Santa Clarita, officially the City of Santa Clarita, is the fourth largest city in Los Angeles County, California, and the 24th largest in the state of California. The city has annexed a number of unincorporated areas, contributing to the large population increase. It is located about 35 miles (56 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and occupies most of the Santa Clarita Valley. It is a notable example of a U.S. edge city or boomburb. Santa Clarita was ranked by Money magazine in 2006 as 18th of the top 100 places to live.
Santa Clarita was incorporated in December 1987 as the union of four unincorporated communities, Canyon Country, Newhall, Saugus, and Valencia, most of which are situated on the land of the former Rancho San Francisco. The four communities retain separate identities, and it is common for residents to refer to a specific neighborhood when asked where they are from. Santa Clarita is bounded on the west by the Golden State Freeway (I-5). The Antelope Valley Freeway (SR-14) runs northeast-southwest through an irregular east border, and the Newhall Pass is the city's southernmost point.
The Santa Clara River was named by Spanish explorers for Clare of Assisi. The valley and the settlement later became known as "little Santa Clara" in deference to the Northern California mission and city of Santa Clara, California. In time, "little Santa Clara" became "Santa Clarita."
Santa Clarita was incorporated in December 1987, but its history stretches back several centuries. About AD 450, the Tataviam arrived, numbering around 2,000 at their zenith.
In 1842, Francisco Lopez made the first "documented" discovery of gold in California. The event is memorialized in an 1842 mining claim issued by Gov. Juan B. Alvarado. The discovery was made in Placerita Canyon, an area later used as Hollywood's original back lot.
The community of Newhall is named after Henry Newhall, a businessman who made his fortune during the California Gold Rush after opening up the H.M. Newhall & Company, a successful auction house in San Francisco. Newhall's next business interest was railroads. He invested in rail companies that would connect San Francisco to other cities and became president of the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad. In 1870, he and his partners sold the company to Southern Pacific Railroad, on whose board of directors he then sat.
After railroads, Newhall turned to real estate and ranching. He purchased a number of the old Spanish and Mexican land grants in the state for a total of 143,000 acres (58,000 ha) between Monterey and Los Angeles counties. The most significant portion was the 46,460 acres (18,800 ha) Rancho San Francisco in northern Los Angeles County, which he purchased for $2/acre, and which became known as Newhall Ranch after Newhall's death. Within this territory, he granted a right-of-way to Southern Pacific through what is now Newhall Pass, and he also sold them part of the land, upon which the company built a town named after him: Newhall. The first station built on the line he named for his hometown, Saugus, Massachusetts. After his death, Newhall's heirs incorporated the Newhall Land and Farming Company, which oversaw the development of the communities that now make up Santa Clarita.
On September 26, 1876, Charles Alexander Mentry brought in the state's first productive oil well at Mentryville, giving rise to the California oil industry. The oil was brought to a refinery at Newhall, now the oldest existing petroleum refinery in the world; it was operational from 1874 to 1888.
Filming in Santa Clarita began shortly after the turn of the 20th century with a veritable Who's Who of actors, including William S. Hart, Tom Mix, Harry Carey and a young John Wayne. Hart and Carey made their homes in the Santa Clarita Valley; today both are operated as county parks.
The Santa Clarita Valley was the scene of the second worst disaster in California's history in terms of lives lost, known as the "worst civil engineering failure of the 20th century". Shortly before midnight on March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam collapsed. By the time the floodwaters reached the Pacific Ocean near Ventura five hours later, nearly 600 people were dead. Within modern Santa Clarita city limits, the present day site of the Westfield Valencia Town Center mall would have been buried beneath muck, mud and debris. Some buildings in Newhall became makeshift morgues.
After multiple failed attempts to form a city and at least two failed attempts to form a separate county, the people of the Santa Clarita Valley finally incorporated the City of Santa Clarita at 4:30 PM on December 15, 1987 after voting in favor of incorporation by a margin of two to one in that year's general election. The other proposed name for the new city, which was narrowly defeated, was "City of the Canyons."
Santa Clarita, according to the United States Census Bureau, has an area of 62.16 square miles (161.0 km2), of which 62.10 square miles (160.8 km2) is land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) (0.099%) is water.
Santa Clarita is near the San Fernando fault zone and was affected by the 1971 San Fernando earthquake, also known as the Sylmar quake. The city was also affected by the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and many commercial and residential buildings were devastated by its aftermath, including the nearby Newhall Pass, the Valencia Town Center, and Six Flags Magic Mountain. Magic Mountain's 38-story Sky Tower swayed six feet in each direction during the Northridge earthquake with only minor damage. To the west is Ventura County.
