Elsmere Canyon Historic Photos


This is oldest photo of Elsmere Canyon that I have seen. It was probably taken in 1899. We are looking at the steep south face of the canyon. The west is to the right. From right to left, the wells visible are Elsmere 7 (spudded in 1898), the top of Elsmere 2 (spudded in 1890), Elsmere 5 (spudded in 1898), Elsmere 6 (spudded in 1898), and Elsmere 9 (spudded on 2/16/1899). What's missing here is Elsmere 18 (above Elsmere 9 on same diagonal ridge below the top) spudded on 7/10/1900 and Elsmere 15 (on top of canyon way above Elsmere 5) spudded on 1/4/1900. This puts the date of the photo between 2/16/1899 and 1/4/1900. You can also see the tank at the top of the canyon to the right. That same tank is visible in Arnold's 1905 photo (see below).

Copyright Note: This image is NOT in the public domain and is protected by the copyright laws of the United States.
American Petroleum Institute Photograph and Film Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Used by permission.


Here is the same photo with the wells numbered.


Here is about the same view in May of 2008.


This photo shows Elsmere 8 (spudded in 1899) and was probably taken about the same time as the previous historic photo

Copyright Note: This image is NOT in the public domain and is protected by the copyright laws of the United States.
American Petroleum Institute Photograph and Film Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution


With all the growth, it was impossible to get the same view as above. Here is the best I could do (in May of 2012), although I had to get much close to even see the cliff above the well site. There has been a lot of erosion to the cliff above and below the site.


Elsmere Canyon looking southwest (photo taken in 1905 by Ralph Arnold). There is one well (Elsmere 16) barely visible in the right center.

From U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 309: The Santa Clara Valley, Puente Hills, and Los Angeles oil districts, Southern California, by George H. Eldridge and Ralph Arnold, 1907 (Plate 7B Left)


Right section of above photo looking more toward the west (Plate 7B Right).


12-24-2006


Both sections joined together.


Here are all the visible wells


Elsmere ridge showing, at the top left, Elsmere 15 (spudded in 1900) and, at the top right, Elsmere 20 (spudded in 1900). On he bottom left is Elsmere 8 (spudded in 1899). Also visible on the right is the very top of one of the Santa Ana wells. Pre-1916 photo.

Copyright Note: This image is NOT in the public domain and is protected by the copyright laws of the United States.
Courtesy of the Robert B. and William R. Moran papers. Mss 282, Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.


About the same view today (Jan 2014)


This photo is zoomed in from a photo on the Whitney Canyon Los Angeles Aqueduct page, which with this view in the background. Here is a view of the south side of Elsmere Canyon near the mouth. The three wells visible here, from the photo middle, top to bottom, are Clampitt 8 (originally Santa Ana 1, spudded in 1901), Clampitt 9 (originally Santa Ana 2, spudded in 1902), and Clampitt 10 (originally Santa Ana 3, spudded in 1902). There is a tank where the jack line cradle is today. There is another tank on highest point in the photo. Just to the left of the tank, is the faint view of Elsmere 20 (spudded in 1900). Photo was taken about 1909.

Copyright Note: This image is NOT in the public domain and is protected by the copyright laws of the United States.
Courtesy of the Robert B. and William R. Moran papers. Mss 282, Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.


This is a view (Jan 2014) from Whitney Canyon parking lot towards just west of south. The original photo was taken further away, but that property is restricted.


Postcard photo from no later then 1909 (postmark of September 7, 1909). View towards the southeast taken from the canyon floor. The previous historic photo shows the same ridge from a different direction with almost the same wells. Well names are from left to right and bottom to top: Safe Oil Company No. 1 (drilled and abandoned in 1901 - rig still standing in 1913), Clampitt 10, Clampitt 9, Clampitt 8, and Elsmere 20 (just above and to the left of Clampitt 8 with only the top of the derrick showing). To recreate this photo, I would have to stand about where the 14 freeway is.


This picture was taken between 1902 and 1904 showing Newhall Creek in the Tunnel Area looking north. It was first published in Production and Use of Petroleum in California, California State Mining Bureau, Bulletin No. 32, 1904, by Paul Prutzman. It later showed up in Petroleum in Southern California, California State Mining Bureau, Bulletin 63, 1913, also by Paul Prutzmen. Unfortunately, the California Geological Survey could not find the photo for me. They had a fire in the 1950's that, along with the water to put out the fire, destroyed a lot of important historical documents. However, they were able to scan the plate from Bulletin 32. The smoke is coming from boiler smokestacks. The boilers were powering at least two of the five oil derricks barely visible in the picture. The left two high areas right of center in the far distance are part of Elsmere Ridge with Elsmere Canyon on the other side. You can barely see a road that runs horizontally beneath them. That road still exists and was built by 1902 (see Eldridge 1902 geologic map on geology page). The road at the bottom of the picture goes up to Beale's Cut.


About the same view on June 23, 2007. The hills where I am standing have been greatly altered by the Newhall Refinery (now defunct - operated from 1930 - December of 1989) so this is about as close as I could get to where the original picture was taken. Highway 14 has also obviously altered the landscape.


Elsmere Canyon from above south tributary looking southeast. Main canyon to left of photo. (Taken 1-23-1928 by Lynne M. Correll).

Photo caption: "In Elsmere Canyon. A small area of Quercus agrifolia in the draw to the extreme right. Chamise, Ceanothus, manzanita in the background."

Images from the Wieslander Vegetation Type Mapping Collection are courtesy of the Marian Koshland Bioscience and Natural Resources Library, University of California, Berkeley, http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/BIOS/vtm/


About the same view almost 80 years later (Taken 2-17-2007)


There are more historic photos on the Los Angeles Aqueduct page