Piru

In 1887, David C. Cook of Elgin, Illinois, purchased Rancho Temescal from the sons of Ygnacio del Valle (del Valle had died in 1880). Wanting to establish a 'Second Garden of Eden' on the Rancho, Cook founded the Piru Fruit Rancho that year and built his first mansion soon after. The name Piru, originally pronounced 'pea-roo,' is derived from the Tataviam word for tule reeds that grow in the creek there.

Around the same time, the Southern Pacific was constructing their Coast Line through the valley. Charles Crocker, of Southern Pacific, refused to build a depot at Piru because another one was already planned to be built at Camulos, 2½ miles east. Annoyed, Cook built his own depot and hired a stationmaster. In 1888, Piru City was laid out around the railroad and Cook's depot. A post office was established that June, and around then the pronunciation changed to 'pie-roo'; one local story says that a restaurant with well-liked pies posted a sign stating "We put the Pie in Piru!"

In 1890, Cook completed a lavish new mansion on the hill above town. His old home became the Piru Hotel. In 1900, Cook sold his interests to the Piru Oil & Land Company and relocated back to Illinois. The Company made some oil developments, but to this day Piru has remained a small farming town. In 1979, a storm damaged the railroad line east of town and railroad service was discontinued. A new railroad depot and 'Piru Square' were constructed in the early 2000s with the hope of attracting tourism to Piru, by way of the Fillmore & Western Railway, with a possible future connection to Santa Clarita along the old route.

I Visited Piru
6.3.2012 & 2.15.2017

Bibliography