header image

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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly sunny
Mostly sunny
93°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 16
1876 - D.G. Scofield forms California Star Oil Works, hires Alex Mentry to drill in Pico Canyon [story]
Pico oil rigs


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Jun 9, 2013
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

[CLICK HERE] to see 100+ photos of the removal of the Standard Oil Co. engines in 1974-75.

 

Dodging bikes and looking for what is gone. That is the “new” Pico and Wiley Canyon landscape. I’ve written a few times that I would love to go back up PCO Hill in Pico Canyon and look for the old jackline plant that was buried when Standard Oil was fracking the wells in Pico.

A jackline was a method of simultaneously pumping many wells from a central power plant that had cables extending out from it like a huge spider web.  There was a massive engine there that I now know weighed about 18,000 pounds and produced about 35 horsepower. It ran on natural gas.

There were also other gas engines and steam engines dotting the hills, and there was even the CSO Hill jackline engine.

For years, I’ve made comments about how great it would be to dig those up and maybe get some of them running.

Old engine collectors remove the PCO jackline plant in 1974-75. Unfortunately they couldn't restore it, and they tossed it.

Old engine collectors remove the PCO jackline plant in 1974-75. Unfortunately they couldn’t restore it, and they tossed it. Click photos for more.

Well … It turns out, that was done by others in 1974 and 1975. Except for the engine sitting at Johnson Park, up the road from Mentryville, all of the old engines were removed and shipped out to be restored by various collectors and museums.

Here in the SCV, much of our history has been sold off and moved out, or covered up, or simply buried under the new roads and highways.

If you want to see artifacts from the first residents of this valley, the Tataviam, you have to go to the Peabody Museum in Massachusetts or to Australia.

Some of the engines from the Pico and Wiley oil fields are in Vista, Calif., and that big, 35-horsepower jackline plant engine is in Cool Springs, Penn. At least it is running again. How cool is that?

So much is missing from our history. There is the big tank from the Pioneer Oil Refinery that went to the Standard Oil Museum in Richmond, never to return. Still looking for that. The museum closed long ago.

Engines are piled up in a storage yard in 1974-75 after being removed from Pico and Wiley canyons.

Engines are piled up in a storage yard in 1974-75 after being removed from Pico and Wiley canyons.

You won’t find anything about me riding a bike in Pico like the modern folks do. I hung the bike in the garage and went on horseback. The bike riders in Pico today – and on many trails in the area – are not gentlemen (or ladies). They don’t ride as a group, often leaving others behind. They speed around blind corners and ride on trails meant for foot- or hoof traffic only.  Common courtesy seems to be lacking in many. Not all, but many. If you really want to go that fast, use a freeway, please.

The adobe walls of various San Fernando Mission buildings that were in Castaic and at Castaic Junction. Most are under Interstate 5.

The original school colors of Hart High are also missing. Maroon and gray have been gone since 1969. One of our coaches was a Nebraska grad and liked red and white. The black was added as trim. It just means the old school fight song has words that are strange.

And under Castaic Lake, there are locations of Tataviam villages. We will never know what was really there. Lost just like that little pink clay hill that was at the end of Church Street in Castaic. Leveled and now full of homes. Lost, like so many other places.

We’ve lost street names. Did you know Spruce Street used to run all the way south to the junction with Newhall Avenue? We call the south end “Main Street” in Old Town Newhall. I prefer to call it “Downtown Newhall,” since I’m not sure where “New Town Newhall” is located.

For those who complain we’ve lost the street name, “San Fernando Road,” don’t feel too bad. We didn’t ask for it when the county changed all of the signs in the dark of night in the 1950s, and I really don’t like any mention of that lesser valley to the south of us.

Many street names are somewhat strange. “Ave. Stanford” and such in the industrial area, for example.  Is that a form of Spanglish? What is wrong with “Tibbitts Avenue” or “Stanford Avenue?”  I find it offensive to both languages most often used here in the SCV. Use Spanish or English. Please try not to look as stupid as it really appears to be.

Newhall Refinery used to be located between Highway 14 and Sierra Highway just north of Beale’s Cut. The good news is that the refinery is gone. The better news is that the name is now used for the new brew-pub in Downtown (Old Town) Newhall. Now Simon and Shannon can get all of my money from my meals out. Breakfast and lunch at Egg Plantation and dinner at the Newhall Refinery.

Sometimes things are lost but found. This is a good find, I’m sure.

The clutch from the CSO jackline plant's engine was used in a restoration project at a museum in Vista, Calif. The rest of the engine is believed to have been scrapped.

