Mentryville is located in Pico Canyon, 8 miles from Santa Clarita. Historically known as a oil-rich site, the local Tataviam Indians used the crude oil to waterproof baskets and sooth arthritis. Attempts to profit from the petroleum rich area go as far back as Mexican California by Andrés Pico and others. So it's not surprising that the canyon would be the location of the 1st oil well in California and longest continuously well in the world, Pico Number 4.

The town was named after French immigrant Alex Mentry who dug the well there in 1876, leading to the the formation of the California Star Oil Works (Bought out by Standard Oil/Chevron.) which was backed by well-known oil pioneer Demetrius G. Scofield. Nine years later, a small town was formed, however, by the 1930s it was all but a ghost town, with the school finally being abandoned in 1936. Despite the abandonment of the town and most of the wells drying up, the #4 well was still pumping until 1990 when it was capped. The lands around Mentryville were sold by Chevron to the state in 1995, it is marked to be a state historic site with a public park around it. Ironically, Mentryville was orignally public land.


Leonard, Pitt, et. al. Los Angeles: A to Z: An Encyclopedia of the City and County. Berkeley: UC Press, 1997.

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