Many previous local histories cite the Los Alamitos School District’s s origins as going to back to 1881, a reference which is incorrect.  [These errors seem to be based on the oft-cited, but long after the fact,  memories of former OC Supervisor Thom. Talbert, Historical Volume and reference Works, Vol. II, Orange County, page 22 .  These facts were then reprinted in 100 Years of Public Education by Merton E. Hall].   Talbert apparently confused present Los Alamitos with the Alamitos School and Alamitos School District.  The school was located on the southeast corner of what is now Magnolia Blvd and Chapman Avenues in present Garden Grove.  This location is right along the eastern boundary line of the Rancho Los Alamitos, hence its name.  [This would also probably be the case for the naming of Rancho Alamitos High School, although the latter is for the most part within the Rancho Los Coyotes boundaries.]   The Alamitos School and district served the students and families  of northwest Garden Grove and some southwest Anaheim and Benedict (Stanton) and the forgotten community of Cordinez.  It was often referred to as a “Friends” (Quaker) community. [ref]Alamitos SAchool info from oral interview with Clarence Iwao Nishizu, as partn of Cal State Fullerton’s Japanese-American Oralk History project.  Also, France Catherine Smiley, An Educational Survey of Orange County, California, 1921, p. 73[/ref] It was adjacent to the boundary line with the Rancho Los Alamitos, hence its name, but this school did not serve the community that would become present Los Alamitos.  This mistake would also explain why state reports for Laurel School District are missing until 1900.]

It is our belief that the first school built in the current Los Alamitos area happened in 1897, right as the new town and sugar factory were being built.  We base this assumption on newspaper articles of the time.  Even without a school in our far western area of Orange County, there were still a good number of children in the area of the yet-to-be formed or named town.  But early issues of the Anaheim Gazette say the children in the Alamitos attended schools in the Cypress District.   However, some confusion on the certainty of this statement is caused by the following paragraph in the  January 10, 1895, issue of the  Anaheim Gazette.  In the section “ALAMITOS NOTES” we see:

“There is quite a feeling working up amongst us as to the location of the new school that is to be.  Many people want the old building raised a story and an additional teacher employed while others go in strongly for a new building in the vicinity of Mr. Carrol’s big barn.  I wish they would build it nearer me and appoint a janitor.  I would dearly love to pick up a little more learnin.”


That changed with the building of the Los Alamitos Sugar Factory and the coming of the railroad in 1896 and 1897.

In an early report on the construction of the town, the December 20, 1896 LA Times (page 35, col. 2)  states:

20 DEC 1896 – LA Times, p.35, col. 2

LOS ALAMITOS, Dec. 19 — (Regular Correspondence) The new $5000 [railroad] depot is nearing completion, and as soon as it is ready, Station Agent J.H. Badgely will move his family here from Los Angeles.
The town is growing rapidly, and arrangements are being made for school facilities.  It is predicted that by January 1, there will be 150 families located on the Los Alamitos ranch.
The township commissioners will soon build two bridges over Coyote Creek on north and south, and east and west roads, to get ready for beet deliveries to the factory.

Somebody in the community did petition the county for help in establishing a school house, but this effort was unsuccessful.  The Mar 29, 1897 issue of the LA Times, p. 7, in their “All Along the Line:” section, states the following:

The Los Alamitos beet sugar factory already promises to greatly augment the wealth and population of Orange County. Already the new town feels the need of a schoolhouse which the County supervisors in their wisdom have seen fit to deny.  It will not be long before the growing population of this locality will compel the County Fathers to be more liberal.

Undaunted, the Los Alamitos residents persevered.  The July 17, 1897 LA Times reported:

The prospects are good for a three departments summer school to be opened soon.  Two teachers have already been engaged.

In March 1898, Charles Yost and others filed a petition with the Orange County Board of Supervisors to “form a new school district at Los Alamitos, to be known as Laurel School District,” a fact duly noted in the March 22, 1898 Los Angeles Times.  (see photo, above left)

Why Laurel?   In 1953, when the District changed names, then Superintendent Jack L. Weaver said it was named after the daughter of one of the Board Trustees, but we haven’t verified this.  Another times article, written a little later when discussing the new Laurel School in the new town of Hollywood, noted that it was one of five area schools named Laurel.  It was obviously a popular name, having roots in the laurel wreath that was placed on ancient champions.   And all of the original elements of Los Alamitos seemed to have tree roots, no pun intended.    The north-south streets on architect Frank Capitain’s original layout were originally named Oak Chestnut, Myrtle, Pine, Cherry, etc.  And of course, Los Alamitos itself is obviously the Spanish for Little Cottonwood.

