By Stan Walker, The first advertisement for Friendly Valley (that I could find) was in the Los Angeles Times of November 16, 1962. The approximate 500 acres was purchased from comedian Bob Hope by the Signature Development Co., a subsidiary of Pacific Coast Properties, Inc. Groundbreaking was scheduled to start in January of 1963, but it apparently appearently started in December of 1962. The original age restrictions were that at least one member of the household (husband or wife) must be 50 years or older and no permanent member under 18 (no kids allowed). An unmarried buyer must be 50 or over. The age restriction would be changed three more times in the future (which I will cover later). Prices were: 1-Bedroom: $11,500; 2-Bedroom: $12,500; 1-Bedroom and Den, 2 Baths: $13,500. Grand opening for public inspection was weekend of May 4-5, 1963. The first unit purchased was by Mr. and Mrs. Louis Westman (story from the Van Nuys News of May 12, 1963). The first move-ins were scheduled for November of 1963. By February of 1964, 40 families had moved in. H. A. Straight was reported to be the first resident to move in (Signal of February 20, 1964). He moved in by candle light and flashlight before the electricity was even turned on. Ads touted, among other things, sunken roman baths, 6-inch soundproof walls separating all units, a 13 room creative arts building, a 600-person capacity auditorium, an Olympic sized swimming pool, a therapeutic pool, and underground utilities. Kitchen's would include a Wedgewood range and oven, a full-power garbage disposal, tile top double-basin sinks, and hardwood cabinets. Each unit had a fenced-in patio. Considering that the fenced patio was an important original feature, I wonder why our association is not responsible for it anymore. I think that they are still responsible for the original concrete patio. A nine-hole golf course would be playable by the spring of 1964. In the Valley Times of March 28, 1964, maybe the first rental ad for a Friendly Valley unit was listed: "Will rent our new unit facing golf course, to acceptable senior citizen. 2 B.R., sunken bath, On April 4, 1964, Henry Rhodes, 80, was probably the first resident to die in Friendly Valley. He died from a heart attack. The Los Angeles Times of April 19, 1964, reported that the 9-hole golf course, along with two practice putting greens and a pro shop, was open and ready for play.
The Friendly Valley church steeple was set on the weekend of January 27-28, 1973 (Signal, January 31, 1973). The church was consecrated on April 15, 1973 (Signal, April 18, 1973). By Stan Walker
This photo was shown in the Valley Times newspaper article of November 8, 1963: "Blue Champagne Pools of Canoga Park came away with top honors in this year's annual 'Pool of the Year' contest, sponsored by the Swimming Pool Association of Southern California. A beautiful 48 foot x 110 foot pool custom designed by Landscape Architect Warren E. Lauesen was Blue Champagne's sweepstakes winner, announced at the Association's annual dinner dance held in the Disneyland Hotel. The pool was built for Friendly Valley (Pacific Properties) - a retirement community in Saugus. It began its race for the top award by winning a first place in its category: Semi-public Pool; then took the sweepstakes prize in competition with first place winners in the other categories." By Stan Walker
Photographed By - COLOR VIEW Camera Shop George Gilmer March 14, 1968
FRIENDLY VALLEY ANNEX MURALS By Jack Quinn
In March 2012, a few days before the FV Annex was to be remodeled, I became concerned with the planned disposition of the murals that hung in the annex. They represented many hours of dedicated work by several people in the past. I thought that it was appropriate to somehow save them for posterity. The President of the Friendly Valley Recreational Association said that I could have them, if I could find a location for them. He suggested putting them on the wall in the auditorium. That seemed like a possible solution, but a better one seemed to be to get the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society to take possession of them. I wrote to the society, but received no reply. Time was running out.
I was told that I would be alerted when the remodeling was going to begin. I assumed that the guys working in the FV wood shop would dismantle the murals from the wall. However, just in case they might do some damage to the frames, I decided the night before to snap a set of photos of the murals. These photos are shown below. The large mural extended the entire width of the room (about 18 feet), and from floor to ceiling (about 8 feet). The other photos are to the same scale as the large one.
Fairly early Monday morning, I received a call from Rosie in the FV office, who informed me that the workers were going to start stripping things out of the Annex very soon. However, I could not go immediately to the Annex, because I was caring for my wife, Cecilia, who was still recovering from broken ribs that she had sustained in a fall. At about 10:30 AM, I made it to the Annex. There was not only damage to all of the frames, but the entire mural boards were damaged beyond reasonable repair.
