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Vice President & Editor Jason Schaff 661-287-5515

Deputy Managing Editor Perry Smith 661-287-5561


No city in Los Angeles County or perhaps the state has experienced such progress in the last 30 years as the City of Santa Clarita. A lot has happened since the city was officially founded on Dec. 15, 1987, and most of that has been for the better. Yes, there has been much development, too much for some residents who came here when it was just a small community. But I’m sure the city’s founders expected their municipality to grow otherwise it would not have continued to be self sustaining. No matter what side you are on concerning the development issue or other “issues” we have in the valley, I’m sure most of us agree that Santa Clarita is a great place to live. This publication is meant to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of our city, the vision of its founders and take a look at where we are as a community in 2017. We’ve used the actual pages of The Signal over the last 30 years to present highlights of our history during this time period. A special thank you to Leon Worden for letting us use content for the Santa Clarita timeline in this publication. As the city celebrates its 30th birthday, all of us who live here, work here or own businesses here hopefully will take time to reflect on where we have come from and more importantly what we want our city to look like 30 years from now. Thanks for reading and Happy Birthday, Santa Clarita. Jason Schaff Vice President and Editor The Signal


Laurene Weste, Marsha McLean, Bob Kellar, Bill Miranda, and Cameron Smyth


After a year of 30th celebrations we have finally reached the big date of December 15. Three decades ago, our city pioneers won the battle for cityhood and when the votes were counted on November 3, 1987, voters approved the formation of the City of Santa Clarita. Weeks later on December 15, 1987, Santa Clarita was incorporated and officially became Los Angeles County’s 85th city. Those community leaders and visionary planners combined their energies and efforts in uniting the largest-ever area in California to incorporate. There is no doubt that cityhood has transformed Santa Clarita. Locally generated tax dollars are spent right here in our community and are used to build our new parks, trails, roads, bridges, sidewalks, for street improvements and transportation amenities. Our focus on neighborhood safety, keeping our community clean, bringing in more jobs and improving local traffic are top priorities every day.Providing our residents with a high quality of life that includes beautifully appointed parks, protected open spaces, miles and miles of off-street trails, well-maintained roadways and world-class special events is just one of our City’s achievements over the last 30 years. We are so proud of all our city has become and the future is looking bright for Santa Clarita. There are many exciting projects on the horizon including our new sheriff’s station, Canyon Country Community Center, senior center, the Saugus Library and Arts Center and all the revitalization coming to our premier arts and entertainment district in Old Town Newhall. If our 30 Things for 30 Years contest is any indication, our future generations share our current city values of public service, community beautification and all around kindness. Elementary students were challenged to come up with any 30 things to honor our 30 years of cityhood. Some of the entries included collecting items to donate to 30 local charities, planting 30 flowers and simply performing 30 acts of kindness. We are honored to continue the tradition of a responsive, professional local government, working for the benefit of our residents and business community. We want to thank you for your support of our city. We hope that you enjoy living and working here as much as we do. Please feel free to email your City Council at:

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The Alpha Beta grocery store at the southwest corner of Whites and Soledad was completed in 1976. The Alpha Beta chain was Mormon-owned and did not sell liquor inside the store; instead, each location had a separate, adjoining liquor store (also pictured). Mike Johnson |


or current Santa Clarita residents, the streets they drive on, the places they spend their free time and the schools they attend are an integral part of the community. Though, there are some significant parts of everyday life that didn’t exist until after Santa Clarita officially became a city 30 years ago.


In this time, the city has more than doubled, as the population was about 110,000 residents in 1987, and is now approximately a quarter-million people. The size of the city has physically grown, too, as it was incorporated at 39 square miles, and is now over 62 square miles. Since Santa Clarita was founded, it has had a number of annexations, including North Copperhill in Saugus, Copperstone, Elsmere Canyon, South Sand Canyon,

Norland/Soledad Commons, Vista Canyon Ranch and West Creek/West Hills, including land donations and purchases made for its open space. “You always had your four distinct communities,” Mayor Cameron Smyth said. “As the years have progressed, you’ve seen those lines getting blurred.” In 2010, the city built the Cross Valley Connector, connecting Interstate 5 and Highway 126 across Santa Clarita to California State Route 14. Hitting the roads, the city has connected several major roadways that were previously disconnected, including Golden Valley Road, McBean Parkway and Copper Hill Drive, as well as lane expansions to Soledad Canyon Road. The city has made strides to attain preserved open space to secure a green belt as the city founders had hoped. Currently, there are 9,319 acres of open space around the Santa Clarita Valley.


Some of Santa Clarita’s favorite pastimes were not a reality until its incorporation. And since then, Santa Clarita created 34 parks and more than 85 miles of trails. “As we became a city, we were able to further put ourselves on the map,” Smyth said. “Amenities started working their way into the community.” The first Concerts in the Park Series, which is now held every summer, started in 1990, and used to move from park to park before Central Park was built. “The Concerts in the Park is one of the best decisions the city has done,” Smyth said. “As a result of the success, we are able to get a very high level of performers that realize that if they book Santa Clarita, that may be their biggest crowd all year.” Each spring, thousands flock to the city for its annual Cowboy Festival, previously known as the Santa Clarita Cowboy

Poetry and Music Festival. This tradition, which unites residents and visitors alike, started in 1994. The city also opened three libraries in Valencia, Canyon Country and Old Town Newhall, two community centers in Old Town Newhall and Canyon Country, the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, the Aquatic Center, the Skatepark and hundreds of sports and recreation programs.


