If you haven’t visited Newhall recently, then you are missing out. While the charm of Old Town Newhall remains timeless, the revitalization has brought an entirely new appeal to the downtown area.
The land we now know as Old Town Newhall is incredibly rich in history. Purchased by Henry Mayo Newhall in the 1870’s for less than two dollars an acre, Newhall once served as the main gateway into the city. In the late 1800’s, Newhall was synonymous with oil.
In fact, the Pioneer Oil Refinery on Pine Street dates back to 1876, when Alexander Mentry broke ground in Pico Canyon. Just west of Sierra Highway, and north of Beale’s Cut, The Newhall Refinery was established, with an office located on Spruce Street in Newhall. The Refinery produced thousands of barrels a day and was dismantled in the early 1990’s.
As you may know, Old Town Newhall is home to many silent film stars like William S. Hart. In 1921, the actor purchased a small ranch house and surrounding land in Newhall, which, over the years, he used as a weekend getaway home. Eventually, William S. Hart acquired 230 acres of land and in 1925, built a custom home with the help of architect Arthur Kelly. The beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival Mansion sits atop the hill and can be viewed by the public.
Old Town Newhall is also home to the popular Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade, a tradition that has been continued since 1932. For over 80 years, residents of the Santa Clarita Valley have paraded through the streets of downtown Newhall to honor the great nation we live in. Thousands of spectators still line the streets to celebrate.
While the area is so rich in history, the last ten years, public and private investments have maintained its historical charm by revitalizing the look and feel of Main Street and surrounding areas, bringing in new businesses, a new vibe and a newfound sense of entrepreneurship. The Redevelopment Agency has spearheaded efforts to bring out the beauty, creating the perfect location that complements Newhall’s history as well as bringing in new shoppers and businesses. Main Street, now a five block pedestrian friendly strip, has been revitalized, with new landscape, street lights, seating areas, crosswalks and more.
At the north side of Main Street, you will find an architectural gem, the Old Town Newhall Public Library. New to Santa Clarita, the library boasts 135,000 literary items, over five dozen public use computers, private study spaces and more.
What better way to recognize history than to honor our veterans. Nestled along Walnut Street, there is a beautiful plaza and waterfall, complete with bronze story stations depicting each of our nation’s military conflics leading to a central lawn area. Across the lawn is the United States Flag, California flag and each of the five branches of the military. The area creates a place of peace and serenity amongst the middle of a bustling city of Newhall.
With a strong sense of community, it’s no wonder why Downtown Newhall remains alive and vibrant. Have you seen the town light up at night? Have you dined along Main Street, indulging in one of the fine restaurants that call Newhall home? If you haven’t already, you should.
There’s much to do every day in downtown Newhall, especially on Thursdays. Thursdays@Newhall is a community wide event complete with a plethora of unique shopping and dining opportunities along with free events on Main Street. From the Art Slam, Jam Sessions to the ever so fun themed block parties otherwise known as Senses, Downtown Newhall is the place to be.
With the improvements to Newhall, it’s no surprise many small local business owners have taken a leap of faith and relocated to make their home in Old Town Newhall. Now it’s time for the Santa Clarita Valley to support their spirit and preserve its charm.