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Newhall Land and Farming Company records
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administration Information
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Newhall Land and Farming Company records
    Dates: 1850-2002
    Bulk dates: 1883-1972
    Collection Number: mssNLF
    Creator: Newhall Land and Farming Company
    Extent: 273 volumes and folders and 5 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
    The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2203
    Fax: (626) 449-5720
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    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.

    Administration Information


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to following web site .

    Publication Rights

    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. 

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Newhall Land and Farming Company records, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    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.

    Historical Note

    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.

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Newhall, Henry Mayo, 1825-1882

    Corporate Names

    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
    Duarte Ranch
    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 Corporation
    Valencia Escrow Company
    Valencia Hardware
    Valencia Mortgage, Incorporated
    Valencia Realty Company
    Valencia Recreation Enterprises, Incorporated
    Vista Resources, Incorporated
    White Investment Company


    Land companies--California--Valencia
    Real estate development--California

    Geographic Areas

    Valencia (Calif.)--History
    Santa Clarita (Calif.)--History
    Rancho San Francisco (Calif.)
    Rancho Suey (Calif.)
    Saint Francis Dam (Calif.)


    Business records
    Financial records
    Legal documents