|1. Pardee House||4. Mogul Locomotive||7. Kingsburry House|
|2. Newhall Ranch House||5. Mitchell Adobe||8. Callahan Schoolhouse|
|3. Saugus Train Station||6. Edison House||9. Ramona Chapel|
The Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society was founded in 1975 as a non-profit corporation to stimulate public interest in the history of the Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding areas, to collect and preserve the stories and artifacts which relate to local history, and to provide educational services to the community. With the increasing destruction of local historic sites, the Society realized that it must rescue, restore and conserve those important or representative structures within the community, or they would be lost forever. As these structures were threatened, they moved to land leased from the County of Los Angeles adjacent to William S. Hart Park and Museum in downtown Newhall. Thus came into being the idea of a heritage park, where the community and visitors could enjoy the rich heritage of this unique region of Southern California.
The Society’s first big acquisition was the Saugus Train Station, which Southern Pacific deeded to them in 1980. Monies were raised through a variety of community functions and the Station was moved from its original site and restored to its original condition; it has since served as the headquarters for the Society and as a museum of local history.
In 1982, the Society was given Mogul Steam Engine 1629, located at Melody Ranch, by Gene Autry. 1629 now sits on a siding alongside the Saugus Station; a group of Society members, who are also railroad enthusiasts, are currently working on its restoration to full steam operation.
In 1986, the Society took a stand (literally) around the Mitchell Ranch, an Adobe and a Victorian farm house in Sulphur Springs. As the bulldozer approached the farm house, members formed a barricade with Sulphur Springs residents and tried to stop the impending destruction. They were unsuccessful, but as the machinery approached the adobe on the same property, Mother Nature intervened with a swarm of bees coming from within the building. This delay allowed the Society to negotiate with the property owners and retrieve the surviving adobe bricks, removing them to a spot across from the Saugus Station. Today, those bricks are reassembled within Heritage Junction as the Mitchell Schoolhouse Adobe, the second oldest school in Los Angeles County.
Six other buildings have since been moved to Heritage Junction. All are in various stages of restoration, each has a project manager, and people interested in learning about restoration and working on the structures are always welcome to contact them.
An extensive and beautiful historic rose garden adds to the attractive landscape near the visitor’s center. Planted and maintained by the Santa claria Valley Rose Society, it features over 300 roses of varieties popular between 1850 and 1950. Vegetable gardens are also grown around several buildings by local gardeners in keeping with nineteeth century custom. Gardens and houses are connected by a series of walkways constructed of bricks recycled from the original foundations of the park’s historic structures.
To further its objective of education, the Society maintains a museum of local history, provides guest speakers for clubs and school groups, gives tours of its Heritage Junction Historic Park and holds public meetings monthly with a speaker of general historic interest. The museum is open from 1-4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Exhibits include memorabilia from downtown Newhall’s heyday, the pioneer oil and mining industries, the railroad and the discovery of gold in Placerita Canyon. The fledgling movie industry is also celebrated with items from early cowboy and silent movie stars on display. Docents are available to answer questions about the museum, the Junction, and local points of historical interest.