As you walk down the tree-lined streets of Old Town Newhall, you are surrounded by more than the natural beauty and unique architectural character that defines Santa Clarita’s oldest historic neighborhood. You will also find yourself immersed in the rich history that has defined our community and made the city of Santa Clarita into one of the safest, most family-friendly places in the United States.
If you have not explored this hidden treasure – or even if you have made a few visits to local restaurants and shops – there’s more to see. You may not be aware of the history there is to discover in Old Town Newhall. The area is full to the brim with historical sites, as well as iconic film locations since 1910 and timeless tributes to the legends of Western cinema. Thankfully, the Newhall Walking Tour is available to help you uncover the secrets that connect the past and present right on your smartphone.
The Newhall Walking Tour is designed with your whole family in mind and offers insight and information into the individuals, businesses and locations that built the foundation of our rich heritage. You can download the free Newhall Walking Tour app to your smartphone or visit walkingtour.oldtownnewhall.com to start planning your day of discovery, where you can eat, walk, shop and play, all within a few blocks. This is a rare opportunity to be a tourist in our own backyard. If you need assistance, you can also visit the Old Town Newhall Library, located on Lyons Avenue and Main Street, to access the tour online.
When you open the app or visit the website, you will find that you can truly customize your experience. Whether you want to focus on places of historical significance or visit your favorite actor’s spot on the Walk of Western Stars, you are just one click or tap away. In addition to these categories, you will also see the option to view a variety of notable film locations in Newhall, as well as the businesses that make up the city’s vibrant arts and entertainment district.
During your self-guided tour, be sure to take in the sights, tastes and sounds of Main Street, which have been featured in a number of Hollywood productions, including the film “A Wrinkle in Time” and dozens of television shows, like “NCIS” and “Criminal Minds.” Veterans Historical Plaza on Walnut Street is also a frequent filming location for “NCIS” and was also featured in the pilot episode of “Mayans M.C.”
You will also want to look down at your feet while walking along Main Street to see the gorgeous bronze and terrazzo tiles of the Walk of Western Stars. The Newhall Walking Tour will help you find specific locations so you can take a photo with stars honoring Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and John Wayne.
Heritage Junction, located within William S. Hart Park, is home to a number of historical structures that have been preserved and restored. These include the Saugus Train Station, where President Theodore Roosevelt stopped in 1903, the Newhall Ranch House and the Mitchell Adobe School, among others. The Pioneer Oil Refinery (currently under restoration), located on Pine Street, was the first successful oil refinery to be built and operated in 1800s California. In the future, the site will include a public park with educational components that detail its place in history.
Finally, the Newhall Walking Tour also offers a list of public art that you and your family can see in the area. The list includes the Willie Johnson sculpture in Veterans Historical Plaza, the Bike Book bicycle rack at the Santa Clarita Public Library Old Town Newhall Branch and the new “Art Happens Here” mural at the Santa Clarita Artists Association gallery on 6th Street between Railroad Avenue and Main Street. This breathtaking mural celebrates the many art forms present in our community, including photography, painting and sketch art.
I hope you will take the time to discover the beauty and history of Santa Clarita’s roots by embarking on the Newhall Walking Tour with your family, friends and visitors. Just go relax, enjoy, and eat and drink at unique eateries — you deserve it! You can learn more about the tour online by visiting walkingtour.oldtownnewhall.com.
Mayor Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].