|Johann Jakob Leuzinger (1838-1906),
Adolph Leuzinger (1859-1931), and Leuzinger High School
Johann Jakob Leuzinger (1838-1906) emigrated from Wattwil, Switzerland, to the USA in 1867, and settled in Kansas. He was followed by his family, including at least two sons, Adolf (1859-1931) and Andreas (1863-?). A third son, John, lived in 1931 as a presbyterian minister in Los Angeles.
In 1882 Adolph Leuzinger came to California and began farming land where Hyde Park and the city of Inglewood are now located.
"The 19th century was growing old and tired, but the West still was young and unformed when an enterprising youngster, Adolph Leuzinger, worked his way to California. He did it by working for the Overland Stage as a stable boy. At each stage depot, he cleaned stables, forked hay and ran errands until he'd earned enough for a ticket to the next town. The youngster was from Switzerland, a land of thrifty, industrious people, and once he got to California, it wasn't long before he'd saved enough to buy a farm."
Emma Louise Bollinger "came to California as a girl with her parents from Wisconsin. They travelled by way of Missouri and the Dakotas and finally bought a place on Cherry St., Los Angeles. She met her husband-to-be through her father, who, in turn, met him at the Los Angeles hay market. "Mr. Leuzinger," she remembers, smiling, "used to cart his crops into town to sell. My father was interested in land trades and farms and he used to visit the market and talk with the farmers. He met my husband before I did."" (Nancy Anderson: Swiss pioneer family, Redondo Daily Breeze, October 29, 1959)
Adolph and Emma were married in 1893. She gave birth to three children: John Adolph Leuzinger on December 9, 1893; Louis E. Leuzinger on April 2, 1896; and, Arthur Theodore Leuzinger on April 5, 1902. In 1904, Adolph Leuzinger worked on the Daniel Freeman farm until he made enough money to boy a few acres for himself. After a few years, his total possessions were 200 acres of land. He moved to a ranch father south and lived on property now fronting on El Segundo Boulevard west of the city of Hawthorne. The family again moved in 1907 across the street, building the Leuzinger homestead at 7641 El Segundo Boulevard.
Adolph Leuzinger had always taken an active interest in local affairs and was early identified with school and banking circles. He was appointed, in 1905, to find a suitable location for a high school; he located Inglewood High School, and held the office of trustee of the Inglewood Union high school district continuously since then. He served for 33 years as vice president and director of the First National Bank in Inglewood, and when that institution became a branch of the Security First National Bank of Los Angeles, was made a member of the executive board.
A local newspaper wrote on March 7, 1931: "Dedication ceremonies at the Adolph Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, a unit of the Inglewood Union High School district, were attended by 1200 persons last night, who, under the leadership of J.R. Wimmer, trustee, joined in the following dedication declaration: "We, the mothers and fathers, students and friends of the Adolph Leuzinger High School, in the presence of the Supreme Architect of the universe, hereby dedicate this Adolph Leuzinger High School to the present generation, and to posterity." The school, which was constructed during the past summer, opened January 27 with an enrolment of 268. Fifteen teachers are employed under the general superintendence of George M. Green, pioneer educator of Southern California, who has been superintendent of the Inglewood Union High School for seventeen years. The Adolph Leuzinger School is the first unit of the district to be established outside the limits of Inglewood and was made necessary by the rapid increase in enrolment from the south end of the district. It is named in honor of Adolph Leuzinger, who has been a member of the board of trustees for twenty-five consecutive years. Leuzinger's long enduring, unselfish and sincere devotion to the cause of public education was honored by many feeling tributes. "It is too often," said Judge Leonard Wilson of the Superior Court in his address to the immense gathering, "that men must die before their rewards and their merits are inscribed so all may see. It is for this reason that I am particularly pleased to participate in a program which honors a man now living, Adolph Leuzinger.""
