Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Ladies Shooting, ca. 1900
Newhall, California

Click image to enlarge

Ladies take aim while the men watch, ca. 1900 Newhall.

Determining the date and exact location requires some detective work, because all we've got to go by is the photo itself, which comes from a grouping of old Newhall photos.

We think the orientation is correct because the buildings probably wouldn't work if the photo were flopped.

We don't think we're east of downtown Newhall looking west, because we'd probably be standing on a hill, and again, the buildings wouldn't work.

If we're west of Newhall looking east, then the Newhall School should be off to the left, separated by one or two city blocks from the town — and it is. The third blurry building from the left appears to be the second Newhall School (1890-1914) at Walnut and 9th Street (or on Walnut between 9th and 10th, aka Pico Road, later called Lyons).

The peaked roof to the viewer's immediate right of the shooter's raised left elbow (the trigger arm) looks like the back of the facade of the Oil Exchange saloon. From this angle, the Newhall depot should be behind and to the viewer's right of the Oil Exchange, and the Derrick Saloon (later called the Rendezvous or VU bar) should be behind and to the viewer's left of the Oil Exchange, at an angle. All of this appears correct.

We don't see the original Southern Hotel, and that's good, because it burned down in 1887, before the second Newhall School came along.

One thing that seems peculiar is the railroad flat car to the left of the town. It looks like it's in front (west) of the town. The tracks are to the east of (behind) the buildings, out of view. That might just be a matter of perspective, or we could be wrong about the horizontal orientation (although that would be unusual, because there's no question about orientation with other photographs from this grouping).

So where is this? There seems to be quite a distance between the people and the town; the hill where Bill Hart built his mansion in the 1920s, and/or the hill behind modern-day Heritage Junction, must be to the photographer's back.

As for the date, we're guessing the guy on the right isn't checking his text messages. We'd like to say 1890s, but there seem to be an awful lot of power poles that don't show up in other Newhall photos from the 1890s. Somewhat later, around 1900, is probably a better guess.

If you can identify the make, model and date of the firearm, please let us know. (Click or double-click the photo to enlarge it.)

AP1617: 9600 dpi jpeg from copy print
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