Santa Clarita has hiking trails in the surrounding mountains including Agua Dulce Canyon, Central Park, East Walker Ranch, Elsmere Canyon, Golden Valley Ranch, Haskell Canyon Open Space, Quigley Canyon, and Wildwood Canyon.
Santa Clarita is within a Mediterranean climate zone, characterized by warm and dry days most of the year with mild-moist winters. During the summer, hot weather is predominant with occasional high humidity and cumulus buildups over the higher terrain surrounding the valley. During influxes of monsoonal moisture in the summer, thunderstorms sometimes occur. Due to its close proximity to the Mojave/Upper Desert and Pacific Ocean, varying micro-climates are common.
Characterized by dry hills covered in brush and chaparral, late summer and early autumn are often referred to as "fire season." Moreover, wildfire activity occurs throughout the year during drought conditions. The warmest months are July through September, although it is not unusual to have hot weather in early October. During this time, temperatures typically remain in the high 90s and low 100s, but temperatures can reach as high as 117 degrees, as it did in September 2010. Winters are mild, with temperatures dropping below freezing only occasionally on clear winter nights. Rain falls primarily from December through February. The area received measurable snow on January 2, 2011 (1-4 inches). Snow was also seen on February 26, 2011 and April 8, 2011, where some areas received a dusting.
|Climate data for Santa Clarita, California|
|Average high °F (°C)||64
|Average low °F (°C)||36
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.99
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Santa Clarita had a population of 176,320. The population density was 3,340.6 people per square mile (1,289.8/km²). The racial makeup of Santa Clarita was 125,005 (70.9%) White (56.1% Non-Hispanic White), 5,623 (3.2%) African American, 1,013 (0.6%) Native American, 15,025 (8.5%) Asian (3.4% Filipino, 1.7% Korean, 0.8% Indian, 0.8% Chinese, 0.6% Japanese, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.9% Other Asian), 272 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 21,169 (12.0%) from other races, and 8,213 (4.7%) from two or more races. There were 51,941 people of Hispanic or Latino origin, of any race (29.5% of the population).
The census reported that 174,910 people (99.2% of the population) lived in households, 1,281 (0.7%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 129 (0.1%) were institutionalized. There were 59,507 households, out of which 24,677 (41.5%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 34,126 (57.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 6,888 (11.6%) had a female householder with no husband present, 3,322 (5.6%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 3,134 (5.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 484 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 11,634 households (19.6%) were made up of individuals and 4,335 (7.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94. There were 44,336 families (74.5% of all households); the average family size was 3.37.
In terms of age, the population included 46,180 people (26.2%) under the age of 18, 17,565 people (10.0%) aged 18 to 24, 47,788 people (27.1%) aged 25 to 44, 47,936 people (27.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 16,851 people (9.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.2 years. For every 100 females there were 97.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.0 males.
There were 62,055 housing units at an average density of 1,175.7 per square mile (453.9/km²), of which 42,335 (71.1%) were owner-occupied, and 17,172 (28.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.0%. 124,532 people (70.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 50,378 people (28.6%) lived in rental housing units.
According to the Census Bureau, Santa Clarita had a median household income of $82,607, with 9.5% of the population living below the federal poverty line.
As of the census of 2000, there were 151,088 people, 50,787 households, and 38,242 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,159.1 inhabitants per square mile (1,219.6/km²). There were 52,442 housing units at an average density of 1,096.5 per square mile (423.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 69.02% White, 20.50% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 8.54% from other races, 5.24% Asian, 3.89% from two or more races, 2.07% African American, 0.59% Native American, 0.15% Pacific Islander.
There were 50,787 households out of which 44.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.0% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.7% were non-families. 18.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95 and the average family size was 3.38.
In the city, the population was spread out with 30.3% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 33.6% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 7.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.4 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $79,004, and the median income for a family was $91,450. Males had a median income of $53,769 versus $36,835 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,841. 6.4% of the population and 4.7% of families were below the poverty line. 6.7% of those under the age of 18 and 5.9% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
Santa Clarita is one of fifteen cities in Los Angeles County where Republicans outnumber Democrats.
The City of Santa Clarita is a general law city and as such is governed by a Council/Manager form of government. The city council is made up of five council members elected to four year terms. Each year the council selects a member to serve as the Mayor, a largely ceremonial position.
