Santa Clarita History – One Guy’s Version

Image of the old Saugus Train StationLong Time Resident Version of Santa Clarita Valley’s History – 

We can personally report, Santa Clarita has undergone huge growth since 1974. With regard to what the area was like prior to 1974, we were not here back then, so we can’t provide a personal accounting. We’re not going to get into population numbers, census reports, charts or any of that business, because who really cares? Let’s just say, there are a whole lot more traffic signals in town now than there there were back then! If you really want to find out about the history of Santa Clarita you won’t find much here. Thankfully, our objective is to help those people unfamiliar with the area to learn where to find the best of everything, including the history of Santa Clarita Valley. So, we recommend our visitors head on over to an outstanding website that has managed to make the boring details of our history, exciting! Please visit the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. Of course we’re joking about all this, but the truth is, most folks just don’t seem to be that interested in local history.

There are some who remember driving from Canyon Country to Valencia and only encountering one stop light. The fact is, there really wasn’t a Valencia back then. It may have been on paper and it may have existed, but no one knew about it! For that matter, if you lived outside of the area there was really no Santa Clarita! People from outside the area referred to all of Santa Clarita as either Saugus or Newhall. Occasionally someone would mention Canyon Country but they thought it was located in Antelope Valley! No one knew anything about Canyon Country or Valencia. Oh, and as far as Castaic goes, it was just a lake! There wasn’t much to do here in town, especially for the youngsters. We had no state of the art Aquatics Center, no Central Park and no Mall! There was no ice skating rink, only one movie theatre and very few restaurants. Some folks remember the only shopping center being the K Mart, which is still there on the corner of Soledad Canyon Road and Bouquet. If residents wanted to go to a mall and do some serious shopping they had to go all the way out to Northridge or wherever! We did have a few beer bars and one bowling alley. The bowling alley in Newhall was kind of a hot spot and a favorite hangout for the kids. Yes, we had a few schools, grocery stores, the DMV, post office and the basics. It really was a much different city to live in until the 70’s when Newhall Land and Farm finally put it into high gear and developed this city into what it is today.

If looking for entertainment, there were just three hot tickets in town. On Friday nights from September to December it was all about High School Football. There was nothing more entertaining than attending the local high school football games. We can’t mention high school football without saying, there was no bigger game anywhere, than the Hart Indians vs Canyon Cowboys. Literally, everyone in town was at that game! Thieves could have robbed the local bank and not been found out until Monday! In Santa Clarita, local high school football and other youth sports are extremely popular and well attended. Back then, another popular night of entertainment could be had at the local drive in movie. We had a wonderful old drive in movie theater, complete with the typical lousy sound system and poor picture. Besides the football and drive in, the hottest ticket in town on a Saturday night was the Saugus Race Track. For stock car racing, we had the best dang local stock car racing located right here in town! People came from all over to catch a thrilling night of racing at the Saugus Race Track! This is where we all went to watch our local legends hauling around the 1/3 mile oval track and entertaining us all. If not for the race track, and Magic Mountain, it’s not likely many would have known Santa Clarita existed.

We’re happy to report, Santa Clarita has grown into something really special. Yes, it’s more crowded, there’s more traffic lights, lots of cars on the road and everything else that goes along with the growth of a city. We have lots of schools, plenty of activities for the kids, places to shop, Ice Skate, bike riding, walking, dog parks, restaurants galore and plenty of night spots. We’ve come a long way and we think it’s really for the better. We know some don’t adjust well to change, but that’s what Santa Clarita is all about and that’s what we’re going to report!