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, 2009 at 177,150. Including unincorporated areas of the Santa Clarita Valley, the population is estimated at over 275,000. It is located about 35 miles (56 km) 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.
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.
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, 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 Rail Road. In 1870, he and his partners sold the company to Southern Pacific Railroad, whose board of directors he now 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 Sept. 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.)
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 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. 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.
Several organizations exist to preserve Santa Clarita Valley history, including but not limited to Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, Friends of Hart Park and Friends of Mentryville. Television programming relating to SCV History can be watched online at SCVTV.com, and the community's historical photo and text archives are available for online viewing at SCVHistory.com.
Santa Clarita is located at Coordinates: (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.
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.
Santa Clarita, like most of inland Southern California, is hot and dry for most of the year with very little rainfall. Characterized by dry hills covered in brush, the months of late summer and early autumn are often referred to as "fire season." Winters are extremely mild, with temperatures rarely if ever dropping below freezing.
Residents describe Santa Clarita's climate as "scorching summers, mild winters, and a little June Gloom."
|Weather data for Santa Clarita|
|Average high °F (°C)||64 |
|Average low °F (°C)||36 |
|Precipitation inches (mm)||2.99 |
|Source:  2009-03-28|
As of the census of 2000, there were 151,088 people, 50,787 households, and 38,242 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,219.6/km² (3,159.1/mi²). There were 52,442 housing units at an average density of 423.3/km² (1,096.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.53% White, 2.07% African American, 0.59% Native American, 5.24% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 8.54% from other races, and 3.89% from two or more races. 20.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 50,787 households out of which 44.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.0% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.7% were non-families. 18.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95 and the average family size was 3.38.
In the city the population was spread out with 30.3% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 33.6% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 7.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.4 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $79,004, and the median income for a family was $91,450. Males had a median income of $53,769 versus $36,835 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,841. 6.4% of the population and 4.7% of families were below the poverty line. 6.7% of those under the age of 18 and 5.9% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
According to the city’s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city’s various funds had $190.1 million in Revenues, $143.4 million in expenditures, $1,062.6 million in total assets, $149.8 million in total liabilities, and $222.9 million in cash and investments.
|City Manager||Ken Pulskamp|
|Assistant City Manager||Ken Striplin|
|City Attorney||Carl Newton|
|Director of Community Development||Paul Brotzman|
|Director of Parks, Recreation & Community Services||Richard Gould|
|Deputy City Manager / Director of Administrative Services||Darren Hernández|
|Director of Public Works / City Engineer||Robert Newman|
In the state legislature Santa Clarita is located in the 17th and 19th Senate Districts, represented by Republicans George Runner and Tony Strickland respectively, and in the 38th Assembly District, represented by Republican Cameron Smyth. Federally, Santa Clarita is located in California's 25th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +7 and is represented by Republican Buck McKeon.