The Signal from Santa Clarita, California on August 2, 1988 · 4
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The Signal from Santa Clarita, California · 4

Santa Clarita, California
Issue Date:
Tuesday, August 2, 1988
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4 Newhall Signal & Saugus Enterprise Tuesday, August 2, 1988 Centennial Celebration Recalls Small Town History Continued from Page I Fillmore's earlier days of cattle and sheep raising quickly faded. At the dawn of the new century, oil was discovered in the hills and the town boomed. At one point some 14 different oil companies operated in the surrounding area. In those days the workers and equipment had to be hauled up rugged hills with up to 36 percent grades. Kerosene was the most popular oil product, and oil was sprinkled along dirt streets to reduce dust. James Haynes, a resident of Fillmore for 80 years (minus the two and a half years he lived in Newhall) remembers delivering kerosene door-to-door when he worked for Standard Oil. Early Fillmore had a distinct frontier flavor. "It was very much a cow town," recalled Vespa Haynes, James' wife, referring to its cowboy influence. No western towrc is complete without its share of gunfights, and Fillmore was no exception. As far as frontier towns go, Fillmore was relatively peaceful, but at one point it harbored two somewhat notorious gunfighters, Joe Dye and Mason Bradfield. The incident which has gained recognition involves an argument that broke out between Dye and Judge C.E. Elkins, a progressive man for his time, who discarded his horse and buggy to buy a Model T when it first came out. The first day he drove into town he proudly rode down the main street. When he tried to stop, he couldn't, and the car just kept going. Panicking, he yanked on the wheel with all his strength, hollering, "Whoa! Whoa!" The car glided all the way through town with its driver thrashing wildly behind the wheel and didn't stop until it crashed into a metal hitching post in front of the railroad depot. In 1914, Fillmore was incorporated as a city. The battle over incorporation was heated, with the vote deciding on incorporation winning by a bare 15 votes. During the debate which raged before, the vote, pro and con arguments deteriorated into mud-slinging personal criticism of the opposing vif,. Arguments frequently erupted on town sidewalks and The Fillmore Herald ran an editorial lambasting those who were against incorporation as rich, uncaring boors who refused to build sidewalks in front of their plush homes for the school children who were in danger of being mowed down by one of their luxury automobiles. Once the new City Council was mmmmmmmMmmm HI .1111 liliwiiM! t The Masonic insignia, suspended above an entrance to Mason Hall on Central Avenue. Mason Hall is still the tallest building in town at three stories. The old brick structure darkens back to the Depression-era style of many of the buildings in the Central Avenue business strip. Bradfield in which Dye threatened to kill Bradfield. Dye had already killed a man named Herman Haines in 1886, but he was no match for Bradfield, who shot him instead. Later, Bradfield gunned down another man on the streets of Fillmore. The very first store in Fillmore was built by a man who was an active early leader in the town and who provided land for a golf course that was built in the 1960s from one of his ranches. He was formed, it was faced with another problem, this on a far more personal level. This involved another oldtime character, Owen Miller, who ran a hotel and livery stable in the center of town. Outside his hotel towered one of Fillmore's largest pepper trees, its branches stretching the length of his hotel front and more. The tree was destined to be cut down to accommodate new sidewalks. Miller, who had no desire to see his precious pepper tree so casually slaughtered, banked on his reputation as a skillful gunman and threatened anyone who dared approach his tree with an ax with death. He enhanced his threat by placing himself conspicuously on his front porch with his gun between his knees. One morning, a man could be seen slowly walking toward Owen's house, something over his shoulder. The man was Everett Pyle, a member of the City Council. He carried an ax. He stopped in front of Owen Miller's hotel, surveying the pepper tree and Owen's dark expression. According to the city's 50th Anniversary booklet, the conversation between Owen and Everett went something like this: "Good morning, Owen," Everett greeted. "Good morning," replied Owen. "What are you going to do?" "I'm going to chop down this pepper tree." "Chop down that tree and I'll shoot you," said Owen. "I have neither chick nor child," replied Everett. "If you shoot me, I'll not be missed, and you will hang for murder, and this tree will be cut down anyhow, so go ahead and shoot." With that Everett started chopping. Owen Miller got up, went into his hotel and didn't come out for three days. When the harmony of early Fillmore wasn't being threatened by incorporation battles and gunslinging tree protectors, it was in danger from natural sources. Fillmore was nearly