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A. K. Rutter

Some documents about a person who in 1903 obtained and exhibited local Indian artifacts and studied/commercialized the beach stones and shells of Redondo Beach.

1907, Book, "A history of California and an extended history of its southern coast counties, also containing biographies of well-known citizens of the past and present", By James Miller Guinn, (1834-1918), Volume: 2

[ Transcribed from page 1978 ]

"ANDREW K. RUTTER. There is perhaps no resident of Southern California whose experience as a lapidary has been more varied or whose knowledge of stones is more diversified than that of Mr. Rutter, who for some years has been the owner and proprietor of the Redondo shell store. To promote work at his specialty, which is that of cutting and polishing beach stones, he has introduced a modern polishing plant operated by electric power furnished by his own dynamos. With the keen eye of a student of stones, he was the first to notice the beautiful stones on the Redondo beach and at once began to develop the business, polishing the first sardonyx, or agate jaspers, and moonstones here, and selling the same to tourists. At the same time he has gathered together a collection of sea shells. At his store may be seen a rare and valuable collection of Indian relics, including implements taken from old Indian graves at Redondo which have found no duplicates at the Smithsonian Institution or elsewhere in the world.

In Medina county, Ohio, Andrew K. Rutter was born September 76, 1850, being the eldest of the six children of Isaac N. and Alary (Kollar) Rutter, natives respectively of Pennsylvania and Tuscarawas county, Ohio. His father, who followed the tailor's trade in Ohio, took up farm pursuits after removing to Cowley county, Kans., and at this writing he and his wife are living in quiet retirement at Pawnee, Okla. After completing the studies of the public schools, Andrew K. Rutter took a course in the Mycrantz Academy at Bryan, Ohio. From the age of twenty-two until twenty-seven he engaged in teaching school, and with the savings of that period he embarked in the grocery business at Montpelier, Williams county, Ohio. Next he went to Kansas and from there in 1879 proceeded toward the southwest. For some years he engaged in exploring in the states of Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico, and in the territories of Arizona and New Mexico, during which time he located more than forty claims, but only one of these, the Youngman, proved to be a paying proposition. The year 1886 found him in Portland, Ore., where he remained for two years. Next he explored in the Rocky mountains for crystals and gems, which he shipped to the markets. About this time he discovered a topaz crystal forty-six inches long and six inches thick, which was the largest stone of the kind ever found in Colorado. The news of his discovery was noised throughout the county," and the Santa Fe Railroad Company borrowed the stone for the purpose of exhibiting it in their collection, but while in their hands the stone was lost.

After coming to Los Angeles in 1897, Mr. Rutter engaged in the hotel business and then resumed lapidary work, but in 1901 left that city for Redondo, where he has since engaged in business and has been a member of the Redondo Board of Trade. Though not active in politics, he is pronounced in his adherence to the Republican party and always votes the regular ticket. During the period of his sojourn in Colorado he met and married Miss Harriet Fical, who was born in New York state and who shares with him the esteem of the people of their home town."

1908, Article, "The Beach Stones of Redondo", by A. K. Rutter, Redondo Reflex, April, 1908, Souvenir Great White Fleet Edition

[ Full Transcription of Article ]

"The Beach Stones of Redondo

An Article from the Pen of A. K. Rutter, Descriptive of the Different Varieties of Semi-Precious Native Gems

Redondo Beach is especially favored with an abundance of pretty stones that are cast upon its beach by the action of the ocean currents running from the south to the north through the deep channels, where their soft matrix has disintegrated and allowed the hardened substance to fall out in their rough state, as are seen on the beach. If the currents, running from the south to the north, prevail for some length of time, there will be an abundance of pebbles cast up. If the currents are to the opposite, then they disappear.

I shall try to describe those that are the most desirable to have polished, although it is exceedingly difficult to do so in every instance, on account of the many different kinds. The novice need not despair in finding pretty stones, although it takes years of experience to separate the best stones. Any one, by close observation, can tell whether __ is a pretty stone or not, and, what is more important, is whether it is fractured too much or crystallized too coarse or not. If the grains or crystals are too far apart and not of even texture, it is not susceptible of a good polish.

