Local Author Pens Book On Canyon Country History
Local author, Martha Sharrer Michael, recently penned a book titled “Canyon Country” as part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series. The book boasts more than 200 vintage images and memories of days gone by.
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Michael tells the story of Canyon Country's history, which spans approximately 1,500 years, using safeguarded photographs from the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society and dozens of other sources.
“I hope that my book will attribute value and help to define Canyon Country,” said Michael, “Both by featuring its notable firsts and by telling stories of some of the community’s favorite characters.”
Located in northern Los Angeles County in the Santa Clarita Valley, Canyon Country was once the ancestral home of the Tataviam people, who were the area's first inhabitants as early as the year 500.
“I wanted to explain its history as a corridor, first to natives and later to mule teams and motorists,” Michael said.
The first recorded American resident was Col. Thomas Mitchell, who established the area's first school in 1872 with his wife, Martha. An entire chapter devoted to education, as Canyon Country launched the second oldest school in Los Angeles County.
“I also devoted a fair number of pages to Canyon Country’s beginnings as a bedrock of education,” Michael said.
In 1876, when Southern Pacific Railroad president Charles Crocker drove in the golden spike that connected Northern and Southern California at Lang Station, Canyon Country's significance as a crossroads community began.
“The book aims to underscore the east valley’s importance as a link for the mining industry and railroad transportation,” said Michael.
Today, Canyon Country is a blend of old and new, juxtaposing hundred-year-old ranch houses with 21st century golf courses and providing locations for Hollywood's newest depictions of the Old West.
“I hope by clarifying who Canyon Country’s earliest residents were and those that followed, the book will illuminate the town’s evolving role of connection as a part of the larger community of Santa Clarita,” Michael said.
Michael is the editor of Canyon Country magazine and has been a resident of the Santa Clarita Valley for 16 years.
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