Since the city’s incorporation, public education has been governed by one community college district (for College of the Canyons’ campuses); one local high school district, the William S. Hart Union High School District; three elementary school districts, (Sulphur Springs Union on the east side, Newhall, and Saugus Union, on the west side); and another constant facet: expansion.


A cyclist rides past a Santa Clara River Trail sign at the Iron Horse Trailhead. Katharine Lotze/The Signal


Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth takes questions from Plum Canyon Elementary School students. Michelle Logan/For The Signal

Since cityhood in fact, 16 more elementary schools, three junior high schools and three high schools have opened. In this time, the Hart district has built Valencia, Golden Valley and West Ranch high schools. To prepare for college readiness, the district also launched Academy of the Canyons at College of the Canyons in Valencia. “When my dad (Clyde Smyth) was superintendent of the Hart district, he always said he wanted to give the kids of Santa Clarita a private school education in a public school setting,” Smyth said. “I believe the leaders of the Hart district since that time have continued that philosophy. The quality of public school education is quite superior to most other areas in California.” Additionally, the district added a pair of junior high schools, including La Mesa, Rancho Pico and Rio Norte. The Newhall School District opened doors at Dr. J. Michael McGrath, Oak Hills,

Stevenson Ranch and Pico Canyon; and the Sulphur Springs Union School District has added Pine Tree, Golden Oak, Fair Oaks Ranch and Canyon Springs elementary schools. Saugus Union School District has seen the most growth in the city with eight new schools since 1987. Prior to the city’s existence, James Foster, Charles Helmers, Mountain View, North Park, West Creek Academy, Plum Canyon, Bridgeport and Tesoro Del Valle elementary schools had not been built. Colleges have also seen changes, as College of the Canyons has since launched their Canyon Country Campus and The Master’s College has become The Master’s University. “People knew the community would continue to fill in,” Mayor Cameron Smyth said. “Had we not become a city, you would not have seen the same number of schools built had the county been making the decisions.” 

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Signal Staff Writer PHOTO:

Santa Clarita’s first City Council, from left, Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, Janice H. Heidt, Dennis Koontz, Jo Anne Darcy and Carl Boyer III. As the top vote-getters (respectively), McKeon and Heidt served initial 4-year terms; in order to begin staggering terms, Darcy, Boyer and Koontz came up for re-election after just 2 years. Photo courtesy |


ith common goals in mind, a group of newly-elected city council members founded Santa Clarita in 1987. Primarily, they wanted a localized government to be able to call the shots instead of rules being dictated by Los Angeles County. “The main thing in the cityhood effort was to get local control,” Santa Clarita’s first Mayor, Buck McKeon, said. He would later go on to represent the Santa Clarita Valley in Congress for more than 20 years. After Santa Clarita was incorporated, it allowed the council to control the purse strings, permitting them to put emphasis on the programs they were most passionate about. For McKeon, this was police, and the parks -- which were actually part of the city’s first legislative action -- an ordinance to protect existing oak trees. Simultaneously, city leaders made an effort to plant even more trees and build more parks. “It’s a beautiful city,” McKeon said.

“We made it a prettier place and a better place to live.” To Carl Boyer, another member of Santa Clarita’s first City Council, having a green belt of open space around the entire city was the most important task at hand. And Boyer was thinking long term. “It’ll be there a thousand years from now,” he said. “It’s what is going to stop surrounding cities like Los Angeles from swallowing up all of the area around our town.” Also, public safety remained a priority through a contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, McKeon said. “We have better protections,” he said, “and that is why we are one of the safest cities in the country.” Though Santa Clarita became its own master, Dennis Koontz, also a member of the first council, said continued county partnerships with the agencies continued to served the city well, while allowing the increased local control residents sought.

In his own Newhall neighborhood south “It gave us the ability to help maneuver how they do things when operating within of Lyons Avenue, Boyer recalled a lack of planning and consistency before Santa the city,” Koontz said. Traffic and transportation remain con- Clarita achieved cityhood, when body cerns that Santa Clarita commuters contin- auto shops were being built in a residenue to contend with today; however, both tial neighborhood. “We were constantly former Councilwoman Jan Heidt and McK- beset by developers who wanted to built eon noted the conditions were improved this or that,” he said. In fact, this issue was his motivation significantly with the expansion of Soledad Canyon Road from two to four lanes with for running for a council seat in the first a median, which were safety measures in- place. In all of their successes, Koontz said maintaining financial prudence was stalled after a deadly car crash. Furthering emphasis on transportation, a priority. “We were elected to spend that Heidt said adding three Metrolink stations money and solve whatever problems the and the bus system proved successful. community had,” Koontz said. While the council members said they Whether it was how people could move around the city or how people could move were proud of what they accomplished in and out of it, the localization of oversight as a city, they wish Santa Clarita could have become its own county, three of was a repeated theme. “The goal was that we could control de- them cited. “I was pretty much focused on the issue velopment,” Heidt said. Santa Clarita also CLIENT for SUPPLIED COLOR AD FOR PROOF ONLY of good government, and that has always wanted to be business friendly, allowing ORDER-IMG#.: 33683_1 ADVERTISER: KAISER PERMANENTE ADV NO: 793 any locals who wanted to set up shop to been my focus,” Boyer said. “If we have SALES REP: MAUREEN SIZE: 1/2 PAGE H have the opportunity to do so with limited good government, everything will work PUB: 30TH ANNIV • RUN DATE: 12-15-17 DOWNLOADED BY: EL CRX: XXX DIRECTORY: 2017\AUG bureaucratic hurdles, according to McKeon. out.”  PLEASE VERIFY THAT THIS PROOF IS THE CORRECT COPY FOR THE DAY SCHEDULED TO RUN


