I couldn’t help but note. Some of you more heartier souls are starting to climb up into the saddle wearing tees and polo shirts. Well. And pants, hats and boots as well.
But you might want to bring a jacket. And some woolly chaps and gloves. This morning’s trailride will get more than a little brisk, what with blizzards and record cold spells.
We’ve also got forgotten drag boat stadiums (yes, in the SCV), maniacs on busses (great name for a garage band), a look at when Daniel Boone took a shot at a famous local and the heroics of one father.
C’mon. The cold air will make your cheeks rosy...
(PHOTO CAPTION: Another fad that was growing in popularity and is still hot today was skateboarding. Back in January of 19876 was when the first ramps and obstacles started appearing here in the SCV.)
WAY, WAY BACK WHEN
• Ever wonder why Newhall Pass is called Fremont Pass? On January 12, 1847, that rabble-rouser John C. Fremont and a company of fighting men passed through it.
• Next day, Newhall chap General Andres Pico, after whom Pico Canyon was named) surrendered to Col. Fremont in what historians call, “The Capitulation of Cahuenga.”
• On January 15, 1875, multi-millionaire Henry Mayo Newhall purchased most of the Santa Clarita Valley at a Sheriff’s auction sale.
• Hank Newhall’s pals at the railroad allowed him to name a town after himself and in 1876, Newhall was founded — at Bouquet Junction. But, because of a drought, the whole community moved down the road to around 6th and San Fernando Road. That exodus began on January 15, 1878.
JANUARY 12, 1927
• Judge and valley historian A.B. Perkins got into hot water with his wife. Perk sent a telegraph to his bride, stating he missed the 6:15 train in Los Angeles and would miss dinner. When he got home late that night, she met him at the door with crossed arms and the question: “Why did you send me a telegram at 4:28 telling me you missed the 6:30 train!?!?”
• We endured a tule fog so thick for about a week here, one local quipped that drivers at night should slow down to 1 mph and use fog horns.
• Miss Gladys Thibaudeau (later, she’d marry and become Gladys Laney) lost her “banjo/ukelele.” I know Tom Frew wasn’t born yet, but he’d be my top bet as the culprit... Gladys was Rosalind Wayman’s dads babysitter in the 1920s. She lived to be 104 (and died in 2014) and was one of the best darn people to ever live here.
JANUARY 12, 1937
• A tearful Los Angeles father did the hard but right thing, bringing in tow his son and three gang members. The dad discovered a cache of stolen goods hidden on his L.A. property. It included a cornucopia of loot — everything from canned food to guns and ammo — which had been lifted from homes and cabins stretching from Bouquet to Lake Elizabeth. The solemn father turned in the four teens to Newhall Sheriff’s captain Marty.
• Our pals over at American Legion Post No. 507 hosted a dance with a full orchestra on this date. Admission was just a quarter.
• It’s funny how the land itself changes. Back in the days when we ran regular editorials, a Signal think piece asked: “Whatever Happened To Our River?” We didn’t mean the Santa Clara. We meant the Los Angeles. The writer, A.B. Thatcher, traced that the often-dry, frequently wild L.A. waterway raged through the original El Pueblo and created huge marshlands in surrounding areas. Thatcher also noted that the marshes began a 40-year period of drying up, beginning in the 1830s. “The last of these swampy lands were in what is known as the Beverly Hills district, where there was good goose and duck hunting as late as 1875,” noted Dad Thatcher.
• A cold and wet spell hit the valley. A young correspondent from Saugus Elementary noted that the water pipes froze and many of his classmates were thirsty until the early afternoon. Also, several boys used the weather as an excuse to have a good, old-fashioned sloppy football game in the mud. They spent the rest of the day shivering in front of the pot belly stove, drying off.
