Heritage Junction set for renovations beginning Thursday

Alan Pollack, President of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society stands near the Little Red School House at Heritage Junction. Dan Watson/The Signal

Five historic buildings located at Heritage Junction are set to undergo “major renovations” beginning Thursday, as community leaders begin a restoration project that’s expected to end with a world-class museum located at the Pardee house. 

“The buildings that we have at Heritage Junction have deteriorated quite significantly and are in dire need for the renovation we are doing,” said Alan Pollack, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society’s board of directors. “We greatly appreciate the city of Santa Clarita for providing the funding that has helped us accomplish this task, which is absolutely necessary to preserve these buildings.”

Councilwoman Laurene Weste said Wednesday the team of community leaders and companies who are leading the project will initiate the renovations Thursday, when they start testing various buildings to eradicate termites.

“We will tent the Edison house, Kingsburry house, the little red schoolhouse, the Ramona chapel and, of course, the big one — the Pardee house,” Weste said, describing the work as step one in the renovation process.

Weste recounted how a team of local professionals spent the past 18 months on a structural analysis, including discussions about amenities like air conditioning, which will be included in the renovation efforts.

“We’ve also been working to clear away areas and prep for restoration because it’s time to really recognize our history there,” Weste added, mentioning phase two will include the re-roofing of some of the structures.

Despite being made of metal, the shingles will still be historically fashioned, and they’re also fireproof, Weste said, “so we can better protect the buildings for future generations to enjoy.”

Weste said she and the participating professionals who are working on the Heritage Junction restoration also hope to complete electrical repairs, updates to staircases and anything else that’s needed to allow the community to enjoy the historical sites.

“As you can tell, this is a big project,” Weste said, “but it’s necessary, so I will be working diligently to get the Pardee house completed.

“It was brought in there to the junction in the 1990s, and the Pardee house was the major first home for the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce,” according to Weste, which is one reason why the group is hoping to get the house open as the museum opportunity. “I imagine people going over there to research their history on the computer, looking at the displays and, basically, gaining an insight to where we came from, who we are and what that means for where we’re going.”

Weste added residents will also have the opportunity to visit the Questers’ area where the Edison and Kingsburry houses will model how people lived at the time.

“When we get all this done, we hope to invite the public to come see the restored Heritage Junction and, at some point, maybe come visit a world-class museum that can be enjoyed by the community,” Pollack said.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the resurgence in Old Town Newhall, and I think the (Heritage Junction restorations) at Hart Park will pair well with the modern developments that have been brought to downtown,” Weste said. “This is going to be wonderful, and you’re going to really enjoy it as a community, but we’ll need your help to get there.”

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