The creation date for the district is further confirmed by a blub in the LA Times.

20 APR 1898 – LA times (Builder & Contractor, p1, col. 4) , – Laurel School District. Creation of rural school district in Los Alamitos. Preparations for a bond issue for their building.

According to a memoir written by Nellie Butterfield who attended the school’s first years, the original configuration was an ad hoc one-classroom.

Our first school there was a one-room building with one teacher managing all eight grades.  Several of the older girls helped the younger ones, with their reading or writing.  The first teacher was Mr. Keyes who later finished college, studied law and practiced in Berkeley, California where Harry (her brother, Harry Butterfield) met him in later years.  It was probably after that first year that the new Laurel School was built.

The building of the new school apparently proceeded without issues.  The Orange County directory, published in March 1899, states:

A good school building and union church have just been completed.

The same directory shows that the school staff consisted of the following teachers/educators:

Chaffee, Miss Fannie L …………….teacher, Cypress school
Cypress School………………… Mrs. R E Damond, principal
Damond, Mrs. Reumah……………………….. school teacher
Jones, Miss I M …………..Principal, Laurel School District
Los Alamitos School,………….. Miss I.M. Jones.. principal
Seeg Miller, Miss E M……………………………………. teacher


The California State reports of 1900 show that the district had an enrollment of seventy students and a library of 109 volumes. They had an ADA (average daily attendance?) of 23, and expenditures of $1,740.87.   The school maintained a school year of 180 days.

Laurel School
Laurel School – some sources say this is from 1912, others from 1917. Is this the original Laurel School?

In her paper on the history of Los Alamitos, Ruth Wright quotes Professor Harry Butterfield, “an old resident of the town.”  Butterfield was born in 1887, and family genealogies show his family lived in Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and came to Los Alamitos in 1898 when his father was hired as a carpenter at the sugar factory.  Butterfield retired as a professor at UC Berkeley in 1955, and apparently came back to live in Los Alamitos, which is when Mrs. Wright had the opportunity to speak with him, and wrote a 7-page transcript of his memories:


When we came we attended a school a block or so to the north of the present school.  The old hall building faced east and all the grades were in one building that year.  A new building was constructed on the site of the present school grounds about 1898 and there we had two rooms downstairs, one for the lower grades and one for the upper grades.  I went from the fourth grade through the ninth grade at this school.

There were two teachers in the new school but only one teacher, a Mr. Keys, in the one-room school when we arrived.  [ref]

Wright also later wrote a two-page summary which she gave to a Los Alamitos teacher, Mr. Domas, who apparently used it for his third grade class at Laurel (later Los Alamitos) Elementary.  “He attended school at the corner of Los Alamitos Blvd. and Katella.  It housed 42 students and cost $370.00  The old hall building faced the east and all the grades were in one building.  A new school was built in 1898 on the site of the old one.   They had two rooms downstairs, one for the lower grades and one for the upper grades.  It went to the ninth grade.  It was necessary to go to Santa Ana to attend high school.

Butterfield’s comments of “a new school was built in 1898 on the site of the old one,” confuse matters a little.[/ref]

Another who attended the school for a couple years early on was Joseph Denni, son of dairyman Alois Denni, who operated a dairy where Los Alamitos HIgh School now stands.

He attended the Los Alamitos School, a two-story building that was on the corner of Los Alamitos and Katella Boulevards. The teacher was apparently named Mrs. Hopkins.  D

Denni left the school when he was 7 years old (c.1909) when the family moved to Signal Hill.

Controversy arose in 1905, when founders of the Bolsa High School got Laurel students placed in their new high school district.   Residents in Los Alamitos immediately pressed their case before the Board of Supervisors, saying the travel to Huntington Beach would take far longer than traveling to Anaheim for secondary school.   The Supervisors changed their earlier decision and removed Los Alamitos from the Las Bolsas district.


