Arlie F. Hutchinson passed away this day October 24 in 1953.
The Arlie F. Hutchinson Middle School (formerly Hutchinson Intermediate School), opened its doors September 21, 1956 and commemorates a La Mirada pioneer-an ordinary fellow-who nonetheless placed his mark in the annals of La Mirada history.
Hutchinson was orphaned at birth in Kansas in 1879. He was reared by his grandparents who moved to Clearwater (now Paramount) California in 1888. They arrived in La Mirada in 1893, coincidentally, the same year La Mirada founder Andrew McNally constructed a mansion on his Windermere Ranch, now known as the Neff Mansion at Neff Park.
Hutchinson would remain in La Mirada for the rest of his life (60 years).
He traveled to Norwalk for his early education and later attended Norwalk High School and upon graduating in 1899, he married his high school sweetheart Susie Hungerford and the couple built a modest home on Valley View Avenue just South of Stage Road-their forever home.
Their four children Bessie, Clara, Evelyn and Charles were born and raised in the home and each attended and graduated from the La Mirada Grammar School located on McNally’s ranch, located approximately at today’s Excelsior Avenue/Jalisco Road intersection.
Hutchinson was employed on the McNally ranch for over 20 years-mainly driving a tractor and working in the citrus packing house on Stage Road where crates were constructed to prepare fruit for transport.
It was toward the end of his employment on the ranch that Hutchinson would become part of La Mirada’s history.
Prior to the 1920’s, La Mirada was not part of any high school district; some students commuted to attend Fullerton High School in Fullerton and others to the Norwalk district.
McNally Ranch resident land manager, Robert McGill, who was very influential in the community led an effort to have La Mirada join the Fullerton district. Hutchinson led a campaign that vehemently opposed this move, maintaining La Mirada should join the Norwalk district.
The issue was ultimately settled by a ruling essentially stating that since La Mirada was located in Los Angeles County it should not be part of a school district in Orange County (Fullerton).
However, the arguments became so heated and contentious, Hutchinson left the ranch employment and sought his livelihood elsewhere-first as a bus driver for the Norwalk district and then at La Mirada’s first established business, Olive Lawn Cemetery, where he worked until his death in 1953.
Susie Hutchinson also played a large part in La Mirada’s past. She served as librarian at the La Mirada Branch of the Los Angeles County Library which was housed in the anteroom of the La Mirada Grammar School. She was a familiar sight, wearing a broad-brimmed straw hat as she walked daily from her home on Stage Road to the school.
Hutchinson’s personal efforts and devotion helped keep the library open long after the county in 1944 decided that attendance did not warrant maintaining the branch and withdrew from the area.
Sources: Bob Camp, “La Mirada, From Rancho to City”-1970; Bob Camp & La Mirada Historical Committee-1966; supported details added by Tony Aiello-2022.