From former Newhall resident Paul Wertz comes this home movie of the Newhall Fourth of July Parade — actually a compilation of clips from several parades in the 1950s — with a celebration following at Ernie Hickson's Placeritos Ranch (later called Melody Ranch) at very end of film.
Hickson's movie ranch was used for the Fourth of July celebration only in 1949, 1950 and 1951.
In between the two parades is footage of the local justice of the peace, Judge C.M. MacDougall, throwing out the first pitch of the very first Wm. S. Hart Little League game in 1955.
In that game, the contributor, Paul Wertz,
was the winning pitcher. He writes: "I pitched (Red Sox) a 2-hitter and won — and was drilled on my first at-bat."
"The brief shot of people in the street at the end of one of the parades is Slppery Gulch," he writes. That was the nickname for Melody Ranch. ... A few short years later, in 1962, it burned to the ground." Wertz now (2015) lives in Eugene, Ore.
The video clips are not in chronological order.
At the 06:56 mark we see Tex Williams, who was grand marshal of the 1952 parade.
At 07:39 is an intricately decorated elephant from the Republican Women Federated group in the 1951 parade.
At 08:02 is the contributor, Paul Wertz, riding in the cab of his father's truck (Bill Wertz, construction contractor), which is pulling the Barber Shop Quartet Society float.
About Wm. S. Hart Baseball and Softball
Wm. S. Hart Baseball and Softball has a long history in the Santa Clarita Valley: in fact, several fathers of our present players once played baseball at Wm. S. Hart when they were youngsters. The organization was formed in 1955 as Wm. S. Hart Little League - named, of course, after the famous star of silent movies that made his home in Newhall. The original league consisted of just four teams and was located east of the rail- road tracks across from the Saugus Cafe. This facility consisted of just one baseball field and the league remained until 1960.
Wm. S. Hart then moved to a new location, which today would be just south of Valencia Blvd., near the old Mann 10 Theaters, now Church on the Way. This facility consisted of two baseball diamonds, called "Major" and "Minor," and sometime during the mid-1960's lights were installed on the Major field. The league was there until 1968 when the building of Valencia Boulevard (which cut right through the facility) caused Wm. S. Hart to move again, to our present location on land owned by Newhall Land and Farming. A great deal of volunteer work and money has been expended over the years to transform this vacant land into the beautiful baseball and softball complex that we have today.
In 1970, Wm. S. Hart changed its affiliation from Little League to Pony Baseball, Inc. At that time our organization consisted of two Bronco Leagues (American and National) with a total of fifteen (15) teams, and one four-team Pony League. It is interesting to note that among the original team names were the "Senators" and "Solons."
As the Santa Clarita Valley grew during the 1970's, so did Wm. S. Hart Baseball, reaching 48 teams by 1975. The Girls ASA Softball program was added in 1984. In 1989, there were 129 baseball and softball teams with nearly 1500 boys and girls playing on six (6) diamonds - quite a change from our modest beginnings in 1955.