The clutch from the CSO jackline plant’s engine was used in a restoration project at a museum in Vista, Calif. The rest of the engine is believed to have been scrapped.

There are a few things, and names, I would love to see lost. Top of the list is “Awesometown.”  “Stevenson Ranch” is another. “Stevenson Housing Tract” would be proper and better. All of those homes and stores destroyed some pretty good ranching property.

When those old engines were removed, we somehow gained one that wasn’t part of the original deal. It sits near the old school in Pico. It wasn’t used in the fields there at all, but was part of a power plant in downtown Los Angeles.  How strange is that?

I just wish the folks who knew would have told me about the pieces of history being removed. I feel the fool for writing that so many times. Oh, well.

They had been hauled up into those hills with horse and mule power. But that is another story.

 

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.

3 Comments

  1. Nanette Lagasse Gaither says:

    Actually, Hart High colors were officially changed by the upcoming Junior and Senior classes during June of 1966, not ’69. I was one of the ones who voted to change the colors. It was very painful to break tradition and the color change didn’t come without a lot of thought and soul searching. The idea came from the ASB, not any of the coaches. We could no longer find decorations that were in the colors of maroon or grey…nothing was available so our school colors were already compromised at dances and paper products for other uses. The gym and athletic uniforms in those colors would fade after several washings to various shades of brick red and grape and the grey to dishwater off-white. Our teams didn’t make a pretty picture on the fields by the end of the seasons. Clothing in those colors didn’t exist anymore so we couldn’t wear school colors to show our school pride. When it became evident that the change had to be made, first to red, white and black and later to red and black with white, it came with a full vote of the student body of the classes of ’67 and ’68. Yeah, the Mr. Cecil Sim’s penned Fight Song didn’t rhyme quite as well for a few lines like it used to, but we managed and made it work and it never changed the spirit of the school or the pride in our high school. The sports teams looked sharper and so did the dances. We Indians still know the traditional school colors were maroon and grey and that remains part of Hart High’s history, but we were, and are, just as proud of the sharp colors of red, black and white that we had to adopt. That was a change that became absolutely necessary, unlike many of the changes to the town that were made that were mentioned in Darryl’s article. BTW, we still call Newhall, “Downtown Newhall” just like we always have. Old Town Newhall just doesn’t sound right to our family either. It sounds wrong for the area.

    • scvtv says:

      Leon here ………… We always called it “Old Newhall” in the ’70s and ’80s, never “Downtown Newhall” or “Old Town Newhall.” …….. On a related note, if memory serves, Richard Rioux (Mr. Stevenson Ranch!) and I came up with the idea of renaming it “Old Town Newhall,” and we used our Old Town Newhall Gazette to make it stick. Some subsequently wanted to call it Olde Towne Newhalle or whatever, but we consistently resisted adding e’s.

  2. D.M. Thraam says:

    The historic thing I find most sadly gone is space. The hills and fields, which changed color with the seasons, have all been covered with cookie-cutter housing tracts and stripmalls. I know there’s no escaping progress, but the pictures I’ve seen of my childhood home in Saugus depress me.

