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From The Signal Archives: Cops, robbers and railroads

Posted: February 27, 2009 12:39 a.m.
Updated: February 27, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Editor's note: As The Signal celebrates 90 years of service to the Santa Clarita Valley this year, we offer this peek into the SCV of days past from the Feb. 26, 1959, Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise.

"Bandits grabbed after terrorizing-robbing Wilson's," one headline reads. "Probably no bandits ever got a quicker come-uppance than did Bandit Pete William Ashton, 26, and Jack Allen Crose, 22, early Monday morning after they had invaded, terrorized and looted Wilson's Café in Mint Canyon," reads the lead.

Sharp-eyed deputies spotted the getaway car, a cream-colored Mercury, and "all of the loot" was recovered, including "$183 in currency, eight expensive cigars, a bottle of wine, a tall Bavarian stein.

"The occupants of the car were hostile and uncooperative when first placed under arrest," the article notes (who would expect them to be nice and cooperative?). Ashton, the article said sternly, "sported a chin whisker.

Deal paves way for junior high
The 50-years-ago issue of The Signal reports that the William S. Hart Union High School District agreed with Newhall Land and Farming Company to pay $5,887 an acre for a 24-acre junior high school site.

Although it doesn't say where the school was to be constructed, it does note that the public wanted to know why a full kitchen wasn't included in the school plans.

"Good vote turns out for school balloting," another headline reads. The story says "Newhall school patrons and voters" cast ballots in favor of an $800,000 bond to construct Peachland Avenue Elementary School. The vote was 353 in favor, 52 against.

Small cars? Surely you jest
"Following is a statement for immediate release by Henry Ford II in regard to the introduction of a small economy car by Ford Motor Company," declares a story headlined "Henry Ford II talks about small cars":

"It is true that Ford has had a small car under development for some time," the story continues. "When we feel the demand in the American marketplace is great enough to assure a profitable production of such a vehicle, we will be ready to meet that demand."

Those darn, pesky kids
And under the headline "Attempt made to wreck ‘Daylight,'" The Signal of 50 years ago noted, "Railroad detectives and deputy sheriffs this week were searching for the culprits, believed to be juveniles, who placed a pile of railroad ties and big rocks on Southern Pacific rails in Soledad canyon Sunday, and almost wrecked the Daylight passenger train No. 52."

The train "shattered" the barricade and trainmen removed the obstacle, the article notes, "including one huge boulder 18 inches in diameter."

But the top story of the day for Feb. 26, 1959? Five candidates who filed to run for the Newhall County Water District board of directors.

The Signal gets bigger
"P'raps you've already noticed it - the difference in this week's Signal," touts a front-page column called "Signal Tower." "If not, get your yardstick and measure. (remember yardsticks?) You'll find it is two inches wider and one inch longer than previous Signals.

"So heavy has both advertising and news pressure become to get into The Signal that Ye Olde Publisher simply had to push the gate open a little wider and dig the silo a mite deeper."


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