Benefit to Help Repair Historic Sites : Quake: Santa Clarita Valley group needs $30,000 to fix Heritage Junction buildings damaged in the Jan. 17 temblor.


While considerable attention has been focused upon earthquake damage to Santa Clarita's newer buildings, another group of residents has been concerned about damage to some of the city's oldest.

Officials with the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society say they need at least $30,000 to repair historic buildings at Heritage Junction. The site at William S. Hart Park in Newhall is filled with 19th-Century structures, including the 1887 Saugus Depot, an old schoolhouse, an adobe building and a handful of homes.

Several of the buildings, including the Newhall Ranch House and Mitchell Adobe School House, suffered structural damage in the Jan. 17 Northridge earthquake, according to Jo Anne Darcy, a city councilwoman and field deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich.

The Newhall Ranch House was built in the 1860s and became the homestead for the Santa Clarita Valley's founding Newhall family. It was relocated to the park to make way for the expansion of Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Darcy is co-chairwoman of a Thursday dinner fund-raiser to benefit the historical society.

"It's vitally important," Darcy said. "They don't have the money necessary to make the repairs. We're so afraid that the rain and the inclement weather are going to cause more damage."

In addition to damaging the buildings, the earthquake deprived the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society of its regular Old Towne Days fund-raiser, said Dave Lyerla, the society's vice president.

Old Towne Days is a living history event that uses Heritage Junction as a backdrop and has participants dressed in historically accurate clothing. Organizers were concerned the buildings were unsafe for the public to enter until repairs were made, so the program was canceled.

Historical society officials said they hope to make the dinner fund-raiser an annual event.

"We have on-going needs besides the earthquake damage," said Lyerla. "We seem to always be looking for funds."

The dinner fund-raiser is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Le Chene French Cuisine restaurant, 12625 Sierra Highway. Admission is $75. Antonovich and KABC radio personality Roger Barkley are scheduled to speak.

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