Aug. 1, 1963: Leona Cox (center) at the groundbreaking of Leona Cox Community School
in Canyon Country (North Oaks).
Information from the Sulphur Springs Union School District:
On Thursday, Aug. 1, 1963 groundbreaking ceremonies were held on a hillside site in Canyon Country to commemorate the building of a new school. This school, to be added to the Sulphur Springs Union District, was to be named in honor of 77-year-old Mrs. Leona H. Cox. Leona had hauled water in five-gallon cans to the pioneer Sulphur Springs School in Sand Canyon, when the water well went dry.
Mrs. Cox turned the first dirt for the project on the sun-baked hills at the corner of Oakmoore Street and Bernina Avenue. She was surrounded by some of the students who had attended the Sulphur Springs school.
Mrs. Cox, widow of Clement Dunbar Cox, was born in Strassberg, Alsace Lorraine, and came to the United States as a child of 3 and first moved to Florida. She came to Santa Clarita Valley in 1923 and settled on a 40-acre ranch in Sand Canyon and raised three sons.
It was in 1931 when Mrs. Cox came to the aid of the pioneer Sulphur Springs School. The water level in the valley dropped and the school's well dried up in the drought. She transported the water cans to the school in an Overland touring car.
At the time, Sulphur Springs School consisted of one room and had one teacher, Florence Mitchell. Mrs. Cox kept the fires going in the winter months, cared for the grounds, helped in disciplining the boys and girls, and later was elected to the school board. She served also as clerk of the school board but later resigned to devote all her time to her family.
The $500,000 school project was built on the north side of Soledad Canyon, west of Solemint Junction overlooking the North Oaks community. The land and site is on a portion of the historic Newhall Land & Farming Co.'s holdings.