Santa Clarita, California

City of Santa Clarita
—  City  —
City of Santa Clarita
Santa Clarita Welcome Sign

Location of Santa Clarita in California and Los Angeles County
Coordinates: 34°25′00″N 118°30′23″W / 34.4166667°N °W / 34.4166667; -118.50639
Country United States
State California
County Los Angeles
Incorporated December 15, 1987
Government
 - Type Council-Manager
 - Mayor Laurene Weste
 - Mayor Pro-Tem Marsha McLean
 - City Council Frank Ferry
Bob Kellar
Laurie Ender
 - City Manager Ken Pulskamp
Area
 - Total  dunams (147.2 km2 / 56.8 sq mi)
 - Land
 - Water  0.04%
Elevation
Population (2010)
 - Total 177641
 Density
 - Urban density
 - Rural density
 - Metro density
 -  Density
 -  Density
  California Department of Finance, 2010
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 91310, 91321-91322, 91350-91351, 91354-91355, 91380-91387, 91390
Area code(s) 661
FIPS code 06-69088
GNIS feature ID 1662338
Website www.santa-clarita.com

Santa Clarita is the fourth largest city in Los Angeles County, California, United States and the twenty-sixth largest city in the State of California. The California Department of Finance estimated the city population as of January 1, 2010 at 177,641.[1] Including unincorporated areas of the Santa Clarita Valley, the population is estimated at over 275,000. It is located about northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and occupies most of the Santa Clarita Valley. It is a notable example of a U.S. edge city or boomburb. The FBI rates it as the sixth safest city in the United States with at least 100,000 inhabitants. (Nearby Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, in Ventura County, traditionally alternate between the first and second spots on the list.) Santa Clarita was ranked as number 18 of the top 100 places to live by Money magazine in 2006.[2]

Santa Clarita was incorporated in 1987 as the union of several previously existing communities, including Canyon Country, Newhall, Saugus, and Valencia, all of which are the land of the former Rancho San Francisco. Its principal boundaries are the Golden State (I-5) and Antelope Valley (SR-14) freeways; their merger in Newhall Pass at the city's southernmost point gives Santa Clarita its distinctive triangular appearance on the map.

Santa Clarita's most notable attractions are the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park located just outside the city limits in unincorporated Los Angeles County, and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), located in Valencia.

History

Santa Clarita was only fairly recently incorporated (1987), but its history runs deep. About AD 450, the Tataviam people arrived, numbering about 2,000 at their zenith.

In 1842, six years before the better-publicized discovery in the Sacramento area, Francisco Lopez made the first documented discovery of gold in California (the document is a mining claim signed by Gov. Juan B. Alvarado in that year). The discovery was made in Placerita Canyon, an area later used as Hollywood's original back lot.

The community of Newhall is named after Henry Newhall,[3] a businessman who made his original fortune during the California Gold Rush after opening up the H.M. Newhall & Company; an extremely successful auction house in San Francisco, CA Newhall's next business interest was railroads. He invested in rail companies that would connect San Francisco to other cities and became president of the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad. In 1870, he and his partners sold the company to Southern Pacific Railroad, whose board of directors he then sat on. After railroads, Newhall turned his eye to real estate and ranching. He purchased a number of the old Spanish and Mexican land grants in the state for a total of 143,000 acres (579 km2) between Monterey and Los Angeles counties. The most significant portion was the 46,460-acre (188 km2) Rancho San Francisco in northern Los Angeles County, which he purchased for $2/acre, and which became known as Newhall Ranch after Newhall's death. Within this territory, he granted a right-of-way to Southern Pacific through what is now Newhall Pass, and he also sold them a portion of the land, upon which the company built a town they named after him: Newhall. The first station built on the line he named for his hometown, Saugus, Massachusetts. Following his death, Newhall's heirs incorporated the Newhall Land and Farming Company, which oversaw the development of the communities that now make up the city of Santa Clarita.

On September 26, 1876, Charles Alexander Mentry brought in the state's first productive oil well at Mentryville, giving rise to the California oil industry. The oil was brought to a refinery at Newhall; today it is the oldest existing refinery in the world. (It was operational from 1874 to 1888.)

A few days earlier, on September 5, 1876, Charles Crocker and Leland Stanford joined their railroads in Canyon Country, linking Los Angeles with the rest of the nation for the first time.

The Saugus Cafe, on San Fernando Road in Saugus, was established in 1887[4] and appears to be, by far, the oldest still-operating restaurant in Los Angeles County.[5]

Filming in Santa Clarita began shortly after the turn of the 20th century with a veritable Who's Who of actors including William S. Hart, Tom Mix, Harry Carey [disambiguation needed] and a young John Wayne. Hart and Carey made their homes in the Santa Clarita Valley; today both are operated as county parks.

The Santa Clarita Valley was the scene of the second worst disaster in California history — The History Channel called it the "worst civil engineering failure of the 20th century" — when, on the night of March 12, 1928, William Mulholland's St. Francis Dam collapsed.[6] By the time the floodwaters reached the Pacific Ocean near Ventura, an estimated 450 people were dead. Within modern Santa Clarita city limits, the site of the future Westfield Valencia Town Center mall was buried beneath muck and mud. Numerous buildings within Santa Clarita became makeshift morgues.

Geography

Santa Clarita is located at (34.416561, -118.506443). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 123.9 km² (47.8 mi²). 123.9 km² (47.8 mi²) of it is land and 0.1 km² (0.04 mi²) of it (0.04%) is water.

Santa Clarita is situated near the San Fernando fault zone and was affected by the 1971 San Fernando earthquake, also known as the Sylmar quake. The city was also affected by the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and many commercial and residential buildings were devastated by its aftermath. Including the nearby Newhall pass, the Valencia Mall, and Six Flags Magic Mountain. The historic, 38 story tall Sky Tower at Magic Mountain swayed 6 feet in each direction during the Northridge earthquake with only minor damages.

Wildfires

Santa Clarita is one of the top areas in the nation for wildfire activity. Recent fires in and around the City of Santa Clarita include the Stables (2001), Copper (2002), Bouquet (2002), Simi (2003), Verdale (2003), Foothill (2004), Buckweed (2007), Ranch (2007), Magic (2007), and Sayre (2008) Fires.