The elected council is:
|Council Member||Current Position|
|Marsha McLean||Mayor Pro-Tem|
Councilmember Bob Kellar drew criticism in 2010 at an immigration rally. While paraphrasing a quote by Theodore Roosevelt, Councilman Kellar stated, "I brought up in a city council meeting a few weeks ago the quote of Teddy Roosevelt that in America we should have 'one flag...the American flag and one language...the English language' afterwards a few people came up to me and said 'Bob, you sound like a racist' in which I responded, "That's good. If that's what you think I am because I happen to be proud of America well then I guess I'd say I'm a proud racist." 
According to the city's 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city's various funds had $196.9 million in Revenues, $160.5 million in expenditures, $1,191.8 million in total assets, and $135.3 million in total liabilities.
The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:
|City Manager||Ken Striplin|
|Assistant City Manager||Frank Oviedo|
|Deputy City Manager / Director of Neighborhood Services||Darren Hernández|
|City Attorney||Joe Montes|
|Director of Administrative Services||Carmen Magaña|
|Director of Community Development||Tom Cole|
|Director of Parks, Recreation & Community Services||Frank Oviedo (Interim)|
|Director of Public Works / City Engineer||Robert Newman|
In the State Senate, Santa Clarita is split between the 21st Senate District, represented by Republican Scott Wilk, and the 27th Senate District, represented by Democrat Henry Stern. In the State Assembly, it is in the 38th Assembly District, represented by Republican Dante Acosta.
The City of Santa Clarita's leadership has placed a priority on offering recreational facilities and programs since incorporation. Many youth-friendly activities and diversions exist in order to steer the city's children away from crime and gang activity. The city has established many neighborhood parks and maintains a comprehensive recreation program. There is a recreation center in Canyon Country that includes an aquatic park with wading, diving, and Olympic swimming pools along with a bicycle/skatepark, community swimming pools in both Newhall and Canyon Country and a community center in downtown Newhall. The city's largest park is located in Saugus and is known as Central Park. There are 34 parks scattered in various neighborhoods throughout the city. Many have lighted tennis and basketball courts, baseball and soccer fields. There are over 3,000 acres (12 km2) of open space and 85 miles (137 km) of off-street trails within its boundaries.
Over the past several years, the city has cosponsored a summer concert series offering a variety of music in cooperation with various local businesses. These concerts are free of charge and take place on weekends in Central Park. The city offers a wide variety of fee-based and free classes and programs in a variety of locations throughout the year. These programs are listed in the quarterly magazine Seasons which is delivered to all residences within the city limits via mail.
The Santa Clarita Marathon is held annually in November. The race was first run in 1995 and is now a qualifying race for the Boston Marathon.
Santa Clarita was picked to host stages in the AMGEN Tour of California a total of 9 years, with a total of 13 of stages hosted as of 2017.
There are several public and private golf courses in Santa Clarita, including, TPC Valencia, Valencia Country Club, and Vista Valencia. The city is also home to a public ice skating rink called the Ice Station Valencia.
Santa Clarita does not have its own police or fire departments. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) operates the Santa Clarita Valley Station in Santa Clarita and provides local police protection for the city.
The city contracts with the Los Angeles County Fire Department for fire protection. The agency has ten fire stations in Santa Clarita, but with the increasing growth in the area new stations are planned.
According to the City's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, for the fiscal year ending June 2016, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Six Flags Magic Mountain||3,200|
|3||Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital||1,822|
|5||The Master's College||760|
|8||Aerospace Dynamics International||705|
|10||California Institute of the Arts||690|
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The City of Santa Clarita and surrounding communities are served by several local media properties.
The primary daily newspaper, The Santa Clarita Valley Signal was founded in 1919 and enjoys a weekday circulation of 10,454 and a Sunday circulation of 11,598. The newspaper focuses almost exclusively on local news, sports, entertainment and features. The Signal's offices on Creekside Road serve as the newspaper's newsroom, production office, IT and web design facility, and printing facility.
Additionally, Santa Clarita is served by the Los Angeles Daily News. The Daily News primarily focuses on news, sports and entertainment stories in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles, but also covers Santa Clarita periodically. Daily News circulation numbers within the Santa Clarita Valley are not known.
The Santa Clarita Valley is served by two radio stations: AM-1220 and simulcast on FM-98.1 KHTS. The commercial radio station, operated by longtime residents and public servants Carl and Jeri-Seratti Goldman, broadcasts from studios located in Newhall. The station carries local news, traffic, weather, sports, music and talk shows. The station's transmitter and antennas are located on Sierra Highway between Soledad Canyon Rd. and Sand Canyon Rd. The station has been on the air since October, 2003. Prior to KHTS, AM-1220 was known as KBET until 1999 when the Goldmans sold it to now-Clear Channel Communications, only to buy it back in 2003.
