When Hart High was Almost Fremont High

The Time Ranger
Time Ranger

A happy Sunday morning to you, dear Santa Clarita saddlepals. As usual, we’ve a most interesting trek waiting for us. Just wiggle a left foot into the stirrup, hoist your fetching heinie up and into the saddle and direct your noble steed to yonder swirling black hole/time vortex.

Let’s go see what life used to be like back in those halcyon good old days…


The SCV’s JCF United High School District? Savannah, Georgia, is not exactly one of my favorite places, for reasons too numerous to mention here, BUT, it is the birthplace of John Charles Fremont (technically, with one of those little marks over the Frémont). He was born Jan. 21, 1813. Newhall Pass used to be called Fremont Pass, after the famed and controversial general, explorer and land mogul. Our own William S. Hart wanted to name the valley’s first high school and district after him. He was the first Republican to run for president. In case there are those with blotchy records in high school history, Johnny lost …

Should they call it Agua del Muerto? efore Soledad was called Soledad, people knew it as Williamson Canyon Road, after the U.S. Army officer who discovered it, and the spiny stickleback fish. Bill died up in Agua Dulce on Jan. 30, 1850. Cause? Drinking too much cold water.

JAN. 26, 1920

Maybe we were just insular his item sprang from the Jan. 30, 1920, front page of The Mighty Newhall Signal: “There should be more sociability shown among the people of our beautiful burg to newcomers. A party told us the other day that he had been here a year and did not know five people in town and that it got pretty lonesome for he and his wife.” Hmmm. There were only about 500 people in the valley then. 

JAN. 26, 1930

Got my fingers crossed for 2020 
You know, it seems like eons since it snowed last here in the SCV. Luckily we can time travel to 1930 when we had a pretty nice snowfall in the valley this week.

Thanks, A.B.! istorian A.B. Perkins and the local Kiwanis began work on a marker for Placerita Canyon, at the Walker Ranch, to commemorate the discovery of gold by Francisco Lopez in 1842.

Hey! Didn’t we just have a giant dam disaster? his one really made the local residents chomp their lips. The city of Los Angeles announced plans to build a reservoir and dam up Bouquet Canyon. Folks were most uneasy about another dam up one of our canyons, what with the one in San Francisquito bursting not even two years earlier and killing 500 souls.

JAN. 26, 1940

Alas, poor Blanche early 20 years to the day after her husband passed away, former Signal owner, publisher and editor Blanche Brown died, alone, in a nursing home. She had been spending her last years suffering from a long illness while living in a Tujunga rest home. Born in Vermont, she moved to Oregon and met her future husband Ed. They married, moved to Newhall in 1919 and started this very newspaper. Ed died in 1920 and she ran The Signal until 1925. Blanche was nicknamed, “Peanuts,” by the local kids because of her affinity for health foods. She ran the Newhall Library for nine years. She died leaving just one relative, a cousin, Mrs. Sidney Bunker, of Westwood Hills, Massachusetts.

Wonder if the guys carpooled? 
Two local boxers, Al Meyers of Saugus and Jackie Water of Newhall, ironically battled each other in a middleweight fight in El Segundo. Although Meyers was knocked down 17 times in the 10-rounder, it was called a draw. 

Still miss you, Harry n this date, movie legend Harry Carey and family were given a huge send-off at the Saugus train station. The family left their big San Francisquito Ranch to move to New York City. Harry was returning to his first love, the Broadway stage. The ranch was left in the hands of a caretaker, who cared for all the horses, burros, dogs and cats. The Navajos who helped run the ranch moved back to New Mexico and Arizona. Carey had tears in his eyes when he waved goodbye and said: “I’ll be back for the Newhall Rodeo.”

We’ll never see a spread like this again here he old Dullin Ranch in Placerita Canyon was sold. The Dullins produced some of the finest thoroughbreds in California. The houses were too old to be remodeled and were torn down by the new owners. The fields were enclosed by Kentucky-style fences and dozens of new stables were constructed. The ranch had been purchased by W.C. Gaffers, of the Gaffers & Sattler appliance partnership. The pair had 10 regular racing horses at Santa Anita.

JAN. 26, 1950

Nostalgia includes the profoundly stinky ocals spoke against the growing menace of hog ranches here in the SCV. One person noted that the stench had grown so great, they had to cancel Sunday church services.

Sounds like the current impeachment he grueling trial for the estate of William S. Hart continued. Young Bill Hart Jr. spent six days testifying and was grilled by the defense. One of the key points of testimony was regarding whether Hart Sr. had fought on the side of the Sioux in the Battle of Little Big Horn AGAINST George Armstrong Custer and his forces. Hart Jr. said his dad told him as much. The defense pointed out that the elder Hart had said he had rode with the Indians who had rode against Custer but that this was in a historical reenactment in 1926. Syntax, syntax, syntax. Another highlight of the trial was that neither side could find key witness, Anna Lindt Bastues, Hart’s nurse in his final years. Mrs. Bastues had earlier said she would hightail it before the issue came to trial, not wanting to get involved in what was considered one of the biggest trials of the 20th century.

JAN. 26, 1960

Famous joggers our Hart High cross countrymen — Bob McKee, Brad Duncan, Jim Levis and Ben Thomas — helped carry the Olympic torch being passed from the Los Angeles Coliseum to Squaw Valley. The boys ran quarter-mile legs through Saugus.

JAN. 26, 1970

Starving artists? alArts started recruiting students for its new Valencia campus. Tuition for that first year of classes? A whopping $2,500 a year. Wonder what they’d think of today’s tuition — more than 10 times that amount.

Hey Fran? Whatever happened to Chips? he first-ever Hart-Canyon basketball game was 30 years ago this week. The Indians beat the Cowboys, 69-31. Dave “Chips” Bormann led Hart with 12 points and he would later cause head coach Fran Wrage to grow gray hairs. Bormann would eventually grow to nearly 7 feet tall and would lead small colleges in both scoring and rebounding. Bormann’s dad took Dave out of school so he could play at a bigger high school with more visibility. Mr. Bormann. There is no school with more visibility than Hart.

JAN. 26, 1980

Our worst murderer? he trial continued for Vampire Van killer Ronald Doyle Wilburn. On the stand, deputy medical examiner Joseph Choi testified that Wilburn had bludgeoned hitchhiker Mary Ann Linco to death with a hammer, but that she had taken as long as two hours to die. Wilburn had partially dismembered her body and had confessed to eating part of the girl, then wrapping her body in a carpet and hiding it in his van.

Well. That’s the wonderful thing about time traveling. No airports. No lines. No $11 cups of coffee while you wait for your plane. We’ve just had a grand trip and are back at home sweet home without a wrinkle. Try it again in seven days? Be nice to one another. See you next week with another exciting Time Ranger history adventure. Until then —¡vayan con Dios, amigos

John Boston has been writing about SCV history for more than 40 years. You can buy his books and novels on Amazon.com. Best you do …

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