Where In Santa Clarita Should I Move? Part II: Saugus and Canyon Country

The first tract homes in the SCV, and how Mint Canyon changed its name.

As we mentioned in our last article, while Henry Mayo Newhall may have landed in Santa Clarita, he actually did not name his settlement after himself. Rather, Saugus was the town of his birth…In Massachusetts. Thus, he paid homage to his hometown by naming the first town in the SCV.

Although, after his death, Saugus remained little more than a train station, a restaurant (Saugus Cafe, which has the honor of being the oldest continually operating restaurant in Los Angeles County), and a few sheep farms. From the late 1800’s through World War II, Newhall was the predominant population center of the Santa Clarita Valley.

It might be noted that the first official “tract” housing was located off of Walnut Street in Newhall. The “Bermite Homes” were built in 1939, and

Bonelli Homes in Saugus
Bonelli Homes in Saugus

consisted of 50 two-bedroom homes that were occupied by employees of the Bermite Powder Company, which was located off Soledad Canyon next to the current Metrolink train station.

The post war population boom brought about a housing shortage nationwide, but with so many looking for opportunities that, at the time, were available in Southern California, it was only natural that the Santa Clarita Valley would be looked upon as not just “a place in the country” full of sheep farms and onion fields, but an actual bedroom community.

In the late 1940’s, local resident, entrepreneur, and land owner William G. “Bill” Bonelli initiated plans for “Rancho Santa Clarita,” which would be the first official post war housing tract in the valley. Better known as “The Bonelli Homes,” neighborhoods began popping up in the area just off of Seco Canyon, between what would become Decoro Dr. and Copper Hill Dr. These homes consisted of moderate, single family structures with detached garages and large lots, with phases being completed before the mid 1950’s. 

Mint Canyon and Canyon Country

Canyon Country. Photo courtesy George D Cummings
Canyon Country CA

Canyon Country, located east of Valencia and south of Saugus, is a diverse community within the Santa Clarita Valley that contains a variety of housing styles. From simple, entry-level condominiums to large estate and ranch properties, the area has something for everybody.

Believe it or not, the area also has the honor of operating the first school in the Santa Clarita Valley, when Colonel Thomas Mitchell opened Sulphur Springs Elementary in 1872.

Over the years, Canyon Country was known first by a variety of names including Soledad, Mint Canyon, and Solemint before officially becoming Canyon Country in 1968. The first tract homes to appear in the community were known as “North Oaks” (Lower and Upper), with construction beginning in 1961. These neighborhoods are still thriving, and are located off White’s Canyon just north of Soledad Canyon.

Coming up in Part III: The city built around a lake, and who is the “Stevenson” in Stevenson Ranch?

The Lichen-Hooper Real Estate Team are your choice for buying or selling homes in the Santa Clarita Valley. Contact us today for a no obligation consultation.

Lichen-Hooper Real Estate Team
Keller Williams VIP Properties
25124 Springfield Court, Suite 100
Valencia CA 91355
Office: 661-505-8102
Cell: 661-810-7669
Fax: 661-251-2648



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