The second station serving the Santa Clarita Valley is FM-101.5 KZNQ-LP Santa Clarita's first local FM radio station a non profit Country music format owned and operated by Santa Clarita Public Broadcasters Corporation, transmitting from Round Mountain in the City Of Santa Clarita since 2015. 
In addition to KHTS and KZNQ-LP, the City of Santa Clarita and its surrounding communities are indirectly served by a number of major market Los Angeles FM and AM radio stations, though residents often complain that radio reception in the valley is poor due to the surrounding hillsides.
There are also several other Internet Based Radio Stations that serve the public in the Santa Clarita Valley.
All local programming for Santa Clarita is carried on a single public-access television cable TV channel, which is operated by SCVTV, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. It is available to Time Warner Cable customers throughout the Santa Clarita Valley on Channel 20 and to AT&T U-verse customers under local programming (Channel 99/Santa Clarita). SCVTV carries public, educational and government programming, including Santa Clarita City Council and Planning Commission meetings, history shows, high school and college news programs, talk shows, football games, and other programs of local interest.
There are no commercial over-the-air television stations in the Santa Clarita Valley. The city is part of the Los Angeles media market. Digital signals from the Los Angeles stations are available on local cable television systems, DirecTV, and Dish Network.
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Santa Clarita is serviced by Interstate 5 on the western side of the city. The east side of the city is serviced by State Route 14. State Route 126 terminates at Interstate 5, where it goes west to Ventura, passing through Fillmore and Santa Paula.
City of Santa Clarita Transit provides extensive bus service within the Santa Clarita Valley and to/from North Hollywood in the San Fernando Valley. City of Santa Clarita Transit is operated by MV Transportation, Inc. under contract with the city of Santa Clarita.
On weekdays, City of Santa Clarita Transit operates commuter buses to/from Burbank, downtown Los Angeles, North Hollywood (operates seven days per week), Warner Center, Van Nuys, and Century City. Also on weekdays when school is in session, City of Santa Clarita Transit operates supplemental school-day service with routes and scheduled stops designed around various school sites within the Santa Clarita Valley.
City of Santa Clarita Transit also operates Dial-A-Ride service for seniors and the disabled. Dial-A-Ride service is also open to the general public after 6:00 p.m. The service allows for pick-up and drop-off at any address within the City of Santa Clarita and within a three-quarter mile radius of the nearest fixed route bus stop in unincorporated areas.
City of Santa Clarita Transit operates weekdays from 4:15 a.m.–11:15 p.m., Saturdays from 6:15 a.m.-10:45 p.m., and on Sundays from 7:15 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. Service operates as frequently as every 15 minutes during peak periods to every 90 minutes during off-peak hours. Typically, buses operate every 30 to 60 minutes.
City of Santa Clarita Transit has installed GPS transponders on its entire fleet, making it easy to track buses. This allows customers to go on the City of Santa Clarita Transit's website to see the arrival time at a particular stop. When waiting at an actual stop, customers can text the stop number or scan a QR code and an arrival time will display on their mobile phone.
City of Santa Clarita Transit was formerly known as Santa Clarita Transit.
Metrolink provides commuter passenger train service to the Santa Clarita Valley along its Antelope Valley Line which runs from Lancaster to Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles, where transfers can be made to destinations in Southern California and the rest of the nation. Metrolink services 3 stations in the city, Via Princessa Station in the Canyon Country community, Santa Clarita Station which is centrally located in the city and serves most of the Valencia and Saugus communities, and the Newhall Station which serves the community of Newhall. All stations have large parking lots to allow commuters to "park and ride."
Metrolink service operates 7 days a week, with reduced service on Saturdays and Sundays.
There are a series of bike trails and walking paths threaded throughout the city. Bicyclists can ride from the eastern end of the city in Canyon Country along a paved path which is independent from automobile traffic all the way to Valencia on the Santa Clara River Trail. This path closely follows the Santa Clara River and Soledad Canyon Road. There are many jumping off points along this route providing access to neighborhoods, Metrolink stations and commerce. Once in Valencia, there are several pedestrian bridges called paseos connected to the bike path network. The paseos keep riders and walkers above and away from automobile traffic. The neighborhoods in Valencia were planned to include an ample amount of walking and riding paths that connect to this overall network. In 2007, the League of American Bicyclists awarded Santa Clarita its "bronze" designation as a "bicycle friendly community."
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Santa Clarita.|