Pico Canyon was named for General Andres Pico (1810-1866), the man who led the Mexican forces in the Mexican-American War of 1846 and the brother of Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of California. At the end of this war in 1848, Cali-fornia officially became a territory of the United States. In 1865, Pico evidently filed the first placer oil claim, called the Canada Pico, in the canyon.

Charles Alexander Mentry was a well-known Pennsylvanian oil driller. He came to the west in 1873 and eventually became the superintendent for the recently formed California Star Oil Works Company in 1876. He moved to Pico with his family around 1876.

The Pico cottage, or the Big House, was built in 1898/1899 by Mentry and was used by all the superintendents and foremans after that until it was severely damaged by the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Photo copyright 2013 Jerry L. Schneider

On October 4, 1900, Charles Mentry died. Walton Young became the superin-tendent after Mentry. In 1927, Charles Sitzman became the superintendent. The last superintendent was John Blaney (1937 to 1938). After him, there were only foremans.

In 1995, Chevron sold Mentryville and their Pico Canyon land to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. It is managed by the MRCA (Mountains Recreation and Conservancy).

DIRECTIONS: From Los Angeles, take the Golden State (5) Freeway north. Exit at Lyons Avenue/Pico Canyon Road. Turn left. Follow Pico Canyon Road to its end.


"Pals of the Prairie" (Reliable 1934) Jay Wilsey

"West on Parade" (Reliable 1934) Dennis Moore

"The Laramie Kid" (Reliable 1935) Tom Tyler

"The Lonely Trail" (Republic 1936) John Wayne

"Days of Jesse James" (Republic 1939) Roy Rogers

"Lone Rider" (Grand Army Ent. 2008) Lou Diamond Phillips