“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Valencia in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Tesoro Adobe

Tesoro Adobe Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 25, 2018
1. Tesoro Adobe Marker
Inscription.  Harry Carey Sr. was an early silent-screen actor who starred in more than 200 films. In 1916 he took over the homestead rights of a previous settler and established his ranch of almost 2,000 acres. Carey, the first of many film actors to settle in the Santa Clarita Valley, built the original wood-frame ranch house. He and his actress wife, Olive, raised two children, Harry Carey Jr. (Dobe) and Ella Carey Taylor (Cappy)--who were both born on the ranch in the 1920s.

Carey Sr. helped establish the Santa Clarita Valley as a center of Western-genre filmmaking. The ranch was used in many silent movies and Western serials. Oscar-winning director John Ford learned his trade on the Harry Carey Ranch. Many distinguished celebrities visited Tesoro Adobe, including William S. Hart, Charles Russell, Will Rogers, Tom Mix, and John Wayne.

The first tourist attraction in Santa Clarita, the ranch housed horses, cattle, hogs, goats, sheep, and every stray dog that Harry Carey found. More than 40 Navajo lived on the ranch, tending sheep, weaving blankets, making silver jewelry, and comprising the community of the Harry Carey Trading
Tesoro Adobe Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 25, 2018
2. Tesoro Adobe Marker
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When the St. Francis Dam broke on March 12, 1928, floodwaters washed through the Careys' beloved ranch. Fortunately, the family was away at the time, as were the Navajo, who had returned to their Southwest homes a month earlier under the advisement of a medicine man predicting that the dam would break. The Trading Post was totally destroyed and the caretakers, Mr. and Mrs. Harter, were killed. More than 450 other people also lost their lives as the wall of water decimated San Francisquito Canyon and wound its way to the Pacific Ocean via the Santa Clara River.

The Carey family sold the ranch in the mid 1940s. In 1952 the Clougherty family, owners of the meat-packing company Farmer John, purchased the property to raise livestock. "FJ,” Farmer John's trademark cattle-brand, can still be seen throughout the property. The Cloughertys held on to the ranch until 2005, when it was donated as Tesoro Adobe Historic Park to Los Angeles County from Montalvo Properties, LLC, the developer of the Tesoro residential community. Because of the Cloughertys' efforts, this historic ranch has been preserved as a reminder of Santa Clarita's western heritage.
Erected 2015 by Montalvo LLC, Tesoro Home Owners Assoc., L.A County Parks & Rec, and Platrix Chapter #2 ECV.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed
Tesoro Adobe image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 25, 2018
3. Tesoro Adobe
in these topic lists: EntertainmentNotable Places. In addition, it is included in the E Clampus Vitus series list.
Location. 34° 28.409′ N, 118° 33.376′ W. Marker is in Valencia, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker can be reached from Avenida Rancho Tesoro 0.8 miles north of Copper Hill Drive. Located in Tesoro Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 29350 Avenida Rancho Tesoro, Valencia CA 91354, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Ridge Route (approx. 3.3 miles away); Oak of the Golden Dream (approx. 3˝ miles away); Rancho San Francisco (approx. 3.6 miles away); St. Francis Dam (approx. 4˝ miles away); St. Francis Dam Disaster Site (approx. 4.6 miles away); Pioneer Oil Refinery (approx. 6.6 miles away); a different marker also named Oak of the Golden Dream (approx. 6.6 miles away); Saugus School Bell (approx. 6.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Valencia.
More about this marker. Tesoro Adobe Historic Park Hours: Closed Mondays. Tuesday - Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sundays: 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Tours: Saturday - Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Tuesday - Friday: By Appointment Only. (661) 702-8953
Regarding Tesoro Adobe. The story of a Navaho medicine man who predicted the dam collapse is only a myth. According to Harry Carey Jr., the Navajo always returned to their homes at this time of year.
Although many reports
Tesoro Adobe image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 25, 2018
4. Tesoro Adobe
say the number of lives lost was over 450, recent research shows the number is close to 430. It was the worst man-made disaster of the 20th century. On March 12, 2019, the Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Monument was established. Fundraising is underway to build a visitor center at the dam site.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. St. Francis Dam Disaster sites.
Also see . . .  History and Photos. Website of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society has articles and photos of the Harry Carey Ranch. (Submitted on June 6, 2018, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California.) 
Tesoro Adobe Kitchen image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 25, 2018
5. Tesoro Adobe Kitchen
Tesoro Adobe Historic Park entrance image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 25, 2018
6. Tesoro Adobe Historic Park entrance
Harry Carey Ranch and Trading Post, View 4 image. Click for full size.
Photo courtesy of the Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Los Angeles Public Library, October 31, 1926
7. Harry Carey Ranch and Trading Post, View 4
A glimpse of traditional Native American dwellings located on the grounds of the Harry Carey Ranch & Trading Post in San Francisquito Canyon. Actor Harry Carey Sr. established this ranch and trading post in the late 1910s. The ranch included the family's wooden ranch home as well as several outbuildings, while the trading post is where tourists could buy Western and Indian curios and enjoy entertainment from Native American and other performers. Harry Carey Jr., who also became an actor, was born on the ranch in 1921. Less than two years after this photograph was taken, the great St. Francis Dam broke, wiping out the trading post. Fortunately, many of the residents had left the ranch and their lives were spared. The ranch house was situated at a higher elevation and survived the flood, but burned down in 1932. The Careys replaced the structure with a Spanish adobe home, which was sold along with the ranch in 1945.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 6, 2018, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. This page has been viewed 252 times since then and 15 times this year. Last updated on March 13, 2020, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 6, 2018, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California.   7. submitted on June 7, 2018. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 14, 2021