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
Wednesday, Jun 2, 2021
Our community and City Council have worked diligently over the years to preserve the tens of thousands of acres of pristine open space that surrounds our City.
Tuesday, Jun 1, 2021
The most patriotic holiday is just about a month away, but it is not too early to get into the Fourth of July spirit! The city of Santa Clarita is once again hosting two red, white and blue competitions to put your American pride to the test.
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Thirty years ago, I led an animal shelter in Topeka, Kansas and we were often called upon to assist when authorities raided illegal and inhumane puppy mills.
Monday, May 3, 2021
After months upon months of restrictions and shutdowns, we are now seeing more and more opportunities available. Here in Santa Clarita, several of the programs, activities and sports leagues that were put on pause to slow the spread of COVID-19 are once again being offered.
Monday, May 3, 2021
Our City has long been hailed as one of the safest in the nation. In fact, the City of Santa Clarita was recently named the 4th Safest City in America by SmartAsset.com when analyzing violent crime, property crime, vehicular mortality and more.
Friday, Apr 2, 2021
When the City put the Santa Clarita 2020 strategic plan in motion more than five years ago, we knew it was an ambitious undertaking.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1876 - D.G. Scofield forms California Star Oil Works, hires Alex Mentry to drill in Pico Canyon [story]
Pico oil rigs
Los Angeles County Workforce Development Aging and Community Services is spreading awareness during World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) by sharing ways the community can help.
County Shares Ways to Help the Elderly During World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
A body was found under the Soledad Canyon overpass in Canyon Country on Tuesday, prompting a call to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau detectives.
Homicide Detectives Investigating Body Found in Canyon Country
As California’s COVID-19 case rates have fallen to among the lowest in the country and almost 19 million Californians are fully vaccinated, the state is moving 'Beyond the Blueprint' to fully reopen its economy and end many pandemic-era restrictions, announced California Department of Public Health officials. In addition, Los Angeles County Public Health noted the current guidelines vaccinated and unvaccinated County residents are to follow as restrictions relax and the economy reopens.
Tuesday COVID-19 Roundup: California Officially Moves ‘Beyond the Blueprint’; 28,061 Total SCV Cases
The necessity of passing federal legislation aimed at curbing illegal eviction was examined at length Monday during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing.
House Panel Takes Up Bill Blocking Evictions in National Emergencies
California lawmakers passed a record $267 billion budget bill Monday that boosts spending on programs designed to fight climate change, prevent wildfires, build affordable housing and stimulate the economy with direct payments to taxpayers.
California Lawmakers Send $267 Billion Budget to Newsom’s Desk
Family, friends and members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department gathered at Fire Station 131 in Palmdale Tuesday morning for a ceremony to honor firefighter Tory Carlon, who was killed earlier this month.
Flag Ceremony Honors Fallen Firefighter Tory Carlon
Medical examiners identified a body found across the street from the Castaic Lagoon as that of Marlon Francisco Menjivartorres, 35, of Castaic.
Coroner Identifies Body Found Near Castaic Lake
Los Angeles County Fire Department officials announced plans this week for a private flag ceremony and memorial service — both of which will be livestreamed for the community to watch — in honor of the firefighter killed in the Station 81 shooting on June 1.
Flag Ceremony, Memorial Service Planned for Firefighter Killed in Station 81 Shooting
In an announcement released on Monday, Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, reported that he had secured $20 million in federal funding for the district to be included in pending legislation, with some of the money heading toward the Santa Clarita Valley if the bill is approved.
Garcia Announces $20 Million Planned for Transportation Services in District
Demonstrating alongside the Hart District Teachers Association, members of the California School Employees Association Chapter 349 stood outside the district office last week in support of the ongoing negotiations concerning pay and benefits.
Hart District Classified Staff Negotiating Increase in Pay, Benefits
1957 - Lang Station dedicated as State Historic Landmark No. 590 [story]
Lang Station
With fire experts predicting a “dire” wildfire season ahead, two of the world’s largest firefighting helicopters joined the Southern California region’s wildfire-suppression arsenal Tuesday.
CH-47 Helitankers Join SoCal’s Firefighting Fleet
Nearly 18 months after the first health officer order was issued for COVID-19, California’s stay-at-home order will expire Tuesday as the economy fully reopens.
Economy Set to Reopen as California’s ‘Blueprint for a Safer Economy’ Expires
On Monday, Los Angeles County Public Health officials confirmed two new deaths and 135 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 28,053 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: Public Health Urges Everyone to Get Fully Vaccinated Ahead of 4th of July; SCV Cases Total 28,053
The city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office has reported nine productions filming in the Santa Clarita Valley aka "Hollywood North" the week of Monday, June 14-20, 2021.
Filming This Week in SCV:  ‘Masha’s Game,’ ‘With Love,’ 7 More Productions
In the first four months of 2021, the District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges on 537 Santa Clarita Valley criminal cases — already 156% of the total number of declined cases for the entire previous year.
District Attorney Case Rejections on the Rise
Michelle Denise Dorsey’s life was celebrated by more than 200 people during a memorial service at Real Life Church in Valencia Saturday morning.
Hundreds Attend Memorial Service Celebrating Michelle Dorsey’s Life
The Santa Clarita Planning Commission will consider Tuesday a transitional housing project on a vacant lot at 23652 Newhall Ave.
Planning Commission to Discuss Transitional Housing, Circle K Alcohol Sales Expansion
Many Santa Clarita Valley school districts plan to reject Centers for Disease Control (CDC) funding to provide comprehensive COVID-19-screening programs at SCV schools.
SCV School Districts Set to Reject COVID-19 Testing Funds
A virtual town hall Thursday brought together Los Angeles County Public Health officials to answer questions from the public about changes to coronavirus restrictions come Tuesday when California’s “blueprint for a safer economy” expires.
County Officials Answer Public’s Reopening Questions
1916 - Jesse Doty buys White Star Garage; he turns it into Newhall's first Ford dealership [story]
White Star Garage
1949 - Frank Walker deeds over the first 40 acres of Placerita Canyon State Park [story]
Deed
1868 - Ravenna post office established in Soledad Canyon [story]
Ravenna depot
%d bloggers like this: