The city has annexed a number of unincorporated areas, contributing to the large population increase. Santa Clarita was incorporated in December 1987 as the union of four unincorporated communities, including Canyon Country, Newhall, Saugus, and Valencia, all of which are situated on the land of the former Rancho San Francisco.It is located about 35 miles (56 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and occupies most of the Santa Clarita Valley. The four communities retain separate identities, and it is common for residents to refer those communities when asked where they are from.
The Antelope Valley Freeway (SR-14) runs northeast-southwest through an irregular east border, and the Newhall Pass is the city's southernmost point.
Santa Clarita is often associated with the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park, though the park is located just outside the city limits, and the California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts), located in Valencia.
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 discovery was made in Placerita Canyon, an area later used as Hollywood's original back lot.
The event is memorialized in an 1842 mining claim issued by Gov. The community of Newhall is named after Henry Newhall, a businessman who made his original fortune during the California Gold Rush after opening up the H. Newhall & Company, an extremely successful auction house in San Francisco. 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 his eye 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 /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 a portion of the land, upon which the company built a town they named after him: Newhall.