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Brendan Suarez, 5, talks to the Lone Ranger portrayed by Greg Mowry during the 24th annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival at William S. Hart Park in Old Town Newhall on Sunday. Samie Gebers/The Signal


anta Clarita didn’t become the third largest city in Los Angeles County overnight. In fact, the quiet, but burgeoning bedroom community grew in size, shape and population over the years, carefully and deliberately. And just like most cities, the story of how is less about the numbers, and more about the people who call Santa Clarita home. One of the most unique aspects of the Santa Clarita Valley is the fact that it’s relatively geographically isolated from the rest of the county, yet the cityscape spawned four distinct and unique milieus known instantly to modern-day residents as parts of one community -- Canyon Country, Newhall, Saugus and Valencia. Santa Clarita’s founders were conscious of this strong sense of self-identity among these areas, and vowed to residents who supported their cityhood efforts that they would be able to retain

their own cultural community’s zeitgeist despite incorporation -- which is why, by and large, the vestiges of these names exist today. “When the city formed, it was the promise of the city’s mother and fathers that the individual communities could keep their identities,” said Gail Morgan, who was spokeswoman for the city of Santa Clarita from its early days until 2016. “So the city treaded very lightly on trying to change that.” On the other hand, she notes, there was a “great desire” to put Santa Clarita on the map. “And you don’t do that with ‘Valencia, Saugus Canyon Country and Newhall,’ because that’s a mouthful.” Santa Clarita, over time, evolved from a quiet, rural suburb where you bought a house because you could afford to, and you commuted to work, she noted, to a place that’s welcomed several multinational companies, such as Sunkist

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Phil Ganz, 28, finishes first at the Santa Clarita Marathon with a time of 2:46:48 on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. The city of Santa Clarita also used events like the Santa Clarita Marathon to increase its sense of identity among its residents. Christian Monterrosa/ The Signal

and Princess Cruises, and developed amenities like the mall in Valencia. Scott Ervin was no exception to many of the newly incorporated city’s early settlers, in the sense that he saw “the housing was cheaper and the school system had a great reputation.” And so he, his wife at the time, two small children, headed north from what many consider “the Valley,” to Santa Clarita -- more specifically, Canyon Country. “I would say we were the stereotypical Santa Clarita young family,” recalling the region’s demographics at the time. “The first thing I did to get involved was I joined the local cycling club,” he said, noting he still rides with some of those friends today. “And I used to love that I’d be driving to work and I’d see this big field full of cows,” he said, referring to pastures that have since been paved over. “The mall wasn’t there at all.” Like many who were moving to Santa Clarita at the time and in its first 10 years -- in 1997 alone, for example, the city’s population grew by about 10 percent in a

year, from about 130,000 to 143,000 -- he also was unfamiliar with the history and disparate nature of the communities of which he was now a part. “At that point, The Signal was kind of how I learned about Santa Clarita,” he said, referring to stories about “the Oak of the Golden Dream,” where California had its first, but much lesser known gold strike; Mentryville, the state’s first oil boom town; and Beale’s Cut, a famous gouge in Santa Clarita’s mountainside created in the 1850s for easier access to Fort Tejon, which can be seen in numerous Western films. Yet it was through the cycling club that he began to build his sense of Santa Clarita with his new neighbors. “I was the president of Santa Clarita Velo cycling club for about three years,” he said. “As president, I felt compelled to ‘leave my mark,’ so to speak, and I’d heard that SCV Runners were trying to get a marathon going.” Ervin got himself on the marathon’s Steering Committee, and one of the results was that a contingent of cyclists “led


Sahara Opteyndt, 25, gets emotional as she crosses the finish line of the 2017 Santa Clarita Half Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. Christian Monterrosa/ The Signal

out” the marathon for the entire route. “It felt pretty cool at the time,” Ervin said, recalling how he felt when he saw pictures of his group in local media. “That was a pretty clear moment when I thought, ‘Yeah. Santa Clarita.’” Mike Lebecki, who’s been involved in real estate in Santa Clarita since coming up to the area fresh out of college for his first job here as a leasing agent, shortly after the city achieved cityhood, noticed a gradual change, but could definitely identify a moment for him, that brought about marked change in the city. “Today’s Santa Clarita is, well, it’s just different,” he said. “It’s not the Mayberry we used to be 30 years ago,” referring to the fictional, innocent town created in “The Andy Griffith Show.” One sea change for Santa Clarita he observed was when Newhall Land was restructured in bankruptcy in the late 2000s, as that was the entity that had planned much of the westside, created Valencia and later the idea of “Awesometown,” and to a large extent, fostered a sense of community among the busi-

