Check out our
Calendar of Events
for docent-led tours and special events.
Ride the Historic Movie Trains!
Ride on Hollywood’s movie trains while enjoying murder mystery dinner theatre excursions such as the “Night Train to Murder”, “For a Few Dollars Less Family Murder Mystery Train”, “The Love Train”, or “When the West Was Wild”.
25861 Railroad Avenue, Saugus
The history of this unimposing little café goes way back to 1886, although it has resided in the current building since 1952. With a renovation in 1994, patrons today will still enjoy generous meals at sensible prices. Where else may one dine within the same walls as presidents and legends? Former customers of the restaurant include Presidents Benjamin Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Tom Mix, Charlie Chaplin, Doug Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford. The cast of CSI, as well as Drew Barrymore and Whoopi Goldberg, have filmed here.
Walk of the Western Stars
San Fernando Road, Downtown Newhall
John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Dennis Weaver, Jack Palance, Bruce Boxleitner, and Melissa Gilbert are just a few of the western celebrities honored in downtown Newhall. Western film, stage, television and radio personalities who performed in the Santa Clarita Valley are honored here in The Downtown Newhall Walk of Western Stars, which began in 1981. Come with your camera and find your favorite stars immortalized with bronze plaques and terrazzo tile set into the sidewalks along San Fernando Road, Newhall Avenue, and Market Street.
William S. Hart Park & Museum
View Huell Howser's YouTube Trailer
24151 San Fernando Road, Newhall
Former silent film cowboy star and director, William S. Hart, resided in this fully furnished Spanish colonial revival style mansion, now open to the public. Fans of western art will find many of their favorites here, including works done by Charles Russell, Joe De Young, Charles Christadoro, and Frederic Remington. Movie props from the 1920s and authentic native American artifacts are also found throughout the museum. Make a day of your visit—take the kids to the petting zoo, ogle the buffalo grazing on the property, and enjoy a picnic under a shade tree. Free.
Heritage Junction Historic Park
24151 N. San Fernando Road, Newhall
Located within William S. Hart Park. Although the train is being refurbished, you can view the exterior. Historical buildings to tour include the Saugus Train Station and the Mitchell Schoolhouse Adobe. There’s also a gift shop and a beautiful historic rose garden. The train station has been featured in "The Grifters," "Suddenly," and "The Pilgrim" among other films. Free. Open weekends, 1:00 – 4:00 pm.
Live History Presentations
Firing cannons, haunted houses, the history of movie making in the Santa Clarita Valley, a demonstration of Chuckwagons...these have been topics of previous lessons or may be upcoming. Don't miss the annual St. Francis Dam Disaster tours offered every March. Check the website for current topics.
At the end of Pico Canyon Road, Stevenson Ranch
While frankly there’s not a lot of buildings to tour here, it’s worth scheduling a hike in the park and dropping in on one of the afternoons the buildings are open for tours. Once you head up the hill from the buildings, you’ll come upon remnants of the 1880s oil boom town, including the remnants of Pico Number 4. Pico Number 4 was the longest running oil well in the world when it ceased operation in 1990, and the first commercially successful oil well in the western United States. A neat place to stop for ghost town aficionados. UPDATE: March 2007: The house is not currently open for tours as the road beyond the gate is closed. It's a 1/4 mile walk from the gate.
Tour a Movie Studio
This western set is the current home to the townspeople of “Deadwood,” a new series running on HBO. If you’ve been to the Cowboy Poetry Festival, you’ve seen the town crowded with people. Now is your opportunity to walk the streets almost solo. A guided studio tour of the western town includes a stroll down Main Street and the interiors of the buildings. Your guide will share with you moments from the exciting days of filming, past and present. The tour would not be complete without a stop at The Melody Ranch Museum, which houses one-of-a-kind movie memorabilia from the last fifty years including Gene Autry’s collection. Best for kids 12 and over. By appointment only; subject to filming.
Oak of the Golden Dream
California Historical Landmark No. 168. As the state of California affirms, it is where "Francisco Lopez made California's first authenticated gold discovery on March 9, 1842." The oak is located inside Placerita Canyon State Park, and escaped the wildfires of July 2004.
Harry Carey Ranch
Get a sneak peak of Harry Carey Ranch on YouTube
Located in the Tesoro del Valle development on Avenida Rancho Tesoro, just past Stone Creek Road, on the right-hand side of the street.