Now as to character and kinds that are found on this beach. While they are apparently numerous, they are nearly all related and come under one head, namely: Quartz, of the carbon silicon group: either vitreous, cryptocrystaline, or granular. Among the first named appears the clear crystal, sagenitic, or rutilated, enclosing hornblend, asbestos stibnite, and often containing water, being transparent. Under the second head comes the translucent chalcedony, or beach moonstone, of different colors. When white we call it moonstone: green, it is called chrysoprase, and a dark green, with red blood spots, it is called heliotrope or bloodstone.

In great variety of colors and combinations of colors come the agate-jaspers, with streaks of sardonyz running through them, and might be called the sacred jaspers on account of their biblical description.

All of those coming under the last named head are a very hard substance; a polished surface of these will stand the test of the hardest steel.

Opal is never found in the water and consequently is never found on the beach; it being a much softer substance you will not find it with the other pebbles.

It might not be out of the place here to state that fine specimens of an aluminum spar, the composition of Ceylon moonstone, is found here, but not so plentiful as the chalcedony variety.

Under the last named class of quartz that are found here are the following: Beckite, or coral changed to quartz; the conglomerates of different kinds; silicified wood, or jasperized wood; geyserites, tripolite, etc. Almost all known forms of quartz are found here and some forms that are not found elsewhere. The green porphyries and the serpentines are also included in the last named class.

Although the book names will not interest some, it is quite interesting to know them. Among them are just a few that are found at this beach, other than those already given: Cairngorm, ferriginous-sinter, cherts, flints, hornstone, rutile, epidote, prase, calcite, albite, gympsum, fluorite, menilite etc.

No one with the aid of book description alone can tell the different and the best stones as he sees them and get the best results in cutting – it requires the practical work of research and testing by cutting and polishing, and the more time you devote to it the more proficient you become.No one can hope in the short time of six months, a year, or two years, to know it all concerning the pretty stones that are found at this beach, that appear in kaleidoscopic changes of no two stones alike.

The “freak” stones, with peculiar combinations of colors, with peculiar associations and mineral enclosures, nature marks, taking different forms and figures of faces, birds, and animals, and very valuable, are among the very fascinating gems to be found at this beach.

No one can hope to give a full description of all the pretty gems that can be fonund [sic] here. On one will ever know or see all the distinct and pretty, valuable stones that can be found to add to your collection in your lifetime. Every trip made in search of them discloses new beauties, never before seen, and makes one wish to live a hundred years.

It is interesting to know that for a great number of people these pretty stones have a great attraction and is the magnet that draws them out of their thoughts of sorrow and care and places them on the road to health and happiness."

1907 Redondo Beach Directory:

“Rutter, Andrew K., proprietor Curio Shop, Catalina Avenue”
“Redondo Shell Store, A. K. Rutter, proprietor, Plunge Bldg.”

1907, "Noted Archaeologist A Resident of Redondo", Redondo Reflex, June 6, 1907

Note: this article is about Dr. F. M. Palmer, but it does mention A. K. Rutter.

[ Excerpt Transcribed ]

"At the time Catalina Avenue [ in Redondo Beach ] was being graded, numerous interesting objects were unearthed. A. K. Rutter secured many of these, among them various figures of animals carved out of stone and several beautifully wrought little boats of the same material. All this collection was purchased by Dr. Palmer and added to the museum"


1907, Palmer-Campbell and Rutter Collections at the Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles
Source: Archaeological Institute of America, SouthwestSociety, Third Bulletin, page 24

1911, Newspaper article, "Rare Redondo Beach Exhibit", Redondo Reflex, April 6, 1911

1906, Newspaper ad, Redondo Reflex, July 26, page 7

1908, Sanborn Map detail, Redondo, Plate 7

Rutter's shop "opposite the Santa Fe station on the beach front" - Note: "Shell Souvenirs", "Mfg. of Shell Souvenirs  Elec. Mot"