nesses and other influential organizations. Indeed today the Newhall name is still ubiquitous in Santa Clarita, and for many who have stayed, the work of the development company is more than a name that serves as a reminder of the area’s rich past. “I think that the greatest part of our city’s development and it’s even prior to becoming a city and that was really the development of a planned community,” said Mike Berger, a financial analyst and governing board member for College of the Canyons. “And if you look at what their plans were, it’s not just to have a community but these paseos and bike paths, and open hills -- and it really makes a difference to be able to be outdoors.” The deliberation and the execution were the impressive parts, he added. “That to me is the beauty of it,” he said, “when you look the city and the planning department -- the industrial, commercial, residential -- I think the city has been very instrumental in making sure it is balanced.”

The development is tied to cityhood for a lot of reasons, but perhaps the most prevalent one is how it created Santa Clarita’s identity, he said. For decades, locals often didn’t just consider themselves, Newhall residents, it was “Oh, I live in Old Orchard,” he said, noting subdivisions and tightknit neighborhoods also had identities unto themselves. “I’d probably have to say about 10 years into cityhood that you started to see (a Santa Clarita identity),” he said, “and you started to see it in different areas first -- I think you saw it in more with the people who are newer to the community, when they moved up here, all of a sudden they were saying, ‘Santa PHOTO: Clarita,’” he said. Trick roper Dave Thornbury By staying consistent with its branding shows his roping skills during the annual Santa Clarita Cowto a degree that most would consider boy Festival. The city’s founders sought to retain links to its past micromanaged -- for example, anything when it first organized what with the city’s logos had to have a very we now know as Santa Clarita. Signal file photo specific placement, color scheme, even

positioning on the page -- Santa Clarita was able to create a strong brand that people not only adopted, but wanted to identify with, Morgan said. The city used community events like the Santa Clarita Marathon, the Cowboy Festival, Concerts in the Park, to bring people together, and create that sense of Santa Clarita identity, she added. And it did so gradually. “I think the best answer is, that it’s a process over time,” Morgan said, after asked when Santa Clarita started to take hold among its various community members, “and none of this happens overnight. “Basically, a lot of the old-timers moving out and moving on and when people were moving in, they moved to Santa Clarita,” Morgan said. “I couldn’t say that about the city, that it was more than just a sleepy, suburban community more than 30 years ago. And now it’s so much more.” 







HAPPY 30TH ANNIVERSARY! Since its inception in 1987, the City of Santa Clarita has come a long way from the sleepy, bedroom community it was! Now Los Angeles County’s 3rd largest city, Santa Clarita boasts top-tier education, beautiful new home developments, a dynamic business community and a positive, lively culture for people of all ages to enjoy. From special events to everyday experiences that make for the perfect work-life balance, Santa Clarita has so much to offer.

Best City to Live Healthiest City

LA County’s Most Business-Friendly City

Safest City Best Place to Start a Family

Santa Clarita has award-winning public schools – many have earned National Blue Ribbon School recognition The National Council for Home Security and Safety ranks SCV as the 3rd safest city in the U.S. with a population of 200,000+


of hiking/biking trails


of pedestrian paseos


William S. Hart Union School District schools earned California Gold Ribbon recognition in 2017

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital named the Most Wired Hospital for the 5th consecutive year by the American Hospital Association (AHA)

9,000 ACRES

of protected open space

280 DAYS

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Signal Senior Staff Writer

ur first kiss, our first car, our first job, may mark turning points in our private lives, but when it comes to reflecting on 30 years of growth in Santa Clarita, the turning points may not be as obvious. The most significant turning point for Santa Clarita, arguably, happened Dec. 15, 1987, when the world suddenly recognized the rural, bedroom community surrounded by a freeway and a cow pasture at the time as a city. In the years that followed, the city’s

character was molded, through legislative battles, the struggles between development and open space and, for some, in the search for recognition on a national stage. All of these efforts played a role in defining Santa Clarita over the years. And as the past always plays a role in shaping the future, Santa Clarita’s shape was molded most drastically by two defining moments -- the day three decades ago that state officials ordered a cleanup of nearly 1,000 acres situated at the heart of community, and the day a green belt of


open space encircling the SCV was legislated. In the case of the former, 996 acres of hilly terrain centrally located to the city of Santa Clarita would be cleaned up and ready for development, even if most areas would not lend itself to building homes there. Cleanup officials announced in November 2017 that cleanup at Whittaker-Bermite would be complete by the end of next year. Once a toxic superfund site, the former home of a World War II munitions