1918 – the Los Al School District Tax Rolls  [ref]

Tax rolls for Laurel School District, 1918

C. A Jones

E.O. Hooker, Seal Beach

Carre Haying
V.H. Sutton, Norwalk
A.L. Seward, Mesquite, NM
Frank Orona
J. Ross Clark
John & R.D. White, 1st St, Los Angeles
Narvo Soto, c/o J.P. Sugimira, Bakersfield
Ramona Moreno
S.S. Jones
John Gandolfo
T.J.F. Boege Co., Anaheim
Felix Ybarra
Edward Mene, Anaheim
C. Grazida
Oscar Cochema, Santa Ana
H.T. O’Connor
Viola Hooker, Seal Beach
W.F. Dodd
M.A. Ramsey, Summerland, Arizona
John Webber, Santa Ana
Jesus Valenzuela
George W. Short, El Modena
Jose Ramirez
R. Navarro
Domingo Mogart
Lois Mendoza
Maximanno Villabosensio
H.W. Stevenson, Long Beach
Mattie B. Sproul, Fullerton
Mrs. E.E. Smith, Los Angeles
Eusebio Ortiz
P. Labourdette
Andres Guzman
Felix Amador
Lilly Valenzuela
Lilly Rodriguez
Bixby Land Co., % Lilly Rodriguez
Sarah Seward, Mesquite, NM
Bixby Land Com, % Sarah Seward, Humboldt, Arizona
Southern California Congregational Conference
Louis Denni, Long Beach (parcel valued at $1,520)
Fred H. Bixby (8 parcels, value of $1,520)
Susannah P. (Bixby) Bryant (9 parcels)
LA Trust Bank, % C.W. Gates
Artesian land Co, (3 parcels)
Mrs. J.P. Labourdette
Mrs. H.E. Dike % Jotham Bixby Co.
Mrs. E. Moreno
Karl V. Bennis
J.E. Gardner
Eunice Labourdette
F.W. Walton
Lymuel H. Mosely, Highland Park
Maria Lemus
H.A. Condra
S.P. Brightwell, Los Angeles
Jas. H. Heaston
S.H. Smith
George N. Watts
Elmer P. Wilson % F.M. Struble, Los Alamitos
Ernest Schroeder
Jesus Lemus
Alberto Rivera
Benjamin Watts
M.F. Reagan (4 improved lots, 25 parcels)
Richard Longevaal
Los Alamitos Sugar Company (16 parcels)
Los Alamitos Store (3 parcels)
E.O. Hooker, Seal Beach (4 parcels)




The district’s energy seemed to follow that of the nearby sugar factory.  And the beet cropped dwindled as the teens turned into the 1920’s.  The following report in the 1921 Educational Survey of California gives the following report on Laurel School:


The Laurel school house, and old frame building of the “eastern” type, is set in a large yard well shpded with eucalyptus trees. The equipment is limited to the essential apparatus from which the dullness is relieved by a few personal touches. The work of the eight grades is divided among three women teachers, and a fourth teaches a special class for the Mexican children. A few Belgian pupils are enrolled in the several grades. Although the community interest of this district is not very intense, it being another beet sugar center, a new schoolhouse is planned for the near future.[ref] Smiley, Educational Survey of Orange Co., p.88.  For the sake of comparison we also present the Cypress School report in the survey.


The Cypress school is another example of the old frame building, but of the smaller strictly two-room type, with sliding doors, and a separate library and store room. This district, although relatively poor, has the fortune of an interested and helpful Parent-Teachers’ Association. Here again one finds the white curtains and potted window plants adding a softening tone to the commonplaces of an unattractive school room.[/ref]


While the sugar factory fortunes dwindled, down the road in Bay City got a similar report about community interest in their school.  Here is the survey report:

Bay City

In the Bay City school house is found one of the brick unit-system buildings in the process of being enlarged. By the addition of two rooms to the left hand side the crowded condition observed there the first half of the current year is being alleviated. The appointments of this school are of the approved style, left hand lighting, Venetian blinds, indirect electric lighting, furnace heat and ventilation, graduated seats, long ventilated cloakrooms, fire hose and extinguishers, drinking fountains, and inside toilets with sanitary arrangements. The library is in a separate room.

All of the regulation equipment is present, with the exception of a flag In one room; the playgrounds are supplied with suitable apparatus, although the alkali soil prevents the maintainence of an attractive yard. In this school one notes for the first time, the division of the First Grade into A and B classes, otherwise the grade system is uniform with the preceding school accounts. The room divisions occur between the second and the third grades, and again between the fifth and sixth grades.