It seems regrettable that these works of art were not saved. They represented a double link to the past, in that the murals depicted the scenery of the Santa Clarita Valley as it appeared in the historic past. It may have looked much that way not many years before the founding of Friendly Valley; and, secondly, the murals were painted by early former members of the Friendly Valley community, most, or all of whom have probably passed on by now. Based on the signatures on the murals, there apparently were five individuals who worked on the four murals, namely: Bob Sheldon, C.L. Marrin, Mary Ingle(?), (?) Bird, & M.K. Starks.
Friendly Valley at one time issued Membership Certificates
Friendly Valley Then
It was not known as Friendly Valley Country Club in 1945. It was a cow pasture. The view down Friendly Valley Parkway was a barbed-wire gate into a cattle corral, behind which were large oak trees and a muddy cow-tracked dribble of water known as Homby Creek. The creek was fed by three springs seeping from the area of Fairway Circle, the Friendly Valley Methodist Church, and the Golf Course (fairways 4 & 5). The only residents at that time were an enormous Brahma Bull and several cows that summered here until the water dried and the rodeos began. The bull was anti-social and was known to chase motorcycles and pedestrians! Friendly Valley was an inviting green valley studded with big oak trees that provided shade for picnics, hikers, trap shooters, and movie making. Bill Hart, Tom Mix, and Gene Autry worked here. Bob Hope reportedly owned land here and allowed a wildcat oil well to be drilled near Long Oak Dr. and Avenue Of The Oaks. Friendly Valley has always been an interesting place. I see Yesterday every day. I like it.
Confusion Hill aka Placerita Hill
Prior to 1939 all traffic on U.S. 6 (Sierra Highway) was routed onto old San Fernando Road through Newhall, Saugus, and Honby to Solamint Junction. Then the road construction started on the present strip from San Fernando Road to Solamint Junction. The primary grading and bridge over Placerita Canyon were interrupted by WWII. It was completed in 1946 & 1947. It was a narrow, scrawny, two-lane road with eight-foot dusty dirt shoulders. It was blessed with high banks from which rocks of good size would roll down onto the roadway (they still do). In 1950 in Newhall Justice Court we heard a steamy trespass case. Judge A.C. Miller learned that the top of Placerita had been laid out in town lots in a failed real estate venture. Some lots had been sold. The primary survey was not clear. Who owned what was in question. The concern about this coyote, rattlesnake, and tick domicile was not understood. A few days later we found out when an oil drilling rig moved in about halfway up the hill. The locals laughed; this old hill sure attracted suckers. In a few days the well blew in! It also blew in every available surveyor from miles around. Claimants to the properties came in from hundreds of miles. Newhall Justice Court could not handle all the controversy between surveyors, drillers, property claimants, thieves, and fistfights. Fred Trueblood of the Newhall Signal was a busy man then. One of his quotes: “It’s Confusion Hill!” The Sheriff, Fire Dept, and CHP all agreed.
Our local Historian
Elite magazine included an article on the early days of Santa Clarita from the perspective of Marty Forinash.
In 1936 19-year-old Marty was selected from among his Kansas siblings to come to California and drive for his uncle and aunt. Already something of a history buff, Marty began accumulating experiences and taking note of the goings on in Newhall and the surrounding locations. Early jobs for Marty included stints at Muller Bros. and Paramount Labs in Hollywood, and Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank. Shortly after the war broke out, he was accepted into the California Highway Patrol, but quickly took leave to serve with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific. Returning to the CHP after the war, Marty patrolled the Santa Clarita area until he “retired” in 1971. A month later he was working again as a security guard, and he eventually headed the Security Department at Sony for 12 years.
Ethel Proctor moved from Missouri and was waiting tables at her sister’s café in Castaic in 1946 when a young CHP officer stopped in for a milk shake. Marty likes to say that was the worst shake he had ever had. But Ethel apparently knew what she was doing because they were married a year later. They had a son, who died at age 4, and a daughter who lives in Saugus and has given them two grandchildren.
After the “family” period, Ethel resumed her waitressing career, working in our own Ida Pryor’s café for ten years and in Galpin Ford’s Horseless Carriage restaurant for fifteen years.
As a CHP patrolman, Marty got to observe the happenings in Santa Clarita, including the birth and development of Friendly Valley. He and Ethel moved here in 1999. Marty’s keen memory provides him with a wealth of stories that he is more than willing to relate to anyone who will listen.
Unit 1 was built in 1963, unit 2 in 1964 and units 3 and 4 in 1965 to 1967. Unit 5 was built in 1969 to 1970 and Unit 6 was built in 1971-1975. Unit 7 was built in 1976. Unit 9 was built in 1981-1982 and Unit 10 in 1986. Jane Hills-Bauman FYI:
Community Council 1986 Year End Report
Proposal to merge all Associations into one big Association
1989 Rec. Board Year End Report
Community Council - What is It? 1989
Friendly Valley's Golf Club house under construction and just after completion.