Born in 1878, Harry Carey and his wife Olive had the ranch house and its various outbuildings built in the 1920s and 1930s, a period when they lived with their children at the ranch. Harry Carey was a notable early western film actor whose prolific film career includes at least 233 movies. Notable film stars that visited the ranch during the time the Carey’s owned it include John Wayne, William S. Hart, and Gary Cooper. Western artist Charles Russell was also a frequent guest at the ranch. The Clougherty family, the owners of the Farmer John product line, purchased the property in the 1952 and owned the property for almost 50 years before selling a part of the original 1795-acre ranch for residential development.
The historic adobe park is managed by the County, with an emphasis on the original owners of the property, to provide a glimpse of past motion picture and early adobe structures in California history. The past history of the site is intended to provide a setting for third and fourth grade school children as they study California history. The public is also invited to visit as the department develops an interpretive and docent program for the park.
St. Francis Dam
"The second worst disaster in California history began on March 12, 1928, near midnight, in the remote San Francisquito Canyon area of Saugus. The St. Francis Dam failed at 11:57:30, a time pegged to the loss of electricity from the Southern California Edison transmission lines to Lancaster. The dam's reservoir of 12.5 billion gallons of water poured down the narrow canyon, initially in a 140-foot-high wall of water, and swept nearly 500 men, women and children to their deaths. In California history, only the 1906 San Francisco earthquake killed more people. It was a disaster of epic proportions, one that remains largely unpublicized and unknown, today. As the flood carved out a path to the sea, it lay waste to Castaic Junction, Piru, Fillmore, Santa Paula and Saticoy before emptying into the Pacific Ocean, more than 50 miles away, near Ventura." By Michele E. Buttelman, Signal Features Editor
Every year on the anniversary of the tragedy, the SCV Historical Society offers a lecture and escorts visitors to the site for a tour.
St. Francis Dam Memorial (1.5 miles south of dam site)
Mass Grave Marker
Dedicated on March 12, 1978 and located in the Ivy Lawn Memorial Park.
St. Francis Dam Memorial - "The Warning"
Located in Santa Paula, the forged steel sculpture by Eric Richards is a depiction of two police officers in the act of waking sleeping citizens warning them to move to high ground.
Rancho Camulos Museum
While technically in Ventura County, this is the ranch that began civilization in the Santa Clarita Valley. It's a National Historic Landmark situated within an 1,800 acre working ranch. See one of the best remaining examples of a Spanish-Mexican rancho in its original rural environment. Rancho Camulos is noted for its literary significance as the setting for Helen Hunt Jackson's novel "Ramona."
Tours detail the lives of the native Tatavian Indians; the Del Valle family who established Rancho Camulos in 1853; and the Rubel family, current owners, who purchased the ranch in 1924. Visitors can see the main adobe, cocina, winery, chapel, schoolhouse and the beautiful gardens featuring over fifty varieties of roses.
Rancho Camulos is just 5.9 miles west of I-5 on Hwy 126. Look for the sign, "Rancho Camulos Marker 750 Ahead." The entrance will be on the south side.
San Fernando Mission
While this mission is 20-30 minutes outside of Santa Clarita, the mission served as a hospice for weary travelers. It's most famous 'resident' is Bob Hope, who rests peacefully in the Bob Hope Memorial Gardens at the mission.
This is the closest mission to the Santa Clarita Valley. Founded on September 8, 1797, the historic artifacts and buildings make it a 'must see' for history buffs.
Fort Tejon State Historical Park
661-248-6692 Fort Tejon History Association
Come take a step back in time and join with the men, women and children of Fort Tejon. Relive a day out of the past. These Living History demonstrations take place on the first Sunday of each month year around. At Fort Tejon visitors are always welcome and the modern world is checked at the gate.
The 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake was one of the greatest earthquakes ever recorded in the U.S. (Magnitude was about Mw 8.0). The earthquake left a surface rupture scar over 350 kilometers in length along the San Andreas fault. Despite the immense scale of this quake, only two people were reported killed by the effects of the shock. Click for more
About an hour from the SCV.
Join John Boston, Local Historian and Columnist
Offered through College of the Canyons, John will spend ten weeks sharing an historic adventure you won't soon forget. From serial killers to epic range wars, from forgotten national parks to one of the Earth's most significant military targets, the Santa Clarita Valley is one of the most historically significant locations in America! Each class meets at a new and fun location each week.
Updated November 5, 2013