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Dateline SCV: Val Verde, once viewed as the 'Black Palm Springs'

Posted: February 20, 2016 11:01 a.m.
Updated: February 20, 2016 11:01 a.m.

Val Verde started out as a mining community in the 1800s, but it embarked on its more famous role as L.A.’s “Black Palm Springs” in the early 1900s when African-American Angelenos were banned from most Los Angeles-area beaches, parks and entertainment venues because of their race.

African-Americans were able to buy homes there, and the town nestled in hills west of Castaic became a weekend and vacation destination for African-Americans.

The famous and black, unable to mingle with their white counterparts, came to Val Verde. Oscar-winning actress Hattie McDaniel attended the town pool groundbreaking. Florence LaRue, original lead singer for The 5th Dimension, was crowned Miss Val Verde.

But the oasis built by Jim Crow law would dissolve as that law did, and by the 1970s Val Verde was morphing again, with Hispanic families moving in along with CalArts students and graduates looking for cheap housing and a place where every wall wasn’t stucco.

“Val Verde doesn’t match the expectations of a typical Santa Clarita buyer,” one Realtor told The Signal in 2010. “(Val Verde) is not tract homes, it’s not planned. It’s not homogenized.”

Did you know?
Famed 1930s-era entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson established a church in Val Verde.


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