factory is now perhaps not long from be- PHOTO: original 1992 indoor ing once again looked at for various po- The Westfield Valencia Town Center mall is at right; the newer Town tential uses. Drive office and retail In the case of the Rim of The Valley Center area is at left. At extreme top green belt, the city’s effort to create thou- are the William S. Hart PONY diamonds, north of sands of acres of open space surrounding Baseball Valencia Boulevard. Many the city, Santa Clarita turned a corner to view the growth of the mall an integral part of Santa become a community that made good on asClarita’s expansion into the city its pledge to preserve nature and its sur- it is today. Photo courtesy Leon Worden | roundings. “It was 2007, and it is a huge turning point for the (Santa Clarita Valley),” city of Santa Clarita Councilwoman Laurene Weste told The Signal. “This was a defining moment that marks one of the most important paradigm shifts in this community. I see young kids talking about it when they talk about the trails and hiking spots and open space and they love it.” In the past couple of years, the face of Santa Clarita changed again this time by four years of protracted and pronounced drought. What had developed as a growing residential community of homes with green lawns suddenly changed direction with the advent of state-mandated water conservation measures specifically, the Castaic Lake Water Agency’s lawn-swapping rebate programs. At least 631 people signed up for the agency’s lawn replacement program after it went into effect in July 2014. At least 364 of those projects were completed and what was once green became something else in the SCV. At least 830,080 square feet of turf throughout Santa Clarita was ripped out an area about the size of five football fields. Likewise, the city was ordered by governor to stop watering grass-lined medians, and, as a result, swapped grass in search of creative, but less water-dependent alternatives, like mulch. Turning points that have come to define a Santa Clarita economically hinged on those business developments that have spurred its growth.


Empty dump trucks pull into a soil treatment area to pick up clean dirt as viewed on tour of the clean-up efforts of the Whittaker/Bermite site in Valencia in October.(Top ) Dan Watson/The Signal Operations Manager Hassan Amini, right, describes the soil clean up process by natural biological agents in the soil duirng a tour to view clean-up efforts of the Whittaker/Bermite site in Oct. 2016. Cleanup officials announced in November 2017 that cleanup at Whittaker-Bermite would be complete by the end of 2018. (bottom)


Ask any stranger about Santa Clarita and they may not know where it is, but mention Six Flags Magic Mountain, off Interstate 5, and they immediately know what you’re talking about. While the theme park a vestige from the Newhall Land days built in the 1970s continues to draw crowds, since incorporation, Santa Clarita business has enjoyed a turn for the better with two key developments: the sprawling central business hub Westfield Valencia Town Center mall in 1992; and Princess Cruises deciding to make Santa Clarita its home in 2001 on its doorstep. Community leaders wasted no opportunity to laud the importance of these two benefactors that employ thousands of people locally. But, the creation of jobs is not a be-all and end-all barometer by which successful local business is gauged. Santa Clarita is also defined by its pursuit in preserving a certain quality of life. And, it’s to that end that the city mapped out a winding route throughout the Santa Clarita Valley with about 70 miles of trails and 20 miles of paseos and bike routes. And, it’s the same pursuit that galvanized the same civic leaders to mount an opposition movement against Cemex and against turning Santa Clarita into a dusty,truck-plagued mining town. “There has always been mining in Santa Clarita, but never on a massive scale,” Weste said. “Opposing it marks a shift in the paradigm and a move to avoid turning Santa Clarita into a mining town,” she said. “It is a tremendous benefit to Santa Clarita to not turn it in that direction.” If there was a defining moment on the economic front to change the course of Santa Clarita it happened on April 24, 2008, when Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, introduced HR Bill 5877 to Congress, marking

an agreement that would swap the proposed Soledad Canyon mine site for land in Victorville. Cemex was put on notice that Santa Clarita wanted no mine. Whether the Mexican-based mining giant begins mining Soledad Canyon currently rests with administrative judges who sit on the Interior Board of Land Appeals. Cemex last year appealed a decision by the Bureau of Land Management, which rescinded its mining contracts in 2015.


On the political front, two key developments helped define Santa Clarita and change its direction. When McKeon was named chair of the House Armed Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over defense policy gener-


Canyon High School upset De La Salle, a Northern California powerhouse ranked No. 1 in the nation, in California’s first ever statewide championship.

ally and over ongoing military operations. With McKeon at the helm, it was a message to the rest of the country and to military-related and aerospace companies that Santa Clarita was a welcome place to set up shop. The list of military industrial companies operating in Santa Clarita include Woodward HRT and Aerospace Dynamics. The other political force that changed Santa Clarita has been chloride. State and federal laws on contamination may not have changed the course of the Santa Clara River, but it certainly changed how civic leaders worked feverishly to change its content. Under the Clean Water Act, “beneficial users” of the river include Ventura County growers of salt-sensitive crops downstream and they have a right to receive uncontaminated water. The decades-old debate over reducing the amount of salty chloride ending up in the Santa Clara River has taken up thousands of hours of discussion and millions of dollars to execute to date. In the end, aside from land development, and how water is cleaned, re-routed or recycled, perhaps it’s the people who live here who give the city its most celebrated character.

THE GOLD & THE GLORY For those looking for evidence Santa Clarita’s growing significance as a community that celebrates athletics perhaps as much as its great outdoors, they could look no further than perhaps the city’s finest hour on one of the nation’s biggest stages, the 2016 World Series. The two teams competing in the world’s most storied baseball event that year each featured a pitcher from Santa Clarita in fact, former Hart High School teammates Mike Montgomery and Trevor Bauer. Bauer was a starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians in game two,

and Montgomery provided clutch relief from the bullpen for the Chicago Cubs, who won the series, 4-3. The two young men put Santa Clarita on the world map. But, Santa Clarita’s two distinguished boys of summer are not the only examples of local people rising above the norm and snatching that championship ring. Just like neighboring communities throughout California and the country, Friday night lights play a pivotal role in the area, which perhaps reached its zenith when Canyon High School upset De La Salle, a Northern California powerhouse ranked No. 1 in the nation, in California’s first ever statewide championship. And, if you want gold, look further than Santa Clarita’s own Anthony Ervin, who won four Olympic medals and two World Championship golds. At the 2000 Summer Olympics, he won a gold medal in the men’s 50-meter freestyle. These various accomplishments, ranging from golden medals to green belt forests, not only help paint the picture of Santa Clarita, but will also no doubt play a role in shaping its future. 