• Funny how we take things for granted — like running water. Even those with indoor plumbing here in the SCV had to suffer through the freeze. Many folk had to haul buckets out of their wells with temperatures dipping into the teens. Tourists motored up in the hundreds to Agua Dulce to play in the snow. One local noted that it made her shiver to see some of the parents take their kids shoes and socks off and rolled up their pant legs so they could romp in the white stuff. Of course, most of the farmers and ranchers weren’t enjoying the record cold spell. The citrus crop was practically ruined.
JANUARY 12, 1947
• The Newhall Auditorium was the site of a protest by locals against a proposed mega-hog ranch. Hogs were used in a wonderful business opportunity. They were fed garbage and then butchered for all the various piggy by-products. The only problem was these “slop ranches” were a plague of Old Testament proportions for anyone within a few miles. George Kardashian, a Southern California garbage man, proposed to build the world’s largest hog set-up with at least 55,000 porkers. Fortunately, the vocal locals stopped the operation.
• My old pal Andy Jauregui had a one-sided shoot-out with Daniel Boone on this date. Actually, it was Daniel Boone Hymes. Andy caught the Northridge trespasser harvesting mistletoe on Andy’s Placerita spread. When the Hall of Fame cowboy tried to kick Hymes off his property, the felon took a shot at him. Jauregui was reluctant to file felony charges and Hymes was let off with a big fine, confiscation of his weapon, promise to not own a gun or come back to the SCV. I like those good ol’ days when you could banish people...
• Charles Wakefield Cadman died 70 years ago. A sometimes Agua Dulce resident, he was famous for writing: “Land of Sky Blue Water.” That would later become famous for being the Hamm’s beer theme song.
• Progressives tried to float a $250,000 bond issue to improve Castaic School. It failed at the polls, 53-25.
• That cold spell seemed to come back on the decade. With a vengeance. You weather nuts might want to remember this amazing statistic. From Jan. 1, 1947, until Feb. 4th, the evening lows only three times rose above freezing and then the mercury hit a hot spell of 33 or 34. The average low temperature for January 1947 was 26 degrees and a couple of those evenings we hit the mid-teens. Brrrr...
• This one’s for my basketball buddy, principal Bob Vincent over at West Ranch. Bob and I love sharing arcane hoop stories. Speaking of cold, the new Hart High basketball team was muy frio. They played neighboring Fillmore. It was 26-2 after the first quarter and 43-4 by half-time. The Flashes ended up whipping the Indians — are you ready for this? — 73-9. Ouch. That’s gotta be a record...
• More b-ball stats: Carl Clymore was the high scorer for Hart — with 4.
• For this price, I wouldn’t mind adding on a room or ten. In The Signal want ads of 60 years ago, a local put their 10-acre oak-covered ranch, with a stream flowing through it and a 2-bedroom ranch house, with barn and well — for $16,000.
JANUARY 12, 1957
• The jocular and controversial “Big” Bill Bonelli continued his war with the power brokers of Los Angeles and California. The former head of the State Board of Equalization, Saugus rancher and multimillionaire went into “hiding” in Mexico to avoid what would later be proved as trumped-up tax and conspiracy charges. Bonelli had earlier accused The Los Angeles Times and some politicians in a liquor license scam. Another newspaper, the San Diego Tribune, went after Bonelli. The farmer deftly answered some questions in a letter to the editor, pointing out that Copley, which owned the Trib, had to pay nearly $100,000 in extra taxes after a Bonelli probe. Bonelli would be in semi-hiding for 17 years, but frequently would fly back to his various ranches in the Southwest. He was reported to also own a million-acre estate in Mexico.
• There are still a lot of men walking with a limp due to a lack of common sense and a short-lived craze: the fast-gun draw. I’ve pointed out that America was in love with the Western in the late 1950s and early 1960s. This created a huge subculture of young men who would come out to desolate spots (like the SCV) to practice their quick draw. On average of once every 10 days, someone would be admitted to the local hospital with a self-inflicted gun shot wound. Latest was Ernie Hastings, who pulled the trigger before his gun cleared the holster, sending a slug through his thigh and knee.