A few Japanese children are enrolled here, but present no problems. In common with the other beach communities, the pupils in this school are transient, and the community interest Is mediocre. [ref] Smiley, Survey, p.77-78[/ref]

Other summations in the educational survey although not specific to the Los Alamitpos area are interesting.


  • Orange County Is the richest county In soil products In America.
  • The county expends about one third of its income on education.  The average cost per pupil enrolled in the school year 198-19 was:
    • the kindergarten was $24.13,
    • In the elementary school $39.79, and
    • In the high school $98.29
  • The county is supervised on the nineteenth century plan.  The teachers, on the whole, are efficient, having an average of practically three years of professional training and seven years of experience.

About 1920 the Laurel District, like others in Orange County,  began to grow.  This might have been influenced by the development of the nearby oil fields in Signal Hill and Long Beach, and perhaps some smaller but more numerous truck and dairy farms on the surrounding Fred Bixby Ranch properties.

In 1921, the Los Alamitos District voted to formally join the Anaheim High School District.  Los Alamitos students would then be bussed to Anaheim High School which lay about 10 miles away.  [ref] source:  Mauer, p.8, cit. Hill, 100 Years of p. 55[/ref].

Laurel School - Class of 1912
Laurel School – Class of 1912

In 1922, Orange County established a branch of the county library, utilizing the Laurel School library [source: News notes of California libraries, Volume 17 By California State Library, 1922 Laurel School Dist. (P. O. Los Alamitos).

Laurel School Dist. Branch. Orange Co. Free Library. Mrs Mary Gilmore. Custodian. Est. Feb. 13, 1922.
Total vols. 147. Added 158 (94 special requests) ; ret’d 11. Cardholders 181. Circulation 220.
Laurel Branch. Orange Co. Free Library, is .served through Laurel School dist. branch.

The original one-room schoolhouse of frame and stucco construction served the district until 1923, according to A.J. Labourdette — a longtime resident of Los Alamitos and former school board member.   [Mauer, p.1, cit. Laboudette, interview] .  A new school house was constructed that year, located just north of the first building on the corner of Los Alamitos Boulevard and Katella Avenue.  The new building — referred to as the auditorium building — was two stories with a large auditorium in the center extending through both both floors.  This large room had a stage and also housed the students during lunch recess.  On both sides and the back of this large room were  six classrooms, three on the main floor and three upstairs.   An area below the northwest wing and below ground level was a small kitchen which served hot meals.  The building also served as a community building.


By 1925 there was an enrollment of 140 students.

The auditorium building withstood the 1933 Long Beach earthquake and housed many people after that disaster.  The auditorium served the district until 1946 when a third Laurel School was built on the same site.  However, due to overcrowded conditions, the classrooms in the auditorium building were used as late as 1954. [Mauer, cit. Minutes of the Meetings of the Los Alamitos School Board, 1939-1968).  Finally in 1955 this building was demolished with some of the bricks being saved and used in the fireplace of the new home of Superintendent Jack L. Weaver.[Mauer, cit Mrs. Vanderleek, retired teacher, interview].

The 1935 enrollment was 189 pupils, apparently large enough that the Orange County Free Library formally established a branch operation at the school.  But by some reports the library was closed in 1939, only to reopen in 1941 — apparently in anticipation of the influx of families with the construction of the new naval air base.

The influx of families wasn’t apparently that great.  The 1945 school district enrollment was still only 214.

But after the war, the Navy kept a more-permanent cadre of personnel at the new airbase, and the first phase of home for Los Alamitos Park — now Carrier Row — were built just outside the entrance to the base.  In addition to housing families of servicemen and civilian workers at the base, workers and engineers from the nearby aviation plants also lived there and the school-age population began to grow.

In 1946, the school board selected Jack L. Weaver as the district’s new superintendent.  Weaver would stay in the role for 15 years and lead the district through its greatest expansion and also play a major role in the Los Alamitos Chamber of Commerce as well.  Among his first challenges was the realization that by late 1946 it was evident that there was a need for more classrooms.  Due to the lack of funds to buy a new site, it was decided to add four classrooms to the Laurel site.  However, by April 1947, it was decided to have a school bond election

The new Laurel School consisted of eight classroom and two kindergarten rooms.  The kindergarten rooms were located across Pine Street just east of the main site.  And this was the first kindergarten of the district. [Mauer,     ].  The old original stucco building was also moved to this site.  It was to remain there until given to the VFW of Buena Park in 1955. [Mauer, cit. interview with Joseph Grant, former Principal at Weaver School.]