destroyed several times. The town was rocked by an earthquake in 1914 and the business district was ravaged by fire in 1890 and 1903. There wasn't sufficient water in those days to extinguislUheiires, so, says James Haynes, everything "just burned down." Haynes claims that during the fire the whole town could smell the lima beans in a nearby warehouse parching. This troublesome water shortage had prompted those who supported- the incorporation of Fillmore to request that one of the requirements for cityhood be that there be "more fire hydrants and better equipment for fighting fire." The biggest threat to the burgeoning community came from the St. Francis Dam up San Francisquito Canyon. At midnight of March 12, 1928, the dam collapsed, gushing a wall of water through the valley to the sea, devastating everything in its path. After five hours the waters receded, leaving homes, orchards, highways, bridges, railroad tracks, schools, homes and ranches and anything else lying near the Santa Clara riverbed as muddy wreckage. The business district and most of the homes in Fillmore were spared merely because of their good fortune in being located on higher ground above the riverbed and the path of the torrent. The town was also ' 'threatened' ' by quite a different sort of enemy Halley's comet, which blazed across the sky in 1910. Haynes laughs when he recounts the spectacle which evolved when the minister of the Sespe Community Methodist Church announced that the comet was heralding the end of the world, which was to take place at exactly 9 p.m. one particular night. The townspeople were already in a state of fear of this ball of fire with a tail that "extended horizon Noticias Especial Domingo Augusto 14 Informacion Importante Para gente nuevo en Santa Clarita Escrito en Espanol No lo Plerdes! to horizon," and on the reported doomsday night, church members held a prayer meeting inside the church. Haynes chuckles, "They were all praying themselves into or out of somewhere." After the prayer meeting, the preacher suggested they wait for the end outside. "Everyone was hysterical, of course," says Haynes. But at 9 o'clock nothing happened. "I think the preacher was disappointed." As the young city ripened its population grew, its land was subdivided and it became increasingly modernized. When street lamps were installed along Centra! Avenue, the business district relocated itself there and Main longer stopped in Fillmore, and citrus growers who had formerly loaded their produce at the Fillmore depot had to cart it to Ventura to be loaded. The big oil boom at the turn of the century exhausted the wells, and oil refineries and rigs were abandoned as companies pulled out. Now there are only three oil companies left compared to the one-time high of 14. The town settled comfortably into its "Midwest-style" community, as some have called it. Recently Fillmore's population has been booming again, much like that of SCV communities, and much to the chagrin of many of Fillmore's oldest residents. Said f-' i; - rz:Xri ,- -' -;' f t iv " i , , J , s - jf , I - - ; V : " IS v rH z , . ' " ; , - -Mia . .i ni-ir mm-' - 1 Photos by Annette Westly Fillmore resident James Haynes, 77, in his workshop with his 100-year-old lathe, which he uses to make gavels for various civic groups. The lathe originally was about four times the size it is now and was operated by a system of belts and a gearshift. Haynes rebuilt it with a 1914 Chevrolet transmission. The long pipe sticking up is used to shift the lathe among its three gears. Street was abandoned. The early days of Fillmore were not entirely wild. Haynes recalls days when all the high school kids worked after school to buy clothes. He delivered vegetables on his bike to customers every afternoon after school. Many of Fillmore's residents also ordered groceries from Los Aangeles, which arrived on the train. He remembers spending some of the money he earned on lazy summer days when school was out. "In the summer a bunch of us boys would go to L.A. on the train and take the streetcar to Venice and stay there a few days." Those lazy days ended when the last passenger train stopped in Fillmore Jan. 13, 1935. Soon even the freight train no Dorothy Haase, chairman of the centennial festivities, "It's the small-town flavor that's what attracts people." Much of the population consists of newcomers, whose interest in developing the land is not shared by the older residents. Laments Haynes, "The new ones are trying to rebuild it, get it to be like L.A., when they came here to get away from L.A." Despite this, Fillmore retains much of its oldtime feeling. Central Avenue has the oldest bank and market on one of its corners and, farther down, the old-style high school and churches. The buildings in the business district date back to the Depresssion era, and as Fillmore celebrates its centennial, the tallest building in town is still Mason Hall at a whopping three stories high. Wayside Wells Poorly Received Continued from Page 1 Castaic-area water customers are served by the NCWD wells, which are located closer to the lagoon than the, proposed jail wells. The jail's report on the