Scope and Content
Title: Newhall Land and Farming Company records
Bulk dates: 1883-1972
Collection Number: mssNLF
Newhall Land and Farming Company
273 volumes and folders and 5 boxes
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2203
Fax: (626) 449-5720
Abstract: The collection consists mainly of the business and accounting records of the Newhall Land and Farming Company, the White Investment
Company, and numerous subsidiaries for the period 1883-1970s.
Language of Material: The records are in English.
Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information,
please go to following
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material,
nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and
obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
[Identification of item], Newhall Land and Farming Company records, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
The collection was donated to the Huntington Library by the Newhall Land and Farming Company on Jan. 26, 2004, and transferred
to the Library on Sep. 17 of the same year.
The Newhall Land and Farming Company was formed in 1883 as one of three companies created out of the estate of Henry Mayo
Newhall by his heirs, and would remain a family enterprise until the late twentieth century. When initially set up, it comprised
several major ranches in California scattered between Los Angeles and Monterey counties, with a total acreage of 143,000.
Its first years were often difficult as it suffered the effects of both external factors such as the Panic of 1893 and some
of the internal problems often characteristic of second generation businesses.
Early in the new century, the company moved in a significant way into citrus and farming, becoming relatively prosperous by
the late 1920s. In early 1928, however, the St. Francis Dam disaster led to fundamental changes in the course of the company.
The wall of water released by the collapsed dam ruined much of its most productive land along the Santa Clara River, while
the Great Depression of the following year compounded the problems. In reaction to the dire situation, prominent San Francisco
businessman Atholl McBean, husband of one of the Newhall heirs, was brought in to run the company in 1930. Three months later,
in November of that year, the City of Los Angeles finally paid damages to Newhall Land and Farming for the destruction wrought
by the failure of St. Francis Dam. This saved the company from liquidation and enabled Mr. McBean to institute changes in
policy that brought a rapid revival of the company’s fortunes. For the first time, the company plowed money back into the
company in the form of intensive cultivation through irrigation projects and the reclamation of saline lands in the San Joaquin
Valley, bringing several thousand new acres under cultivation. Rather than distributing any profits from the sale of land
to the heirs, the company now used the money to purchase new land both in California and out of state to replace other land
as it was sold.
Meanwhile, in the 1940s McBean began studying the prospects for the subdivision of much of the company’s holdings in the Santa
Clarita Valley. By 1950, a master plan existed covering some 15 square miles of the San Francisco Ranch. This was followed
in 1953 by a key study of land development by the Stanford Research Institute recommending a first phase of industrial development.
New plans by the State of California to build a freeway through the center of the ranch property enhanced prospects for eventual
residential development. While ranching remained the heart of Newhall Land and Farming’s operations in the 1950s, with 150,000
acres of ranch land in California, 40,000 acres of it under irrigation, it was already clear that subdivision would be the
growth area for the future. A major strike of natural gas on company property in 1959, added to existing lucrative oil revenues,
would provide much of the working capital for that development.
The completion of the freeway in 1966 was the signal for the first residential subdivision in Newhall Land’s planned community
of Valencia, built by its affiliated California Land Company in collaboration with developer Donald Bren. Opened for sale
in 1967, its success was immediate. By 1970, Newhall Land and Farming had gone public and was listed on the New York Stock
Exchange. Similar business and tax considerations led to the creation of numerous subsidiaries. At the same time, Newhall
Land became involved as a partner in the development of the Magic Mountain theme park. Unfortunately, it was initially underfunded
and opened in 1971 just as the housing market was entering a major slump. The earthquake in early 1971 made matters worse,
doing serious damage to the freeway linking Valencia to greater Los Angeles. The closely affiliated White Investment Company,
owned by the Newhall family and parent of California Land Company, was dissolved, and California Land absorbed by Newhall
Land and Farming, which managed to weather the downturn. By the mid-1970s, there was a resurgence of the housing market and
with it of the fortunes of Newhall Land that only ended at the end of the decade with a new economic recession and a dizzying
rise in mortgage rates.
Scope and Content
The collection consists mainly of the business and accounting records of the Newhall Land and Farming Company, the White Investment
Company, and numerous subsidiaries for the period 1883-1970s. A detailed list of the companies represented is located below.
In addition to fairly complete runs of board minutes as well as land papers and related material, there are accounting volumes,
various reports, press clippings, and some historical materials. Included are the itemized claims by the Newhall Land and
Farming Company to the City of Los Angeles in 1928 for its losses resulting from the St. Francis Dam disaster. Also included
are legal and adminstrative papers for the estates of some members of the Newhall family.
The organization and numbering system of the corporate material has been retained, in slightly modified form, as it existed
in the basement vault of the main headquarters of the Newhall Land and Farming Company in Valencia, CA. That structure followed
in detail in the container list below. Additional items not included in the vault inventory have been added in archival boxes
and folders at the end of the collection. The majority of the collection consists of volumes with NLF call numbers.
Newhall, Henry Mayo, 1825-1882
Callister and Payne
Castaic Ranch Company
Claravale Improvement Company
Coches Ranch Company
County Line Ranch Company
Delta Dehydrating Corporation
Dixon Dryer Company
Donald Frischer & Associates
Francisquito Ranch Company
Fugler Ranch Company
Great Western Quicksilver Mining Company
Indian Dunes, Incorporated
Laguna Ranch Company
Little Bear Creek Mining Corporation
Magic Mountain, inc.
Markley Ranch Company
Miguelito Ranch Company
Mineral Rights Corporation of California
Mores Ranch Company
Newhall Development Company
Newhall Export Corporation
Newhall Land and Farming Company -- Archives
Newhall Materials and Equipment Company
Newhall Oil and Development Company
Newhall Properties Company
Newhall Resources, Incorporated
North American Dehydrating Corporation
Nova Drilling Company
Palo Solo Ranch Company
Parkfield Quicksilver Mine
Phoenix Ranch Company
Pico Ranch Company
Piojo Ranch Company
Potrero Ranch Company
Ranchers Supply Company
Saugus Properties, Incorporated
Saugus Ranch Company
Security First National Bank
Southern California Edison Company
Southern California Gas Company
Suey Ranch Company
Todos Santos Ranch Company
Valencia Escrow Company
Valencia Mortgage, Incorporated
Valencia Realty Company
Valencia Recreation Enterprises, Incorporated
Vista Resources, Incorporated
White Investment Company
Real estate development--California
Santa Clarita (Calif.)--History
Rancho San Francisco (Calif.)
Rancho Suey (Calif.)
Saint Francis Dam (Calif.)