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Dec. 15: City of Santa Clarita incorporated. The first City Council consisted of PHOTO: Santa Clarita’s Mayor Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, Jan first city council Heidt, Jo Anne Darcy, Carl Boyer, and Dennis Koontz.


January 18: Edison House relocated to Heritage Junction Historic Park. The structure was built in 1919 as part of a group of houses provided for Edison workers assigned to the Saugus substation. These structures escaped damage when the St. Francis Dam broke in 1928. After years of 1988 use by Edison employees the structures March 15: City of Santa Clarita Planning were acquired by the Newhall Land & Commission holds first meeting. Panel Farming Company which, demolished six hears from residents on oak trees, signs, of the cottages. This structure was in the a ban on three-story buildings. Others best condition and preserved. told the commissioners that they need to January 27: Santa Clarita post office be creative. established.

OUGH THE PAGES OF THE SIGNAL Nov. 5: Mitchell Schoolhouse Adobe dedicated at Heritage Junction. The home of Col. Thomas F. and Martha Mitchell, originally located at Lost Canyon and Sand Canyon roads in Canyon Country, was the first structure in the Santa Clarita Valley to be used as a school. Martha began the Sulphur Springs School in 1872, with classes being held regularly in the kitchen of the adobe.


February 8: Singer Del Shannon who topped the charts in 1961 with “Runaway”

was found dead at his Sand Canyon home of an apparent suicide. His wife LeAnne found the 55-year-old rocker in the home’s den slumped over in his chair with a bullet hole in his head and a .22-caliber rifle on the floor beside him. April 10: Jill Klajic, Carl Boyer III, Jo Anne Darcy win the Santa Clarita City Council election. November 13: Santa Clarita City Council adopts ordinance regulating size and location of business signs. Aug. 14: Newhall Ranch House relocated to Heritage Junction. In 1875, Henry M. Newhall bought the ranch at a sheriff’s


Metrolink Station Dedication (top left) Valencia Town Center Opens (bottom right)

sale. In present day context, it was located in the west parking lot of the Magic Mountain amusement park. The house was heavily damaged in the 1971 earthquake but was repaired and occupied until 1973. With a grant from the City of Santa Clarita, the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society rescued the abandoned house and moved it to Heritage Junction.


June 25: Santa Clarita City Council adopts a conservation element in its first general plan; includes inventory of local historic resources.


April 14: Jan Heidt, George Pederson win Santa Clarita City Council election. September: Valencia Town Center mall opens. Sears and May Co. as well as J.C. Penny were among the anchor stores. At May Co., 1,700 people showed up for the store’s first hour. The mall opening celebration included apperances by Olympic

gold medalist Steve Timmons, the Laker Girls, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Steve Garvey. October 23: Dedication of Ed Davis Park in Towsley Canyon. October 24: Dedication of Santa Clarita’s first Metrolink station.

the Santa Clarita Valley are severely damaged or destroyed. Traffic came to a major standstill as nearly all major roads leaving the valley were closed and residents were without power. A several hundred foot long section of the State Highway 14 overpass collapsed onto the freeway below. More than 200 firefighters from as far away as Santa Barbara 1993 and Riverside counties were called to the May 17: Dale Poe, 61, developer of Stearea to battle fires. venson Ranch, dies in car crash. February 1: Karen and David Nardiello July 28: U.S. release of Mel Brooks’ acquire Saugus Cafe. “Robin Hood: Men in Tights,” which was April 12: Jo Anne Darcy, Carl Boyer III, shot in Sand Canyon. H. Clyde Smyth win Santa Clarita City Council election. 1994 September 9: Valencia High School January 17: At 4:31 a.m., the 6.7 mag- opens. September 15: Reopening of COC footnitude Northridge Earthquake kills 53 and causes $11 billion in damage across ball stadium and track; had been damSouthern California. Several homes in aged in Jan. 17 earthquake.

