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How Santa Clarita and Valencia Got Their Names...and other Interesting Stuff

Women laughing
What does Santa Clarita mean?
Little Santa Clara

Where did the name Santa Clarita come from?
The short of it: The Santa Clara River was so named from a Spanish exploration party in 1769. That party then moved on to the San Francisco Bay area, where they named their mission, "Santa Clara." When it came time to name this valley, there couldn't be two Santa Claras, so the valley was named Little Santa Clara, or Santa Clarita Valley.

See Ruth Newhall's wonderful story here.

How did Valencia get its name?
According to the developer, Newhall Land & Farm Company:
Valencia is named after the oranges that grow on our ranches and because it has a Mediterranean feel to it.

What came first, the City of Santa Clarita or Valencia?
Ground was broken for Valencia between 1957-1965. The City of Santa Clarita was established in 1987.

Why was the City of Santa Clarita formed?
For this, we turned to local historian, John Boston:
For decades, the SCV had been flirting with forming their own local government. In the 1950s, the county arrived "unannounced" and in two separate occasions, changed our street addresses from the small and bucolic two and three digits to 5-digit numbers to line up with the county grid.

Then, some mucky-mucks were holding a Saturday night poker game at the American Legion when they were raided by vice cops from downtown LA. A couple of hundred dollars, some tables and poker chips were confiscated.

This was perhaps the one final "straw" that broke the camel's back about the perceived oppression from LA County. Seeing that most of the poker players were local movers and shakers, they wondered why the blankety-blank LA County Vice had nothing better to do on a Saturday night then roust a local innocent poker game.

This helped fuel a movement to start the City of Newhall-Saugus in the early 1960s. The measure failed, but was a foundation for later moves to form Canyon County (failed twice) and then the City of Santa Clarita.

When did Six Flags Magic Mountain open?
In 1971, a project of the Newhall Land & Farm Company.

Were there orange groves in Valencia or Santa Clarita?
The agriculture crops in the Santa Clarita Valley were onions, carrots, and barley--no oranges. The closest orange groves were at Rancho Camulous, just west of the SCV.

Endorsed by
County of Los Angeles SCV Chamber of Commerce California Travel and Tourism Commission
In association with
SCV Tourism Bureau
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