Pico Canyon Chronicles: The Story of California’s Pioneer Oil Field


Author: Gerald G. Reynolds
Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society 1985 | 60 pages



ABOUT THE BOOK: Pico No. 4 was still producing oil after more than 100 years when Jerry Reynolds wrote the story of the canyon west of Newhall that started it all – IT being the California oil industry. In September 1876, Charles Alexander Mentry, a French immigrant driller who came to California by way of Pennsylvania, brought in the first commercially viable oil well west of that Eastern state. Reynolds tells the story of Mentry and his great success, but more than that, he chronicles the people and events leading up to that watershed moment, and he brings the story current with the tales of the men and women who populated the community of Mentryville. Today it’s a ghost town, but oh, once upon a time…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gerald G. ‘Jerry’ Reynolds studied art history at Long Beach State College and worked as a private investigator until landing his dream job as a tour guide at William Randolph Hearst’s castle at San Simeon. Ultimately he made a career with the California Department of Water Resources as director of the Castaic Lake Visitors Center and later the Vista del Lago Visitors Center at Lake Pyramid. Reynolds came to Newhall in 1971 and filled the void left by the aging A.B. Perkins, the valley’s first local historian. For more than two decades, Reynolds collected historical photographs, committed old-timers’ oral histories to paper, helped organize the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society and served as its first (and until his death in 1996 its only) museum curator.

Additional information

Weight 0.236 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 0.25 in