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Deep roots, sweet memories

A resident of more than 60 years recalls Placerita Canyon's golden age

Posted: May 18, 2009 10:27 p.m.
Updated: May 19, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Eighty-two-year-old Evelyn Adams has lived in Placerita Canyon since 1947 and has seen many changes. Her favorite thing about the area is the oak trees.

When Evelyn Adams first moved to Placerita Canyon in 1947, it was a place of virtually unspoiled wilderness.

She was enamored with the canyon's natural beauty - especially the oak trees that cloak the rugged hills.

Her own deep roots have extended to the Green Thumb nursery in Newhall, where she has worked for 29 years and, employees there say, is the only cashier with a fan club.

When it's busy at the store and several registers are open, "no one will leave Evelyn's line to go to a new register," said general manager Bryan Payne. "She's like everyone's grandma."

Adams also takes pride in her baking abilities. Payne said she bakes an unforgettable lemon cake for her fellow employees and relatives during the holiday season.

Her neighborhood homeowner's association has dubbed her "Placerita Gold" - a play on the legend-laden historical fact that Placerita Canyon was among the first places in which gold was discovered in California.

In her more than six decades in Placerita Canyon, she's seen a lot about the place change.

When she first arrived, coyotes and deer roamed freely. She and her husband raised cattle, pigs, goats, ducks, chickens and other fowl.

Cowboy film legend Gene Autry was her next-door neighbor, and the cattle would often graze on his property.

She also recalled a wild-animal refuge that the canyon used to house.

"They used to have lions, and at night you could hear them roar," Adams said.

But now the lions' roars are gone, she said - and Autry sold his property, on which Melody Ranch now sits. Other buildings have sprung up and there are a lot more homes.

The coyotes and deer aren't quite so bold anymore. And new neighbors arrived and turned her ranch community into a neighborhood.

"It used to be so quiet," she said.

She still lives on the same 2-acre lot, and said she knew when she first moved there with her husband, it would be her home forever.

"It's been my home for so many years now," she said. "Even if I wanted to move, my roots are too deep."


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