Archie Hanson dies at 90
Archie Hanson: April 24, 1926- Dec. 14, 2016
Archie Hanson was born April 24, 1926 and raised in Beverly Hills and Rolling Hills, California. He graduated from Beverly Hills High School and started at the University of Colorado before entering the U.S. Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet in 1944. After almost two years in the Army, he was honorably discharged, returned to California, and entered the University of California at Los Angeles, but soon thereafter left to work for a gold mining enterprise in Candle, Alaska, located on the Arctic Circle, 200 miles above Nome.
After working in Alaska for two years, he returned to California, got married, and started a career as a building contractor. His father soon contacted him to help develop the community of Hidden Hills, California. Archie’s initial role at Hidden Hills was to build its infrastructure, including roads, utilities, and house sites. He and his family moved into the historic Leonis Adobe nearby and then into a house on the corner of Long Valley and Spring Valley roads in Hidden Hills. His four children, Elexis (Lex), Victoria (Tori), Lisa, and Leila lived at Hidden Hills until Archie moved to Paso Robles, California, in 1961. While in Paso Robles, he focused on land development design, emphasizing and honoring the natural landscape. Over the next 40 years he subdivided some 35,000 acres in numerous developments, culminating in 1989 with the purchase of 1200 acres in Cortez, Colorado, near Mesa Verde National Park.
In Paso Robles Archie married Mary Mitchell, who had three children, Diane, Dawn, and Darren. Archie and Mary raised all seven children together. Mary has been Archie’s partner in the real estate business as well as his wife and homemaker for 53 years. She is a trained soprano and was very active in theater and opera in San Luis Obispo, California. She was the mainstay of his life. They lived at Hidden Valley Ranch in Templeton, California, which Archie developed, until they moved to Cortez in 1989.
While busy with land development in the Paso Robles area, Archie also started Templeton Carriage Works, building and restoring horse-drawn carriages and buggies. He also restored many of the historic buildings on Main Street in Templeton to their previous splendor and brought the town back to life.
The Cortez property, Indian Camp Ranch, was his final development, and contains over 210 Anasazi (Ancestral Puebloan) sites, the highest recorded site density in the State of Colorado. To protect these sites, which are over 800 years old, Archie created the first archaeological subdivision in the United States. Indian Camp Ranch has been featured in many major newspapers, magazines, and other media, including National Geographic, Archaeology, Smithsonian, the History Channel, and the Travel Channel. Indian Camp Ranch is recorded on the National Register of Historic Places.
Archie has always been interested in aviation, and while living in Hidden Hills owned, among others, an amphibian seaplane, an aerobatic Citabria, an Army L-13 and a North American T-28 that was used as a fighter aircraft by the French. His real preference was to fly helicopters, and he later owned a Hughes 269-A and a turbine powered Hughes 500-C when he moved to Paso Robles.
Over a 35-year period, he accumulated over 8,000 hours of flight time. He had many occasions to use his helicopters for public service and in search and rescue operations, flying as a Deputy Sheriff for San Luis Obispo County, California for more than 17 years.
Among his many skills, Archie was an engraver, silversmith, welder, hunter, and world traveler. He was vitally involved in land development, building construction, and creative work throughout his life. He published four books on various aspects of his life adventures. He was a “pied piper” to children and adults, and mentor to many. He will be sorely missed by family and friends.