City to receive historical archives for library 

Well-known SCV historian A.B. Perkins sits at his typewriter. Courtesy SCV History
Well-known SCV historian A.B. Perkins sits at his typewriter. Courtesy SCV History

The Santa Clarita City Council is expected to approve spending $20,000 to acquire and preserve for the local library system a priceless collection of Santa Clarita Valley antiquity that belonged to one of the area’s modern forefathers. 

The collection from Arthur Buckingham “A.B.” Perkins features more than 600 books, as well as correspondence, photos, ledgers, maps and artifacts from a man who helped found the valley’s first water company, chamber of commerce, high school district and more. 

Leon Worden, a lifelong resident, local historian and vice president of SCVTV, considered the archive “an amazing contribution to the history of our valley,” in a statement Monday.  

“As an old-school classmate of (Perkins’ granddaughter Marguerite R. Perkins), I know how deeply she cares about her grandfather’s legacy, and she has found the perfect home for it,” said Worden, who’s also vice president of the SCV Historical Society. “The city library’s experienced archiving staff can give it the professional care it deserves and ensure that it is preserved and available for generations to come.” 

He added that Perkins’ work was so influential and widely regarded, questions instantly began about what was featured in the collection. 

The collection, which was estimated to take up about 110 cubic feet of space, according to the city agenda, is part of a collection that’s never been publicly displayed, Worden added. It’s unrelated to the collection of the historian’s books featured at College of the Canyons. 

Born in 1891, Perkins arrived in the SCV in 1919, the same year The Signal was founded. His writings from then until his death in 1977 provide a wealth of information about the modern formation of the area, and its most significant events, including the San Francisquito Dam disaster, the formation of its first high school and the SCV’s evolution, much of which he chronicled in the pages of The Signal in a column called “The Story of Our Valley.” 

“What is coming ahead for Newhall?” he questioned in a Dec. 30, 1954, column, which supposes that the construction of a highway at the end of Sepulveda Boulevard (the Interstate 5-405 connection) “will spark a population influx” and in the same, he notes a pending oil rush ahead for the sleepy suburb filled with government employees. 

“Newhall is still an Oil Town. Secondarily its income is derived from the numerous governmental or utility payrolls. Another decade and it is likely to be one more bedroom for the San Fernando Valley. It’s purely a question of location,” he wrote. “One cannot avoid manifest destiny.” 

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