By 1953 Orange County was expanding.  Buena Park had incorporated, and along with Anaheim, Garden Grove and Westminster, they were all expanding, trying to annex revenue producing industry and retail land.  Dairymen to the north were starting rumblings about incorporation — and to fend off the threat of annexation (and to try to make road and sewer improvements) the revitalized Los Alamitos Chamber of Commerce led a well-organized drive for incorporation.  In anticipation of the success of incorporation, the trustees of the Laurel school district changed their name to the Los Alamitos School District.

In 1955, the district enrollment was already 454 pupils when developer Ross Cortese met with leaders of the Los Al Chamber of Commerce and School District and discussed his plan to build at least 2,400 homes east of Los Alamitos Blvd and south of Katella.  The new development, to be called Rossmoor, was the largest tract development announced in Orange County.  This mean the Los Alamitos district would experience 1000% growth over the next 6-7 years.

Cortese set aside seven plots that would be used for schools, but somehow in the process he got the Orange County developers to agree that these school sites would also serve as the mandatory required parklands.  [Rossmoor originally had no parks.  The only real parks they have now are the former Wilson Park site now called Rossmoor Park, and the old Rush School site — now Rush Park] This, in effect, made the Los Alamitos school board the stewards of Rossmoor’s recreation sites. This was not a big deal as there was always much cross-collateralization of public resources in the past.  The Laurel School library had been used as the county library.  The Laurel School auditorium was the community meeting hall.


Note:  I haven’t had time to complete this, but I thought it might be beneficial to those of you are are actually interested in this to place these school-district related newspaper clippings  until I get time to put into this article.


1959 – “Red Scare” hits Los Alamitos District – The threat of an increased Communist influence in daily life was very strong in the 1950s, even more so in very conservative Orange County.

In 1959, Ruth Bishop, a Los Alamitos Elementary kindergarten teacher, was arrested at school on charges battery, disorderly conduct and resisting a police officer.  Earlier that morning she had been served with a subpena by the House Un-American Activities Committee.  Bishop, who had come to the committee’s attention because of her political activism and protests against the Korean War, reportedly ran the policeman off with a broom.  Although she was later convicted by a jury of that charge and fined $600, the Los Alamitos district voted to allow her to return to her job.

[ref]LA Times,  May 23, 1999,  obituaries:  Ruth Bishop; Teacher, Antiwar Activist

Ruth Bishop, 95, a kindergarten teacher from Los Alamitos who was one of 110 California teachers subpoenaed in 1959 by the House Un-American Activities Committee. A native of Tyler, Texas, Bishop earned a teaching degree from UCLA in 1926. During World War II, she worked in the shipyards of Long Beach as a welder to help the war effort. But she was also a social activist, and in later years was involved in protests against the conflicts in Korea, Vietnam and Nicaragua. During the Red Scare of the 1940s and ’50s, California schoolteachers faced at least nine major investigations by the state and federal governments. Scores of teachers were named as subversives and hundreds were fired. Largely because of Bishop’s stance against the Korean War, she was served with a subpoena in 1959 to appear before HUAC. In the process of being served, she chased a policeman off her porch with a broom. She was later arrested at Los Alamitos Elementary School, where she was teaching kindergarten and charged with battery, disorderly conduct and resisting a police officer. She pleaded not guilty to the charges and declared that HUAC “destroys people’s reputations merely by making charges.” After a jury trial, she was convicted and fined $600. HUAC’s influence in the country was waning, however, and the Los Alamitos school board voted to allow Bishop to return to the classroom. The hearings for which she was subpoenaed never took place. She retired in 1969 after 42 years of teaching. On May 15 in Long Beach. [/ref]


