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SCVNews.com | Arminta Guthrie, ‘Mom’ to Last Saugus Depot Family, Dies at 90 | 07-28-2016
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Arminta Guthrie, widow of the last Southern Pacific Railroad station agent at Saugus and “mom” to the last family to live in the Saugus Depot, died Wednesday. She was 90.

Arminta Guthrie came to Saugus with husband James “Bob” Guthrie in 1962 when the railroad assigned him to run the local depot, which sat across the street from the Saugus Café.

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Arminta and Bob Guthrie in the 1940s

“At that time there were no homes in Newhall or Saugus to rent,” Arminta remembered in 2012. “So I said, OK, they’ve got living quarters upstairs. We’ll just move in up there.”

So they did. Arminta, Bob, and five of their six children – Ed, Cheryl, Marla, Debbie and Nancy – occupied the depot’s four small upstairs rooms, of which only two were bedrooms, plus a temporary living room addition. (Their oldest daughter, Linda, was married and out of the house.)

Downstairs the couple sold passenger tickets, handled baggage and sent Western Union telegrams. Arminta had been trained in railroad bookkeeping just prior to coming to Saugus, so she actually worked for her husband two or three hours per day while raising all of those kids.

guthriesThe Guthries made the depot their home for nearly 16 years. Passenger service ended in April 1971, but freight trains continued to stop in Saugus until shortly before the depot was closed forever in November 1978.

The Guthries played a key role in saving the vintage 1887 depot from demolition – a fate that befell many old train stations in the 1960s and ‘70s, including the depot at Lang, which stood in Soledad Canyon near the flashpoint of the recent Sand Fire.

The Guthries alerted the fledgling, 3-year-old Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society that there was a wrecking ball in the future and that the community would have to act fast if the building was to be preserved. Long story short, the depot was moved in June 1980 to Hart Park where it stands today as the Historical Society headquarters.

Daughters Marla and Debbie have a tea party upstairs in the depot in the 1960s.

Daughters Marla and Debbie have a tea party upstairs in the depot in the 1960s.

After a 46-year railroad career that took Bob and Arminta from Kansas City to Mexico to Oxnard to Saugus, the couple bought a 31-foot motorhome and moved to the Bishop area, later to Paso Robles where Bob died in 2005.

In 2010, Arminta revisited her old Saugus Depot home for an on-camera talk and tour [watch it here], and in 2012 she participated in the dedication of a plaque in her late husband’s memory at the depot [watch it here]. Visit the “Guthrie” section of SCVHistory.com [here].

 

The Guthries were living in the depot when snow "stuck" Dec. 19, 1970.

The Guthries were living in the depot when snow “stuck” Dec. 19, 1970.

 

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26 Comments

  1. Jeannie Dyke says:

    Heartfelt condolences to the entire Guthrie family.
    Wonderful article talking about the family and history of the train station which is part of many of our memories having grown up there.

  2. 🙏🏼🌹🙏🏼🌹🙏🏼

  3. Marla Guthrie Gibson says:

    Thank you for this wonderful tribute to our mother and to the history that she and dad played in Saugus. She was so proud of dad and his work in helping the historical society. We have lost a great woman, mother, grandmother and great grandmother but we will find comfort in all the great memories she gave us

  4. I’m sorry for her families loss❤️🙏

  5. What a beautiful tribute to Bob and Arminta and family. I so enjoyed watching this video.

  6. What a beautiful story. You have such a wonderful family. Thoughts and prayers for all of your family.

  7. ❤️love you grandma. I’m sure Papa was there to meet you at the station last night. Save us all some fried fish… We have a few more stops to make on this train!

  8. Colisha Simpkins says:

    My grandparents were the best 2 people ever lived. I’m glad they are finally together again. Thank you for the beautiful article.

    The eldest daughter of their youngest daughter.

  9. Peace and Prayers to you. They are together once more….this time it is forever.

  10. Condolences in your loss. What a wonderful tribute for the blessing of her life

  11. My prayers and love to the family💗

  12. Cheryl Guthrie Walker says:

    Amazing parents, loving grand parents – mom would have been 90 in November. I miss her but am assured we will met again. Love you both!

  13. I love that they shared her story…..your family is a part of history!!! May she RIP

  14. Janet Allen Janet Allen says:

    What a darling. I enjoyed the video. Wonderful that she spurred interest in saving the depot.my grandmothers brother in law Kenneth Gallion (spelling) was probably known by them .they are railroad people and think he also was s dispatcher in Bakersfield

  15. I’m praying for your family. I have happy memories of overnight stays at the train station.

  16. So sorry for the great loss

  17. Dan OConnell says:

    Hats off to Leon Worden for such a beautiful article and helping keep the history of Santa Clarita alive. I don’t have time at the moment to watch the video but will do so this weekend.

  18. kayla simpkins says:

    Thank you for this beautiful article for my grandma, i’m sure she is in Heaven reading it to my grandpa now. So glad i have a site i can go to whenever i want to hear her voice again.

  19. c.harris says:

    Our Blue Cloud Mineral Company rented for many years, half of the freight room at the Saugus Train Station in Saugus. When Bob, as the agent, alerted us that indeed the Station was going to close and we would have to rent other storage space. As President of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society we then started a plan of action to Save Our Station.
    Bob and Arminta were very amazing people. My husband, Norm and I so enjoyed knowing them and the part they played in Save Our Station.
    Note : you can see Bob Guthrie’s agent office at the Saugus Train Station now located in Newhall, CA. His smiling picture is there.

  20. I was lucky enough to spend a night or two with the Guthrie’s back then. Flattening penny’s or even a quarter on the tracks waiting for the trains to run over them! Giving us a unique coin and memory to share. I wish I could find those coins. Memories last forever. Thank you Nancy and your family for allowing me to visit and stay with you in such a unique and wonderful cozy home! RIP Mrs. Guthrie. ❤️

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