How a once popular tourist spot became a lakeside bedroom community, and when is a ranch not a ranch?
In this article, we’ll talk about two very distinct Santa Clarita Valley communities that aren’t actually part of the City of Santa Clarita, BUT…They’re
still a very big part of the valley and the Santa Clarita experience.
Prior to the invention of the automobile, the Santa Clarita Valley was a fairly remote place to live. To get to the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles, you had to squeeze your wagon through Beale’s Cut, and pay a fare to do so…not an easy trip!
Castaic began as a railroad junction, with the local school district beginning operation in 1889, and first post office opening in the area in 1894. Aside from a few farmers and railroad workers, the area didn’t have much to offer.
By 1915, it was clear that automobiles were going to be THE mode of transportation in the 20th century, and roadways would have to be built to accommodate. That year, the Ridge Route opened that could take motorists from the Santa Clarita Valley to Bakersfield and beyond. It wasn’t an easy ride, taking just over 9 hours on a journey that averaged 15 miles an hour over some of the most beautiful (and dangerous) curves and scenery in the region. Castaic Junction was the starting point for this journey northward, and by 1923, Parker Ranch began subdividing properties for residential building.
Why didn’t residents just boat across Castaic Lake back then?
Because there WAS no Castaic Lake back then! Now known as a recreational and resort area (As well as one of the SCV’s most popular bedroom communities), the dam and subsequent lake was not completed until 1973 as the final step water preservation from the California Aqueduct. Since then, Castaic has blossomed into an incredibly family friendly community with an incredible array of homes to choose from.
Val Verde is a semi-rural “community within a community” in the Castaic area. Originally, it served as a recreational and vacation destination that catered to African-Americans in the early 20th century. In the latter half, Val Verde has become dotted with a variety of small, mid-range, and large ranch sized properties for those who like to live slightly off the “beaten path.”
The “Stevenson” In Stevenson Ranch
While Castaic lies at the north end of the Santa Clarita Valley, Stevenson Ranch is one of the first communities you’ll see as you enter the valley from Interstate 5.
As it lies within the Santa Clarita Valley, Stevenson Ranch is actually not part of the City of Santa Clarita. Rather it is under the control of the County
of Los Angeles, who authorized its development in 1987, with ground breaking on the first homes in 1989.
A true “bedroom community,” Stevenson Ranch was planned completely with families in mind. With exception of one very small retail complex at the corner of Stevenson Ranch Parkway and Hemingway Avenue, the residential area is virtually covered in single family homes, a few condo complexes, 3 parks, and two elementary schools. Not bad for an area just slightly larger than 6 square miles!
So who is Stevenson, anyway?
Occasionally mispronounced as “Stevenson’s Ranch”, the area is actually named after author Robert Louis Stevenson. In fact, with exception of Stevenson Ranch Parkway and the homes in the Southern Oaks neighborhood (South of Pico Canyon), all of the streets are named after literary greats.
Coming up in Part IV: 19th century bandits and what might have become the capital city of California?
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
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25124 Springfield Court, Suite 100
Valencia CA 91355