Short Hike to a oil ghost town


Mentryville Park - Stevenson Ranch, CA
27201 Pico Canyon Rd

Sun, Jun 30, 2019 at 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

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We will go on a easy 2 miles hike round trip to an oil ghost town. We can extend the hike if the group wants too. Hike is rated as easy. Bring water, sneakers, etc. Informational plaques report that Charles Alexander Mentry struck oil here in 1876, hitting a gusher that would continue to produce oil for more than 100 years. At its peak, Mentry’s town was home to more than 100 families. Their dwellings are mostly lost to time, but still standing are Mentry’s 13-room personal home, an 1890s barn and an 1885 schoolhouse. Nearby is a farmhouse built in 1984 by Disney as a movie set. Walk past Mentry’s big house and the schoolhouse to pick up a paved road heading into the canyon. Follow this as it winds past pepper, oak, aspen and sycamore trees, gaining elevation slightly as the canyon narrows. At a split in the road, bear right. At its height, Mentryville had 74 oil wells and produced 100,000 barrels of oil a year, but declining output and Mentry’s death in 1900 saw most of the workers and their families move on to other projects. In the 1930s, most of the buildings were moved or sold for scrap and as quickly as it sprung up, Mentryville became a ghost town. California Star Oil Company became part of Standard Oil and oil field superintendents and foremen continued to live in Mentry’s mansion up until the 1994 Northridge earthquake made it unsafe for habitation. Mentryville and the surrounding canyons became popular shooting locations for films and television shows, including Lassie movies, The Color Purple, the X-Files, Murder, She Wrote, and Big Love. In 1995, more than 3,000 acres of land was transferred from the oil company (now Chevron USA) to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, which now operates Mentryville Park. For more on the history of Mentryville, please see this excellent description from the Friends of Mentryville (http://www.scvhistory.com/mentryville/mstory.htm). For those interested in the history of the park, interpretive tours are held on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month from 12-4PM. http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-la-walks-mentryville-20170215-story.html