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(By John Boston) Phew. Just flew in from Oklahoma not just 20 minutes ago and I won’t even go near one of those “boy howdy are my arms tired” tired jokes. Was visiting some pals at the national Cowboy Hall of Fame and Museum.

I mention that because it’s now a tax deduction.

I want to first thank Tom Frew for rounding up our tens of thousands of horses and saddling them up for our time traveling ride, although, next expedition, Tom, the saddles go on the back and the reins up and over the ears and not the other way around.

Saddles on the head tend to spook the horses, plus, it’s hard on their necks.

Many interesting vistas ahead, saddlepals. We’ve got sabertooth tigers in dire (get it?) need of a chiropractor, heinous crimes, heroic stuntmen, and, one of my favorite categories of local history: chimpanzees.

And whatever you do, don’t take any horseback riding lessons from Henry Mayo Newhall...

 

(PHOTO CAPTION: It started out humbly, as a store around 1888 with a couple of rooms in the back for lodging. Locals jokingly called it “Hotel de Acton.” Its real name was the Acton Hotel and it was started by newspaper publisher, Rudolph Nickel.

Acton was a thriving community — much larger than Newhall and Saugus together — in the 1890s. Trains would drop off tourists for the Woodbine Resort up Aliso Canyon. The tourists would take a stage from Acton to Woodbine. Nickel noted that he had to expand his little store with the beds in the back.

Clay was hauled from nearby and a Mr. Mitten formed the bricks right on the spot. The Acton Hotel would become an impressive brick two-story affair in which presidents Hoover, Cleveland, McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt would stay. The place had 14 rooms.

The stately resort lasted until the 1940s when it was the victim of arson — by the local postmaster. For the next 10 years, folks slowly carried away the place brick by brick, using the material to build patios or outdoor barbecues.)

 

WAY, WAY BACK WHEN

• One wouldn’t want to come right out and say it, but town founder Henry Mayo Newhall certainly flirted with being the Gerald Ford of his day. On a freighter bound for the Philippines, cabin boy Henry Mayo Newhall fell from a rigging and busted both his legs. Years later, on March 13, 1882, he fell from his horse while riding into the town which had been named after him just six years earlier. Poor Hank. A few days later he died from the accident.

• At 1:35 p.m., March 19th, 1875, the trap door open and legendary outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez fell through. He was hanged for a murder in the small town of Tres Niños, where, years earlier, he and his gang took over the entire community, raping, looting and murdering. Tibby’s last words? “Pronto.”

• We sure could use the rain. But, on the bright side, we’re not as beholding to the precipitation gods as we were during the days when our biggest industry was agriculture and ranching. For you weather buffs, here’s some of our older wet seasons. In 1883-84, we had 38.18 inches of rain and that record would hold for 60 years until the middle of World War II. The 1889-90 was a wet one, with 34.84, and then we go to 1892-93 when 26.28 inches fell. In 1913-14, we had nearly two feet of rain, but most of that fell almost all at the same time, causing big ag and property damage.

 

Read more here: John Boston’s Time Ranger and SCV History: The Acton Hotel Burns; Telephones Come to SCV