JANUARY 12, 1967
• It sure makes a case for not falling asleep on the bus. Jewell Emmitt McKee of Oakland, for some unknown reason, went berserk on a Greyhound rumbling through Newhall and stabbed two men while they slept. McKee was a postal worker. This was the second incident within a month of a man going — note I’m not going to say, “postal” — nuts. Earlier, a passenger tried to throw another bus rider out the emergency door as it rolled through the SCV. Must be something about the air...
• Despite support by all the school districts, most of the teachers and this newspaper, school unification was defeated again at the ballot box. The move to unite the Hart District with all the SCV elementary districts failed by a 2-to-1 margin, 1,853 votes to 910. The movement failed two years earlier, too.
JANUARY 12, 1977
• It’s not exactly a new idea. But just by switching from a county based landscape maintenance district to a private company, the residents of Valencia saved a nice hunk of change. The county charged Valencians $242,000 for landscape maintenance. A new private company charged just $92,000 for the same one-year period. Did it faster, too.
• One of the signatures of the late 1970s and early 1980s was Citizen Band Radio — or, CB. It created a new language. CB was the conference call precursor to cell phones and originally used by big rig truckers. But, soon, even housewives were at their squawk boxes, having conversations with passing teamsters.
Here’s a sample: “Breaker 9, Breaker 9. We have a 10-50 at Eye-5 and 14... Advise a 10-51, 10-52 and Smoky...”
Translation: “Emergency (Breaker 9) there’s an accident (10-50) at the intersection of the 14 and 5 freeways and call a wrecker (10-51), an ambulance (10-52) and the Highway Patrol (Smoky.)” The Smoky moniker came from the cute little hats the CHiPsters wore that looked like the one Smoky the Bear wore.
Interestingly, back then, it was considered bad form (and an FCC violation) to even say “go to hell” over the CB. In our current pornographic society, you can hardly walk around with eyes and ears open and not hear or see worse.
• I-5 was closed due to a blizzard and the CHP officer who had the unpleasant duty to stand in the sub-freezing wind and redirect traffic did a quadruple take at one question. A driver in a new Mercedes pulled up, rolled down his window and, in wide-eyed wonder asked: “Is this real snow?” The officer politely answered yes, then had to ask: “Where are you from?” The driver said: “Saudi Arabia.”
• Magic Mountain hosted the crew and star Timothy Bottoms for the movie, “Rollercoaster.” Besides Harry Guardino, George Segal and Richard Widmark, perhaps the real star was the Great American Revolution, the Hump’s rollercoaster. Some 1,500 extras were also employed.
• Obviously, Newhall Land never got around to pulling this one off, but, for a while, they had planned to create something called Magic Canyon Marine Stadium. They were going to create a mile long strip in the Santa Clara River by Indian Dunes, paralleling 126 to accommodate drag boats. The water was to be supplied from sewage treated water and some swiped from Castaic Lake.
JANUARY 12, 1987
• Residents were surprised by a cold snap which made sidewalks and roads slippery and iced up windshields. One Canyon Country woman, Lorann Downer, found a clever way to de-ice her car. She used a credit card on the windshield.
• Vicious Santa Ana winds pushed a fire started in a Sand Canyon construction site and threw embers onto the roofs of dozens of Deane Homes. The fire cost millions in damages.
Come back and visit next week here under the warming glow of your SCV Beacon. I’ll be waiting with another thrilling trailride into the yesteryears and history of this wonderful Santa Clarita. Until then — vayan con Dios, amigos!
(SCV Historian John Boston also writes The John Boston Report blog for your SCV Beacon. Don’t forget to check out his national humor, entertainment & swashbuckling commentary website — http://www.johnbostonchronicles.com/ — and support his writing! — © 2017 by John Boston. All rights reserved.
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