Some in the community were still suspicious of communist influence and “loss of patriotism among our young people” in the local schools.  One such community group calling itself the Rossmoor Parents for Better Education, issued two reports, one in April and a second  in September 1962 on the textbooks used by the district.  [ref] Rossmoor Parents for Better Education, Los Alamitos, Calif; Analysis of History and Geography Textbooks: Los Alamitos School District, April 20, 1962; and Inquiry into the Communist affiliation of authors appearing in books to be used in the Los Alamitos School District; second report.   © Rossmoor Parents for Better Education; 7Sep62; A603945.  In the first report, of 12 books used in the 4th through 6th grades, only three received “satisfactory ratings: California Mission Days, California Rancho Days, and California Gold Days, all written by Helen Bauer.  Rated “unsatisfactory” was California Yesterdays, Our California Today, Exploring Our Country, America’s own Story, Neighbors in the United States, Great Names in American History, Living in Latin America.   [/ref]  The two reports concluded that not only were all the history and geography books used in the fifth and six grade unsatisfactory or “thoroughly unsatisfactory,” but that that a number of other books to be purchased by the District included works “whose  contributing authors had been cited as members of communist front organizations.”  One of the complaints against a fourth grade book, California Yesterdays, was about the great emphasis put on the importance of Fort Ross (a Russian settlement) as compared to Sutter’s Fort.  They received equal play in the textbook, although “the World Book Encyclopedia and Brittanica do not agree. They both feel Sutter’s Fort played a far more important role in early California history.”  Another complaint was the dismissal of the Owens River aqueduct, leaving the impression that it too was a federal poroject like Hoover Dam when the former was actually “an outstanding example of a major project accomplished by people at a local level.”    The second report listed parent objections to books which included the works of alleged communist sympathizers Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Ana Mae Brady, Nancy Keffer Ford, Christopher Morley and Carl Sandburg.[ref] Among the parents who got up to speak and submitted formal letters to the district in the report were Charles A. McLuen, George Cameron, Mrs. Beverly Wiltso, Mrs. Joan Miller, Mrs. John C. Coleman, and Robert A. Bernard./[ref]


The Board heard a report at a meeting on Friday, September 21.   One observer noted that this was the first school board meeting he had ever attended that opened without a customary flag salute.  [ref] Enterprise, Oct. 18, 1962, letter from John C. Coleman.[/ref]  The Board was obviously prepared for the meeting.  When one parent stood up, Board President Don Coscarelli ruled him out of order,  When the man remained standing, Coscarelli asked the school superintended, Richard Leno, to call the sheriff.

Another Board member, Henry Zack, referred to the Rosmoor parents as a “pressure group” in a prepared speech.  Board member __ Anderson’s motion to keep the cited books out of the school died for lack of a second, and the book purchase was approved.



In a letter to the enterprise, Robert Bernard, the group’s chairman, justified their actions, citing the superintendent of Los Angeles Schools and J.Edgar Hoover as their guiding lights.   Another member, Charles Billings, who identified himself as a teacher and “member of the Long Beach Unified School District’s Textbook Evaluation Committee,”  expressed his own frustration in a letter to the Enterprise.

21 JAN 1960—(Enterprise) A petition bearing 1,270 signatures of Rossmoor residents is presented to the Anaheim Union High School District at its meeting last week. The document requests the Board reconsider locating the proposed junior high school now being considered in the northern part of the Rossmoor tract (present site of Rossmoor Village shopping center) to one located east of Los Al Boulevard, near Orangewood (site of present day St. Hedwig Church and School).
Ross Cortese, Rossmoor subdivider, owns the [Los Al Blvd.-Orangewood site] and has offered it for $7,400 per acre. He also owns the land under consideration and is asking a much higher price for it, pointing out that it is next to his proposed hospital development and a school there would jeopardize development of the hospital.

28 JAN 1960 (Enterprise)—The enrollment of the Los Alamitos Elementary School District is now 2,059. The December average daily attendance was 1,967, an increase of 22 students.

16 JUN 1960 (Enterprise) — The Anaheim Union High School District drops its plans to locate a junior high school in Rossmoor, after being unable to come to terms with Ross Cortese, as well as concerns about air traffic noise, and the fact that the site was not approved by three government agencies.
Cortese was asking more than the AUHSD felt it could pay. Los Alamitos Elementary School District officials were told the acquisition of four elementary school sites in Rossmoor would be delayed for 3-4 months, necessitating double sessions for an additional year. Specifically mentioned is the site at Silverwood and Foster (present Lee School).


