A trade crossroads dating back to Native American times, Santa Clarita may be relatively new in the story of Los Angeles County’s suburban sprawl, but old-timers also recall it as the “Navel of the Universe.” A Chinese general once declared the Santa Clarita Valley one of the top 10 military targets on Earth. Located east of the Ventura County line where the valley creates a break in the Angeles National Forest, Santa Clarita has been home to cowboys, movie stars, farmers, and pistol fighters. With a diverse population of 250,000 today, the Santa Clarita Valley still boasts an eclectic heritage. The West’s first major oil refinery is located here. The ground was bloodied by at least 21 deaths in one of America’s last and greatest range wars. And local lore has maintained that the world’s largest grizzly bear, weighing more than a ton, was shot here.