Heavens to Betsy, Bernice and Aunt Bea. This year of 2021 is evaporating quickly. Seems like the cold dry January was 10 minutes ago. Of course, what with us all being accomplished time travelers, and time being — like your uncle, relative — what care we?
C’mon. Crawl out of those bunks. Climb down from those nosebleed-tall second-story condos. I’ll hold your lattes AND the reins while you climb aboard a tested pony. And just in case there’s any heirs to the throne riding with us this morn, I’ll hold your — reigns.
Please forward all hostile responses to The Mighty Signal’s drop box, which we’ve moved to 8 miles up the Old Ridge Route. Take a sweater.
This morning, we have some interesting vistas ahead. There’s aquaterrorists, desert hikers and dreaded CC&Rs to investigate. We’ve got epic baseball struggles and a locally born supervisor who returns from the grave.
Shall we mosey off to where time does not exist?
WAY BACK WHEN & THEN SOME
ONE WAS ACTUALLY A MANLY MAN — William Manly and John Rogers set out on foot from Death Valley on Nov. 4, 1849, toward San Francisco. They were seeking help for the famed and stranded Bennett-Arcane wagon train. The pair hiked across some of the most unforgiving terrain on Earth, living on lizards and a crow. They ended up finding San Francisco all right — RANCHO San Francisco here in Newhall. Ignacio del Valle sent a posse from his huge spread to rescue the 49ers. They were brought back and some of their descendants still live here today.
THE PAPER WAS WORTH MORE THAN A PLUG NICKEL — Back on Nov. 2, 1891, Rudolph Nickel founded the first water company in the Santa Clarita Valley. It was called the Acton Water Works. Rudolph also was editor of the first official newspaper in the valley — The Acton Rooster. It predated The Mighty Signal by some three decades.
NOVEMBER 6, 1921
GUESS THE DAD WAS ANTI-GOVERNMENT — On this date, a county social worker showed up at the Zaccahea residence to offer some aid to the family. The indignant patriarch, who supported a family of 16 on $20 a week wages, chased the lady off at shotgun-point.
NOVEMBER 6, 1931
TALK ABOUT A LACK OF PITCHING — On this date, Newhall Elementary beat Saugus Elementary by a score of 69-47. In baseball. Yup. You read that right. Cripes. Amen. Boy howdy. Wee daddy. Insert your own annoying Westernism. You read that right — 69-47 in BASEBALL… I’m guessing the fans in the stands had to bring a month’s worth of peanuts and lemonade.
GUESS SOMEONE WANTED THEM TO, (sorry!) PIPE DOWN — A huge section of pipe for the Los Angeles Aqueduct lumbered through Newhall on this date. It was used to replace a section that had been blown up during the ongoing range war between the Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District and agri-interests along the route. The explosion was actually a left-handed blessing. During the tough Depression, several hundred men were employed after the terrorism to patrol the pipe and aqueduct.
MAYBE EVERYONE MISTAKENLY DRESSED UP AS ANGELS — The SCV recorded one of its quietest Halloweens ever. No outhouses were reported turned over, no windows soaped, no flaming bags of horse poop placed on people’s porches and doorbells rung.
WOULD YOU CARE FOR SOME OIL FOR YOUR DIRT? — Local dirt roads were in nice shape. Up until the 1960s, many rural highways were treated with a mixture of sand and oil. It kept the dust down and compacted nicely. With oil at 40 cents a barrel, there was plenty of the mixture to go around.
NOVEMBER 6, 1941
SOMEONE PLEASE SHOW THIS TO TOM LEE AS I AM, FEARFULLY, A COWARD — On this date, The Signal ran a public service recruitment announcement with the headline: “THE NAVY DOES NOT DEMAND A HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION!”
TRAITORS, ARSONISTS, SPIES, POACHERS, NAZIS & LATE SLEEPERS NOT PARTICULARLY WELCOME — On this date, an ancient thoroughfare was closed permanently. The old Sawmill Mountain Road by Pine Canyon was shut down by the Forest Service. There had been a problem over the years with people hunting out of season, but really, with the premonition that America would join the Allies in World War II, authorities didn’t want those with an affinity toward the Axis powers wandering around up there.
OUT OF ONE WAR. INTO ANOTHER. — There were 32 local veterans from World War I signed up to celebrate an Armistice Day party in Newhall. Little did they know that less than a month later, America would be declaring war on Japan, Germany and Italy.