30 JUN 1960 (Enterprise) — AUHSD and Ross Cortese discuss possible purchase of a site for a junior high school north of Katella. The Rossmoor tract’s legal counsel is asked to consider a new entrance through the north wall. The site (in Los Alamitos’ Old Town west) is currently zoned industrial. Land in Rossmoor is now valued at $36,000 acre, while the land north of Katella is valued at $7-8,000 per acre. The school site (current Oak Middle School) is approximately 24 acres.

2 FEB 1961 — Enterprise, p. 1) Questions regarding whether he new corner at Cerritos and Bloomfield will be a business center or a high school are still unresolved.

9 FEB 1961 — LA Times, pOC2 — LOS ALAMITOS — Purchase of a 24-acre parcel for this area’s first junior high school, a proposed $1.9 million facility has been approved by the Anaheim Union High School trustees.

The land on Oak Street, north of Katella Ave., is bing purchased for $360,000 from Ross and Alona Cortese. The school, construction of 2hich is espected to require approximately a year, will serve Los Alamitos and Rossmoor residents who now muct travel by busses to adjacent areas.

The facility, to be known as Oak Junior High School, will be financed through an allocation approved by the state, Asst. Supt. Ken Wines reported.

Eminent domain proceedings had been filed to obtain the property in event the negotiations were unsuccessful.

Supt. of Schools Paul Cook said the agreement, on a price for the land, will speed construction by several months by avoiding the time required for a court action.

8 JUN 1961 – Los Alamitos HS site chosen – LA Times, p.D7.

A 50-acre parcel at the northeast corner f Los Alamitos Boulevard and Cerritos Avenue has been selected as site for this area’s first high school.

Anaheim Union High School District trustees have applied to the state Allocation Board for funds with which to finance purchase of the land and develop plans at a cost estimated at approximately $900,000.

Buses Used

Students from Rossmoor and Los Alamitos now are transported to high schools in the Anaheim area.

Pending action on the request for state funds, the board is negotiating purchase with the Bixby Land Company, which owns 46 acres of the land proposed for the site.

[note: not to be confused with the Bixby Ranch Company, Bixby Land Company was run by the descendants of Lewellyn and Jotham Bixby, owners of Rancho Los Cerritos. Bixby Ranch was run by descendants of Fred H. Bixby, and before that John Bixby, of Rancho Los Alamitos. Because Lewellyn and Jotham invested in their cousin John’s purchase of Los Alamitos, upon John’s sudden death in 1887, they came to own that part of the Rancho Los Alamitos property that was north of present Orangewood Avenue — and adjacent to their Rancho Los Cerritos property. The heirs of John Bixby received the land south of Orangewood and roughly north of PCH in Long Beach and north of Garden Grove Blvd in Orange County.

SEP 1961 – Jack L. Weaver School opens at Silverwood and Foster. Richard Henry Lee School opens in Rossmoor in 1961. By now the Los Al Elementary trustees had decided to name all future schools after signers of the Declaration of Independence.

SEPTEMBER 1962 — Benjamin Rush School opens in 1962, and the last Rossmoor school, Francis Hopkinson, opened in 1963. (The final Rossmoor school site, to be named after James Wilson, and to be located on the current Rossmoor Park, was developed and a model displayed at the Bank of America for almost a year. This future school, was designed for the latest innovations in education, but by late 1971 it became obvious that the Wilson School would not be needed.)

SEPTEMBER 1962 — Oak Junior High opens for grades 7-9. Previously Los Alamitos, Rossmoor and College Park students officially attended Orangeview Junior High (for Grades 7-9) in Cypress and Western High School (Grades 10-12) in Buena Park. (although many also went to either Wilson or Poly High Schools in Long Beach).


11 JAN 1963 – LB Press-Telegram, Friday, January 11, 1963 — SAN FRANCISCO—Attempts to censor school textbooks in Los Alamitos School District and other Orange County School Districts came under fire today at a hearing by the State Board of Education on textbooks.

Zane Meckler. secretary of the education committee of the Community Relations Conference of Southern California made the attack.

As part of his comment n books scheduled for adoption, he said:

“The attacks on the textbooks last year prompted some of us to pay more heed to the would-be censors on both the state and national levels.  We have witnessed within this past year, and indeed within recent months. calculated attacks on textbooks, films, library materials and reading tests in the Los Alamitos School District, many of the other school districts in Orange County, Glendora, West Covina and Los Angeles.”