Adolph Leuzinger died within half a year already, on August 19, 1931. His obituary was published by the Hawthorne-Lennox Advertiser, two days later: "The death of Adolph Leuzinger, for nearly fifty years a resident of this district, saddened the many friends of the kindly man whose influence in local business, educational and civic affairs had been felt for half a century. Mr. Leuzinger passed away early Wednesday morning at the Hermosa-Redondo Hospital, following an operation performed last Friday. He had been ill for two weeks, but few realized the seriousness of his condition. He was 72 years old. … One of the finest monuments to Mr. Leuzinger's life of service is the school building on Rosencrans Avenue which bears his name. He took sincere pride in the beautiful building and few days passed that he did not visit it during its construction. He and Mrs. Leuzinger were present at the laying of the cornerstone bearing the words, "Adolph Leuzinger High School," carved on its granite surface, and many who witnessed that ceremony are glad today that Mr Leuzinger was honored during his lifetime, and in a manner appropriate to his modest and retiring nature."
"Adolph Leuzinger was a proud man," stated his widow. "When the school board of trustees, upon which he served for 25 years, decided to name your school after him, he protested in fear that no one would be able to pronounce his name. … One of the main reasons he was so strong for education was because he never went to school a day in his life. In all the 25 years he served on the school board, he never missed a meeting." Nancy Anderson described the Leuzinger home in her article "Swiss pioneer family" in Redondo Daily Breeze, October 29, 1959:
"The school, filled with most modern equipment, is a tribute to Leuzinger's interest in learning, but his home, still standing at El Segundo Blvd. and Aviation Ave. more perfectly preserves the flavor of his times. It's a farmhouse, even though the farm is gone. It doesn't have picture windows or pastel tile, but it has the solid, conservative, pious atmosphere of agricultural America. Leuzinger was a farmer whose home reflects his interest in his family and the land. His widow and his son, who live there, can close their eyes to Ramo-Wooldridge across the street and almost believe that are still in a substantial, rural house with the nearest neighbor on a farm at the present location of the Douglas wind tunnel. The visitor enters a gate at the back of the yard into a combination vegetable and flower garden. Spades, pitchforks and other garden tools lean against the fence. A red hen sits sleepily in her coop. Lush bronze chrysanthemums are staked carefully but squash vines crawl over the front yard in careless freedom. Asparagus fern against the front porch makes me so homesick I stop for a minute.
Arthur Leuzinger welcomes guests in the diningroom while his mother prepares for company. She was 90 years old Oct. 13 and rests in her bedroom. Talk about dining areas! What a wonderful area the Leuzinger diningroom encompasses. It's big enough for a family reunion dinner or to feed field hands. The heavy, absolutely not contemporary, diningroom table is pushed against one wall but it recalls an era when company dinner meant lots of company and lots of food. Even the two bisque figurines on the cabinet mantle salute the solidity of the Leuzingers. They have stood on the same mantle undamaged, through two earthquakes, the Inglewood quake in 1920 and the Long Beach quake of the 30's.
A builtin cupboard at one end of the diningroom opens into the kitchen. And what's a farmhouse without this typical device. After a Sunday dinner, the cupboard is the easiest place to place the left over chicken and sliced tomatoes, and, at supper time, food can be slipped out on the kitchen side for informal nibbling. The leftover biscuits, of course, could go into the warming oven. …
Arthur and his brothers attended Wiseburn School (there was only one). They mailed letters through the Wiseburn Post Office at the location of the present Lodley tract. And, for fun, they'd drive a horse and buggy over to the beach. "Usually we'd hitch the horse behind the sand dunes," Arthur says, "but occasionally we'd drive him right on across them."
The Leuzinger family began selling its land in 1949, because taxes were too high to make farming profitable in an industrial district. But they've kept the best part of their life, the farmhouse with its sliding doors, the illuminated Lord's Prayer, and its collections of family pictures. Students graduating from Leuzinger High School will learn a lot from textbooks and teachers in their shiny, well equipped classrooms. But, if they'd look and question with their hearts as well as with their eyes and lips, they could learn a great lesson about America and what made it if they could visit the Leuzinger home."