HATE TO SAY IT, BUT I THINK IT’S STILL TRUE TODAY AS WE SNEAK UP ON A MILLION — A Signal editorial praised the thought of someday having an auditorium in town. Local planners were kicking around a figure of 700 seats. The Signal noted that never in the history of the valley had more than 300 people showed up for any meeting.
NOVEMBER 6, 1951
THE OLD ‘YA CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE’ PLOY — The State Highway Department finally put up some signs as to the whereabouts of the new Placerita Canyon state park. Small problem. The direction arrows pointed 180 degrees to the wrong direction.
CLOSE TO HOME — Well. If someone is going to start a fire, there probably wasn’t a better place for it. On this date, a motorist flicked out a cigarette, starting a brush fire in front of the Jack Wambold home on San Fernando Road. Luckily, the Wambolds lived right across the street from the Ranger Station and the blaze was quickly extinguished.
NOVEMBER 6, 1961
HEADS DE LOS POT — A pre-dawn narco squad raid in East Newhall netted six arrests and busted up what was called a major marijuana raid. A 16-year-old Hart co-ed was also arrested. About 3 pounds of marijuana were confiscated. At the time, that amount could net the felons 10-years-to-life sentences.
NOVEMBER 1, 1963
HOW ABOUT THEM COWBOYS? — The community of Canyon Country was officially founded, launched by a big rodeo and fair called Frontier Days.
NOVEMBER 6, 1971
AHHHH. THE GOVERNMENT AT YOUR SERVICE — Because of an amazingly complicated foul-up between agencies, folks living in the Santa Clarita Valley served by Newhall County Water District had to drive all the way out to Castaic to vote in the November election. No one had a reason why.
BRRRRRR!! AND THEN SOME! — We got our first frost warnings of the fall. The mercury plummeted to the mid-20s and farmers (those people who used to grow fruit and vegetables out of the ground before there were condos here?) were warming up their smudge pots. Climate change.
THAT DORN GUY!! — Our dear pal Supervisor Warren Dorn had earlier been both hung and buried in effigy by angry protesting Placerita Canyon homeowners. The county had threatened to cut down almost 100 heritage oaks to widen Placerita Canyon Road to a four-lane highway. Dorn, “risen from the dead,” showed up at a local meeting, much to the surprise of the canyon residents. After a brief and acrimonious exchange, Dorn gave the homeowners what-for, promising that as long as he was in office, those oaks would never be touched. Some residents doubted Dorn’s sincerity, not realizing the good supervisor had been born in Newhall in 1918. It was also Dorn — and a friend of his by the name of Walt Disney — who stopped a freeway being built through Placerita Canyon, connecting Highway 14 to Sierra Highway.
PARK YOUR CARES AND WOES — Another ecologist hard at work was Janice Hinkston of Canoga Park. She headed up the Santa Susana Mountains Association and was working to make sure the lands east of Valencia would remain pristine and wild. Ms. Hinkston actually wanted the current Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy area to be named a state or national park.
NOVEMBER 6, 1981
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, DOGS DIDN’T HAVE TO CARRY AROUND PROOF OF VACCINATION BEFORE RELIEVING THEMSELVES ON A TREE — One of the nightmares of modern living was born here years earlier — the dreaded SCV CC&Rs. That stands for Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. As more and more condos, townhouses and even housing projects were born, people moving in found themselves unavoidably pulled into these condominium city-states with their own rule of law. One local CC&R invented the edict that no property owner could own more than 35 pounds of pet(s). On this date, residents of the Saugus Terrace Home group revolted, kicking out their ruling body. Seems like there was all manner of financial hanky panky and voodoo bookkeeping.
RE: THE ABOVE — Voodoo Bookkeeping. Good nerd band name.
Thanks so much for the company, dear saddlepals. May you have a grand and peaceful day, be it running errands, watching football or just taking a weekend nap. I’ll see you in a week with a brand new Time Ranger adventure, and, until then, vayan con Dios, amigos!
Got the web site — johnbostonbooks.com — up and running. It’s still under construction, but we’re getting closer to Official Launch. First new offering of the three-volume set is Volume 1 of “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 on Amazon.com or https://www.amazon.com/John-Boston/e/B000APA0H8?ref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share. If you liked the book, would you mind leaving a kind 5-star review…?