June 6, 1963 – Press-Telegram, p.B-2 — Unifying of Los Alamitos Schools Runs into a Snag; Delayed by Impending Change in Law;  Unification of Los Alamitos — either with anbother district or by itself — will be long-delayed because of impending changes of a state l;awcalling for consolidation of school districts.

Dr. Richard Leno, the district superintendent, said Wednesday considerations of consolidation or unifcation will be delayed until at least the end of this session of the legislature.  This will enabble local offivials to determine what is ahead for them in the way of deadlines for such studies.

One legislative bill calls for postponement of the 1965 deadline for unifcation plan by all California school districts.

*  *  *  *

Dr. Leno disclosed that Los Alamitos District has “considered” possible unification with Seal Beach School District.  Complicating this solution is the fact the two belong to different high school districts — Los Alamitos to Anaheim, Seal Beach to Huntington Beach Union High School District.

Unification with Cypress also has been proposed—and considered by both districts.  They have a common boundary and both are about the same size with common problems of education, leno said.  However, Los Alamitos has a slightly higher assessed valuation than does Cypress.

Raymond A. Terry, president of the Anaheim High School, said that it is the responsibility of each of the school boards to consider unifcation or consolidation.

*   *   *   *

Some other elementary school districts in thye Anaheim HIgh School system have announced that they are lukewarm to the idea of consolidation.

And Stanton’s Savanna District disclosed that it is “opposed to unification in any form.”

SEP 1967 – even though it’s own campus is not finished, Los Alamitos High School begins holding classes at Pine (now McAuliffe) Middle School. That first year it accommodates the sophomore class of the soon-to-be-opened Los AlamitosHigh School.

8 SEP 1968 — LA Times – New schools become idea labs. Article about flex scheduling and other innovations at LAHS and other new schools.




Biggest opposition came from teachers; think their options for advancement will be limited

14 JUN 1964 – News-Enterprise (p.1) – Plan for Unification of Los Al Schools offered.

18 SEP 1968 LA Times pC4A — Los Alamitos School Board Trustees again seek to unify. They went on record in 1962 favoring unification, failed in 1964 to obtain State Board of Education approval to attempt unification.

23 FEB – LA Times pOC1. School unification plan could reverse trend.

MAR 1969 – (News-Enterprise, p1 — Unification opponents tell disadvantages. A poll shows majority of teachers at Oak and Pine oppose unification and would stay with Anaheim district if unification suceeded . A major fear among the teachers was being “frozen” in a position at a one high school district.


AUG 31, 1978 – N-E, p. 1 — School Unification Proposal to be aired before Orange County on School District Organization. The proposal would provide kindergarten through 12th grade education and breaking away from Anaheim Unified, one of the largest in the state. The new district would have an average daily attendance of 5,500. A unification plan was put before the board in 1968-69 and approved for a vote. Because of staunch opposition from the Anaheim HS District, the vote failed — 45% yes -55% no. In 1971-72 a plan was presented with the Seal Beach School District. The country committee approved, but the State Board of Education disapproved it. In 1975-76 the district again presented a plan — but this one expired at the county level. A firm hired by the Los Al elementary district conducted a survey with the question: “Do you feel the Los Alamitos School District should, in cooperation withy interested members of the community, take the intiative in promoting formation of a unified school district?” Of those who responded, 64% favored the proposal.


Book Bannings – Communists



Rossmoor domination of school board. Had an effect on Los Alamitos charter.






Additional background on Harry Butterfield, from Genealogy of the descendants of John White of Wenham and Lancaster …, Volume 3, p.150, By Almira Larkin White

WILLIAM T. Butterfield8 (21109), b. in Randolph, Vt., Sept. 7, 1853 ; m. in 1884, Louisa Moore, of Wilsonville, Neb., where they lived for a time, later in Los Angeles, Santa Anna and Los Alamitos, Cal.


  • 21173. Warren Butterfield,9 b. in Wilsonville, in 1885.
  • 21174. Harry Butterfield,9 b. in Wilsonville, in 1887. became a professor at UC Berkeley, and reportedly retired in 1955 and returned to Los Alamitos.
  • 21175. Nellie Butterfield,8 b. in Los Angeles, in 1889.
  • 21176. Oliver Butterfield,9 b. in Santa Anna, in 1891.
  • 21177 William Butterfield,9 b. in Santa Anna, in 1893.
  • 21178. Howard Butterfield,9 b. in Santa Anna, in 1895.

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