Santa Clarita | United States

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.

Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park and Stevenson Ranch are both commonly associated with Santa Clarita, but are located just outside the city limits.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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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