The Time Ranger | Our Dear & Radioactive Neighbors in Piru …

The Timer Ranger
Time Ranger
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There is no crying in baseball. There are no soy products in cowboy time traveling. Learn it. Live it. Memorize.

One of my valued snitches has informed me that certain individuals in our august body of tens o’ thousands that a few have been sneaking soy products instead of the required dark, murky, lukewarm and intestine-cleansing pitch-black coffee.




Horror of horrors, some even have been sighted drinking decaffeinated soy. That is so wrong on so many levels.

Although, I have heard that soy counteracts the heinous aftertaste of chewing tobacco, or, as we folk Western call it — chaw.

Rhymes with …

Say it with me:’


As for decaffeinated coffee, our saddlepal Janny Fryer of Scared o’ Bears Ranch has another description for that: “Brown Sadness Water.”

Shall we mosey into the mystic and see what our ancestors have been up to?


OWE YOU A COFFEE, MANNY! — I’d love to come up with a proper excuse for my loggerheaded mistake last week. You know. Something like, “I was directly hit in the head by a solar flare,” or “weasel poisoning.” Alas, someone’s brain failed me. I wrote about one of my dear friends since high school, Manny Santana. Except when my fingers hit the keyboard, they accidentally typed in Manny Fernandez. I’ll bet there actually IS a Manny Fernandez in Santa Clarita, but he doesn’t own the old historic jailhouse behind the Newhall Library. Please forgive, Manny!


THE MOST UNUSUAL L.A. TO NEWHALL COMMUTE, LIKE, EVER — Back when he was a lowly colonel, Ed Beale drove a team of brightly festooned camels through downtown Los Angeles Jan. 27, 1858, toward Newhall and on to Fort Tejon. They were part of his legendary Camel Corps. A failed experiment, the dromedary squads were to patrol the badlands and deserts of Southern California. They didn’t get along very well with the grizzled muleskinners of the 19th century.

JANUARY 30, 1921

POOR NEWHALL LAND & FARMING — Somebody’s always after them for something. On this date, 80 years back, their cattle tore down the fence at Newhall Elementary and trampled all the flowers. The cowboys rebuilt the fence and replanted the flora. But it was the second time it had happened in a short period of time. Back then, the grazing land was so plentiful, it wasn’t fenced. People’s houses were.

HOW NOT TO LAY CONCRETE — They were making improvements on the new Ridge Route paved highway. A few problems stalled reopening. First, it took seven days for the cement to settle. Second, we hit a big freeze and the water pipes up there froze.

AND HOW YOU’RE SUPPOSED-TA GROW CROPS — We were enjoying a healthy dose of rain — blessings to the farmers and ranchers here. A bonus was a rare wet snowfall, drenching the valley. It stuck all around the foothills though.

JANUARY 30, 1931

WHEN WE SAY, “ELKS,” WE DON’T MEAN THE LOCAL SCV SERVICE ORGANIZATION — Charles Viegel had a surprise waiting for him when he opened up his Newhall Ice Co. freezer doors. Someone had snuck in and left two elk (dead) hanging from meat hooks. Turned out an employee had let a Bakersfield game warden store them there overnight. They had been illegally poached from the herd in San Joaquin.

NOT A HAPPY FAMILY —  Arthur Lapsley bought the old Shuler Ranch up in the Sierra Pelonas, where the Bouquet Reservoir sits today. The place had a dark history. The Shulers had homesteaded there in the 1800s. Most of the Shuler brothers met terrible deaths. One committed suicide, blowing his brains out in the barn. Another was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Henry Shuler was killed while digging a well. He was at the bottom of the pit when the large, heavy wooden bucket fell from the lip and landed on his head, killing him instantly.

JANUARY 30, 1941

FEELING THE DRAFT — War was around the corner and our local draft board was called upon to fill their quota — 28 young men from Chatsworth and the Little Santa Clara and Antelope Valleys.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO T.N.A.! — It was called The Negro Academy and opened 80 years ago. The place was a military/agricultural school for Black youths ages 10-18. At its peak, it housed nearly 100 students and was just off old Highway 99 in Saugus.

TALK ABOUT TRAFFIC CONGESTION — The historic Newhall-Saugus Rodeo returned to its home at Bonelli Stadium (Saugus Speedway today). The floods of 1938 caused the Wild West show to move into, first, Placerita, then Newhall. The 1941 world-famous rodeo drew tens of thousands of visitors to the sleepy little valley.

WE WERE A TREE CITY DECADES BEFORE IT WAS P.C. — The American Legion donated almost 1,000 cypress and pine trees to local schools from Acton to Newhall.