PHOTO: Collapsed overpass from Northridge Earthquake (bottom)


El Nino’ flooding in 1998


council approval of its Porta Bella develJuly 1: Unification of Santa Clarita Val- opment (which never happened). April 9: Jill Klajic, Jan Heidt win Santa ley and Canyon Country chambers of Clarita City Council election. commerce. June 11: Santa Clarita City Council approves downtown Newhall revitalization 1996 strategy. January 3: Harry Carey Ranch Historic October 1: World champion mixologist District in Saugus added to National Regis- Bobby Batugo dies in Los Angeles at age 90. ter of Historic Places. February 10: French Lagasse, Mentryville’s last oil field foreman, dies in Ar- 1997 July 8: Santa Clarita City Council adopts izona. February 29: Whittaker Corp. announces initial Newhall Redevelopment Plan. September 24: Redevelopment of Old it will fund city council candidates, following

February 2-3: As disbelief about El Nino’ was starting to set in, the first of a month-long succession of devastating storms hits. February 23: Worst day of record-setting 1997-98 El Nino storm season. October 2: Actor and movie ranch owner Gene Autry dies in Studio City. 1998 May 20: Trick rooper Montie Montana, January 17: Country music producer Clifof Agua Dulce, dies in Los Angeles folfie Stone dies at home in Saugus. He was lowing a stroke. 80. He was a Country Music Hall of Fame October 2: Actor and movie ranch ownmember, singer, songwriter, band leader as er Gene Autry dies in Studio City. well as being the producer of more than 14,000 television and radio shows. Town Newhall begins with groundbreaking of Railroad Avenue improvements. December 23: Five bodies found during grading of Northlake development in Castaic; determined to be Jenkins family plot.


March 14: Time capsule buried at Newhall Metrolink station. March 18: Newhall Metrolink station opens. April 11: Cameron Smyth, Bob Kellar win Santa Clarita City Council election. August 13: Mike Shuman, 81, retired Placerita Junior High principal, dies at home in Saugus. October 6: Dr. Robert C. Rockwell, COC’s first superintendent-president, dies at 87.


May 5: Dedication ceremony of Rancho Camulos as National Historic Landmark May 22: Santa Clarita City Council exempts historic signs from sign ordinance. August 23: State designates San Fernando Spineflower (present in SCV) as endangered species. August 31: LASD Deputy Hagop “Jake” Kuredjian gunned down in Stevenson Ranch while backing up ATF. November 17: Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library opens, replacing 1971 library facility across the street.


April 9: Frank Ferry, Marsha McLean, Laurene Weste win Santa Clarita City Council election. June 5: Construction equipment at Tesoro del Valle sparks brush fire that ravages San Francisquito Canyon. July 26: Hollywood premiere of Disney’s PHOTO: John Quigley sits in “Old Glory” “The Country Bears,” filmed at Golden Oak Ranch in Placerita Canyon. November 1: Environmental educator 1999 John Quigley climbs into “Old Glory” oak February 13: Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys split off from 805 area tree in Pico Canyon to save it, stays 71 days. code to become 661. May 1: “Spongebob SquarePants” pilot 2003 airs on Nickelodeon; created by CalArts October 18: Grand opening of Santa grad Stephen Hillenburg (MFA ’92) Clarita Aquatics Center.


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Amgen Tour of California stops in Santa Clarita (top) City Library system opens (bottom left) The Buckweed Fire (bottom right)

May 27: Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approves Newhall Ranch Specific Plan. October 28: Mentryville buildings saved as Simi Valley fire roars through Pico Canyon. November 19: U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon introduces initial legislation to block 78-million-ton gravel mine in Soledad Canyon. November 24: Ruth Newhall, former co-owner of The Signal (with husband, Scott) dies in Berkeley, Calif. December 10: Saugus plastics manufacturer Keysor-Century Corp. files liquidation plan with bankruptcy court after ceasing operations in the wake of a federal investigation.


January 27: Sale of the Newhall Land and Farming Co. to NWHL Inc., a joint venture of Lennar Corp. and LNR Properties Corp. is completed. May 7: Senator/Aviator Pete Knight, world speed record holder, dies in office at 74 from acute myelogenous leukemia.


January 14: Repertory East Playhouse opens with “The Prisoner of Second Avenue.” New theater company replaces former Santa Clarita Repertory Theatre. June 14: Santa Clarita City Council approves Newhall Land’s Riverpark/River Village development.


Actor Paul Walker dies in fiery crash in Valencia


July: Santa Clarita property owners approve a 30-year Open Space Preservation April 22: Retired LAPD chief and California Sen. Ed Davis, 89, dies of pneu- District. City to use property tax assessment through FY 2036-37 to purchase and monia. May 28: Veterans Historical Plaza preserve raw land outside city’s borders. October 21-22: Buckweed fire, ignited opens at former site of Pardee House, the by a 20-year-old boy playing with matches, Newhall-Market-Walnut street “triangle.” burns 38,000 acres and destroys 21 homes in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce.


February 24: AEG’s Amgen Tour of California races to its first Santa Clarita finish line.


January 22: Santa Clarita City Council

Hall, 47, and firefighter Specialist Arnie Quinones, 34, are killed in the line of duty on Day 4 of the Station Fire. December 16: CalArts benefactor Roy E. Disney, nephew, of Walt, dies at 79 in Newport Beach.


April 13: Marsha McLean, Laurene Weste, Frank Ferry win Santa Clarita City Council election.


July 1: Official first day of Santa Clarita Public Library system. November 4: Alan Mootnick, founder of Gibbon Conservation Center in Saugus, dies at 60.


July 5: 2011 SCV Man of the Year Harry Bell, 89, dies in light plane crash at Rancho Camulos. August 8: Canyon Country resident Allyson Felix wins gold medal in 200-meter sprint at London Olympics, then adds two more team gold medals (4x100m relay Aug. 10 and 4x400m relay Aug. 11). September 29: Grand opening of Old Town Newhall Library.


votes to change the name of San Fernando Road to Newhall Avenue between 5th Street and Highway 14. January 25: Newhall Hardware, est. 1947, citing economic problems, announces it will quit as soon as it can liquidate inventory.


