This was the Castaic train station. All of it. The Southern Pacific Railroad Company erected the siding at Castaic Junction (near today’s State Route 126) in 1887. In this 1909 photograph, May McDonald and Ethel Casey are waiting patiently beside the tracks. The little siding was wiped out in the St. Francis Dam disaster of March 12-13, 1928.
The town of Castaic at the northwestern edge of the Santa Clarita Valley derives its name from the Tataviam Indian word “kashtuk.” In the mid- to late-1800s, Castaic consisted of a number of large ranches, as did neighboring regions throughout the greater Saugus area. Castaic’s first white settlers were probably the Cordova family, who arrived in 1835, followed in 1853 by a ’49er named George Washington Lechler, who homesteaded in nearby Hasley Canyon and became one of the area’s most prominent citizens.
The train station in this photograph preceded the establishment of the Castaic School District two years later. A post office was erected at Castaic Junction in 1894, but it lasted less than a year. It was not until 1915, when the Ridge Route opened, that Castaic really made its way onto the map.