HOLY MOLE-Y!! — The Rev. Bradbury of the Mole Hill Baptist Church in the Sand Canyon area had quite a sense of humor. He was being kidded by some local cowboys about how strict Baptists don’t dance. The good reverend replied: “Someone cannot participate in parachuting, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find joy in someone else parachuting.” Good answer, Dr. Bradbury.

JANUARY 30, 1951

I’LL SAY IT AGAIN, TWICE: “MIGHTY DRY. MIGHTY DRY.” — A small storm passed through, dumping about an inch of rain. It helped the drought. That upped our season total 3.5 inches. Mighty dry. Mighty dry.

MIXING OF TWO SPORTS: POKER AND SKEET SHOOTING — The old Saugus Hotel was a rough-and-tumble place. A poker game broke up after one of the players, a local oil worker, thought he was being cheated. He returned with a shotgun and chased the suspected card sharp to the communal bathroom down the hall. The petroleum removal engineer was wrestled to the ground after he blasted the door off its hinges. Luckily, the card player inside wasn’t hurt.

PUT ME DOWN FOR A PITCHER & A HALF — The Newhall Water Co. raised its rates for the first time in 28 years. NWC held the line since 1923, then asked for a modest 25-cent raise on their minimum accounts. That raised the average bill to about $1.50. Newhall Water pumped an average of 1.4 million gallons of water per day from six wells.

MORE UTILITY TRIVIA FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT-STARVED — In the year 1950, Newhall gained 128 new telephones, bringing its grand total to 1,291 phones. Santa Claritans made a daily average of 5,252 calls. (I think I make that in a morning.) In 1945, the average daily number of calls was just 2,890.

JANUARY 30, 1961

IF JOHNNY A. WOULD HAVE GONE TO HIS REWARD A MONTH OR SO EARLIER, HE COULD HAVE MISSED SENDING OUT A GAZALLION CHRISTMAS CARDS — John Phillip Arman, Newhall farmer, died. He was 91. He left behind him — get this — 96 descendants.

JANUARY 30, 1971

SO THAT’S WHY PIRU GLOWS AT NIGHT —  If any of you saddlepals are moseying down Highway 126, you and your pony might want to steer clear of a suspicious-looking capsule. Some teamster pulled a Homer Simpson and dropped a package out of the back of his open truck. The lead-lined capsule was filled with radioactive material. May we all have a chorus of, “Dohhhh!”

SOMEWHERE, WE’RE MISSING 40,000 SOULS — Locals were scratching their heads over the recently released census figures. Before, we had a good estimate from utility hook-ups that about 60,000 people lived here. But the U.S. Census had us at just a tad over 20,000. And these are the people some want to tackle everything from the weather to the economy.

JANUARY 30, 1981

“HONEY. WHY IS THERE A CABOOSE ON YOUR SIDE OF THE BED?” —  Folks by the Oasis trailer park up Soledad Canyon had a rude awakening. In the middle of the night, a Southern Pacific freight train derailed, sending cars and cargo all over the place. No one was injured.

I THINK THAT’S WHAT WE CALL IN WRITING CIRCLES, ‘IRONY …’ — The headline today is blackly humorous. In The Mighty Signal, the front page lead story was “OAK TREES vs. PROGRESS. WHICH WILL WIN?” It was an article about a new Sand Canyon development — the 88-acre McMillan Ranch and the proposed removal of eight heritage oaks that would be removed to build the project.

RAISING A TOAST — Kurt Freeman was the founder of the local Alcoholic Olympics, an annual fundraiser for reformed drinkers. Kurt was speaking before the chamber mucky-mucks at a rubber chicken fest and started THE speech with: “Contrary to popular belief, I am not here recruiting …”

Drat this was a fun time travel ride, amigos, amoebas, amigo-ettes and amoeba-ettes. Sure hate to say adios, but that’s our time portal up ahead. It’s not that I’m any big expert on quantum physics or multiuniverses, but I’ve got pretty good eyesight, and there’s a hand-painted wooden sign leaning against yonder vortex that reads: “SCV Time Vortex, Enter Here.” Looking forward to seeing Manny Santana, possibly Manny Fernandez and the rest of you dear souls seven days hence, back here at The Mighty Signal’s hitching post for another exciting Time Ranger adventure. Until then, big tip of the O’Farrell and a hearty — vayan con Dios amigos!

Boston is launching his own publishing house, John Boston Books. The first is a three-volume set is “Ghosts, Ghouls, Myths & Monsters — The Most Haunted Town in America.” That’d be us. In the meantime, you can buy Boston’s “Melancholy Samurai,” “Naked Came the Sasquatch” and other of his books at If you liked the book, would you mind leaving a kind 5-star review?

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