June 13: Magic Mountain amusement park owner Six Flags files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections (emerges 5-32010) August 30: L.A. County Fire Capt. Ted

February 10: Motion picture helicopter provider David Gibbs of Valencia and two others are killed in crash at Acton movie ranch; Hollywood’s deadliest onset incident since triple-fatal “Twilight Zone Movie” helicopter crash in Valencia in 1982. June 1: 4-5 homes in Lake Hughes burn down in Powerhouse Fire, which started May 30; ultimately 30 homes are deemed total losses and 28 outbuildings are destroyed. June 18: Saugus Union School Board vacates seat of trustee Stephen S. Winkler who didn’t maintain residency in the district and sparked community outrage with offensive social media posts.


Landslide destroys section of Vasquez Canyon Road

September 26: Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall begins 4-day visit at Westfield Valencia Town Center mall. November 30: Actor Paul Walker (“Fast & Furious” movies) dies in a fiery car crash in the Valenica Industrial Center. December 16: Placerita oil field (Confusion Hill) owner Berry Petroleum Co. merges into Houston-based LINN Energy and affiliate LinnCo.

June 27: MannKind Corp. of Valencia receives FDA approval for Afreeza, a revolutionary inhalable form of insulin, as a treatment for type-1 and type-2 diabetes. November 4: Steve Knight elected to succeed Buck McKeon in Congress; city of Santa Clarita voters reject measure to remove (net) 59 billboards (replacing 62 static mid-town boards with 3 digital boards along the freeways).



January 7: Embattled four-term L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca announces he won’t finish out his current term. January 23: Newhall Roundabout opens in front of Hart Park. January 27: Tressierras Supermarkets closes its Newhall store. The family owned chain had operated it since 1981. March 2: “Frozen” co-directed by Chris Buck (CalArts 1978) wins Oscar and tops $1 billion at box office on same day. March 25: City Council votes to buy Edwards Outdoor Advertising (with intent to remove billboards).

March 24: Santa Clarita City Council votes to shut off city’s RedFlex red-light traffic cameras at seven intersections. August 28: Federal Bureau of Land Management cancels Cemex USA’s Soledad Canyon gravel mining contracts (issued to a predecessor in 1990 and never utilized). November 19: Freak landslide begins to destroy section of Vasquez Canyon Road; earth moves for several weeks.


January 1: Effective date of new owner-







23780 Magic Mountain Parkway Santa Clarita, CA 91355 (661) 362-6000 | (661) 799-3722 fax

Voted “Best Religious School”

Celebratng over 35 Years in the


Santa Clarita Valley!

n 1981, the First Baptist Church of Canyon Country and Temple Baptist merged to form Santa Clarita Baptist Church (SCBC).

In September 1982, SCBC opened Santa Clarita Christian School (SCCS) as a ministry of the church. SCCS began as a traditional Christian school serving grades K-12, with 110 students and 12 faculty members.

Thirty-five years later, SCCS has an enrollment of 430 students and 60 faculty members. SCCS continues to boast small, intimate class sizes and college preparatory academics taught from a Christian worldview. Each year, SCCS students are accepted into the nation’s top universities. SCBC and SCCS are proud to share a milestone birthday with the City of Santa Clarita. We are thankful to have served and continue to serve families of Santa Clarita, faithfully proclaiming the word of God! 27249 Luther Drive Santa Clarita, CA 91351 661.252.7371



Groundbreaking at current property.

Christian Santa Clarita all team. Girl's Basketb

2002 SCCS students prepar e for a baseball game.


Signal Owners Charles F. Champion II, president; Gary Sproul, CFO; and Russ Briley, Exec. VP

votes 4-0 to deny 5-year extension for Einstein Academy charter school after 7 years of operation under Hart District. May 12: Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca sentenced to 3 years in federal prison for obstructing an FBI investigation into inmate abuse. July 18: Following court reversal, L.A. County supervisors approve Landmark Village and Mission Village, first two (of five) phases of 21,000-home Newhall Ranch project. October 15: Gov. Jerry Brown signs SB 634 eliminating Castaic Lake Water Agency and Newhall County Water Dis2017 trict to form Santa Clarita Valley Water January 17: On a 3-1 vote, Santa Clarita Agency. City Council appoints Bill Miranda to fill October 29: Santa Clarita city founder seat vacated by Dante Acosta. and four-time mayor Jo Anne Darcy dies March 1: William S. Hart School Board at home in Saugus. ship of The Signal newspaper. The publication is sold by 37-year owner Charles Morris to Paladin Multi-Media Group Inc. Principal owners are Charles F. Champion II, president; Gary Sproule, CFO; and Russ Briley, Exec. VP. February 9: Santa Clarita City Council approves Laemmle Theatres-Serrano Development-public parking structure project for Old Town Newhall. June 7: Local voters approve Measure E, a $230 million bond measure for College of the Canyons.

Models do not reflect racial preference. Historic photos courtesy of

City of Santa Clarita 30th Anniversary  
City of Santa Clarita 30th Anniversary