proposed drilling acknowledged that the water level near NCWD's wells would drop at least 6 feet. Jenks said the drop was likely to be more serious than that. "There is going to be considerably more than a 6-foot drawdown," he said. "I feel it is going to have a serious effect on our facilities." Jenks said the relationships of the different water companies have long established the eventual use of the water in Castaic Creek. "They can't just appropriate water." Dan Masnada, manager of Valencia Water Co., said the report did not address his company's concerns. "It was insufficient and the scope of the report was limited. "The premise that they are basically getting water from underneath the dam is not completely true," he said. "They are also affecting the alluvium and they are tapping into the (maximum estimated annual) yield. "They looked at the upstream wells of Newhall County Water District, but they disregarded the effects on the downstream pumpers." Those include Newhall Land and Farming Co., which pumps water for agriculture, and its subsidiary, Valencia Water Company, which supplies Valencia homes and businesses. Masnada said his company was likely to ask the jail to detail how the downstream water wells would be affected by the new installations. He also wanted to know, "How does this extraction affect the whole valley water supply?" He said said a 1986 water consultant's report showed that the water table could produce up to 32,000 acre feet per year. Masnada said about 22,000 acre feet are being pumped from the Castaic Creek alluvium annually, and that historically, wells have yielded even more. "But the purveyors, in working up their plans, have accounted for the full utilization of those 32,000 acre feet, and here comes the prison saying 'we're taking 2000 acre feet more.' Numbers picked in the 649 Lotto Game of the California State Lottery 8 p.m., Saturday, July 30, 1988 Winning Numbers: 11, 36, 39, 45, 32, 16 Bonus Number: 47 Jackpot: $5.7 Million v For Lotto Information: 976-4275 (English) 976-5275 (Spanish) The Newhall Signal refuses to accept liability in case any ol these numbers are Incorrect, THE NEWHALL SIGNAL & SAUGUS ENTERPRISE 24000 Creektlde Road Valencia, California 913SS P.O. Box 877 Newhall, California 41322 (805) 259-1234 (818) 365-1600 FAX: (805) 254-8068 Founded February 7, 1919 Published vry Tuutdoy Wednesday - Thursday Friday Sunday by Newhall Newspaper, Inc. Anthony Newhall Publisher Ruth Newhall Editor Jeanne Feeney Managing Editor Jay Ham City Editor Sue Mayes Mgr., Sales t Marketing J.P. Pieper Mgr., Display Advertising Kristie Widner Mgr., Class Advertising The Newhall Signal ft Saugus Enterprise Is a newspaper of general circulation as defined by Section 6072, Government Code. State of California, and is adjudged to be a newspaper entitled to print and publish legal advertising by Decree No. 503852 dated August 7, 1945, of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, State of California. Guaranteed Circulation Each Issue 39,600 SUBSCRIPTION RATES Single copy. 35C 6 months , . $22.00 3 months. $12.00 1 year .... $40.00 Voluntary Subscription . .$4.50mo. MAIL SUBSCRIPTION RATES 6 months . $50.00 1 year . $100.00 KM VERIFIED 14 JJ AUDIT CIRCULATION Foreign $150.00 per year To Subscribe, Call 259-1000 Government Representatives U.S. PRESIDENT OF U.S. RONALD REAGAN The White House Washington, D.C. 20500 U.S. CONGRESS SENATE SENATOR ALAN CRANSTON Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 5757 Century Blvd., Room 620 Los Angeles, CA. 09925 (213) 215-2186 U.S. SENATOR PETE WILSON Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 11111 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA.90025 (213) 209-6765 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 20th Congressional District REP. BILL THOMAS 858 W. Jackman, Suite 115 Lancaster, CA., (805) 948-2634 21st Congressional District REP. ELTON GALLEGLY 9301 Oakdale Ave. Chatsworth, CA. 91311 (818) 341-2121 22nd Congressional District REP. CARLOS MOORHEAD 420 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA. 91203 (805) 257-1700 (818) 247-8445 STATE OF CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR GEORGE DEUKMEJIAN State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 94814 STATE SENATE 19th Senatorial District SENATOR ED DAVIS 11145 Tampa Ave., Northridge, CA 91326 (818) 368-1171 21st Senatorial District SENATOR NEWTON RUSSELL 401 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA 91203 (818) 247-7021 STATE ASSEMBLY 34th Assembly District ASSEMBLYMAN PHILLIP WYMAN 5393 Truxton Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93309 (805) 323-3385 37th Assembly District ASSEMBLYWOMAN CATHIE WRIGHT 250 Easy St., Suits 7 Simi Valley, CA 93065 (805) 522-2920 or (805) 253-4022 LOS ANGELES COUNTY 5th Supervisorial District SUPERVISOR MIKE ANTONOVICH Jo Anne Darciy, Deputy SCV Civic Center 869 83726 Megle Mountain Ptavy. H.ll at dmlni..on ; ' 355 500 W. Tempi. St. 253-7230 Anj,,,, 0A 900ia CITY OF SANTA CLARITA MAYOR BUCK MCKEON 21021 Soledad Cyn. Rd. Santa Clarita, CA 91351 All dty offices: 259-CITY a. I

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