few more.

Read more about the rock arch [here].

Read more about the business park [here].

Local historian Stan Walker waves from the former location of the arch.

The arch will be lowered into position and have a reinforced concrete foundation poured around its base.

 

 

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SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Friday, Sep 24, 2021
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