On August 31st, around noon, a the Route Fire started off the I-5 just North of Castiac. It took 5 days to put out and burned 5208 acres, including much of the South Ridge Route. The incredible firefighters were able to save almost every structure on the road (I’ve gathered there were a couple RVs lost but no houses). While the fire is not something we’d wish upon anyone – especially the property owners – it has uncovered quite a bit of hidden history.
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The Callahan Line Change, shown above, is an isolated little stretch of the Old Ridge Route. In a time before the modern freeway, the Ridge Route ran from Queen Nell’s, along the tops of the hills, center of the photo, and then jutted right to the Owl Garage. The only thing remaining of this alignment is the strip of pavement hidden above the freeway.
The Ridge Road House, long lost to the brush, has been uncovered. A gas pump island, 2 foundations (I believe for a garage and the lunch counter) and a few smaller square foundations with bolts. Possibly for a sign, water tower or gas tank? There is a low stone retaining wall on the South end of the property, seen on the left side of the overview.
C Blocks galore! Keep an eye out while driving through the Castaic end of the Ridge Route… all of the C Blocks are in view! These were put in to mark the right-of-way of the road. They are consistent with the time period the road was surveyed and first graded.
Old alignments all throughout the road still remain… with the exception of some mentioned below.
In the name of progress…
These are some of the last photos of the original concrete on these Castaic stretches. As a resident of the road had said, the fire had brought the poor condition of the pavement to light. CalTrans put in an emergency order to have the road repaved from Templin Highway, going South. I’m happy that the road has been brought to their attention! But in the process, all of the original concrete alignments that were serving as turnouts have been paved over. It is still under there! Just no longer visible.
We’ll close this out with one of my favorite images. A slab of the original Ridge Route, covered in Phos Chek Fire Retardant from a firefighting plane. Martin’s, the last standing structure original to the road, still standing in the background.
If you like seeing updates about the Ridge Route, I would really appreciate some help with gas money to get up to the road. Prices keep climbing at $6.50/gallon… yikes! I really appreciate your support!!