OF REDLANDS, CALIFORNIA  - Founded 24 January 1895



by Dr. Lawrence E. Nelson

4:00 P.M.January, 1974

Assembly Room, A. K. Smiley Public Library

Streets are tattletales, like children artlessly blurting out the household secrets of those who named them.

Since Redlands did not start at the center and spread outward as most cities do, but was formed by the caving in of half a dozen communities on the circumference to a lackluster center need mention only Terracina, Barton, Gladysta, Lugonia, Crafton and the Chicago Colony to make the point clear--Redlands street names are especially illuminating, though only some of the streets' are well illuminated.

Curiously enough, the central city is currently striving, so far without striking success, to keep from reverting to the original circumferential pattern, now clustering about shopping centers. What will be the results Quien sabe?

Nobody has ever quite known what to do with downtown Redlands. Take its main business thoroughfare.Why should it senselessly smash a citywide pattern of street naming? Go out to the north edge of town and come south: Pioneer Ave., Eureka Ave., San Bernardino Ave., Pennsylvania Ave., Delaware Ave., Lugonia Ave., Western Ave., Brockton Ave., Union Ave., Sun Ave., Colton Ave., Pearl Ave., High Ave., Stuart Ave., Oriental Eve., Central Ave., State St., Citrus Ave., Vine St., Olive Ave., Clark St., Fern Ave., Home Place, Cypress Ave., Clifton Place, Palm Ave., Highland Ave. With the exception of a few small, later streets, ALL the east-west thoroughfares are avenues, EXCEPT THE PRINCIPAL DOWNTOWN ONE Why this exception? town

And why should any town select as its principal business artery one that dead-ends in both directions? On the east it stops at the high school. Westward it wander Aimlessly, becomes the orphaned Citrus avenue and dead-ends.

Why such poor planning, the evil effects of which we are still suffering?

As a matter of fact there was originally no planning at all done for a downtown Redlands. Judson and Brown did not know they were starting a town; they thought they were selling ten acre orange groves. L. M. Holt, who guided them in their project and received forty acres east of Cajon from Cypress to Highland (including the present Plymouth Village) for his pains, reported, ''In this original platting of the Redlands settlement there was no provision made for a business center or town."

Judson himself confirmed this at the dedication of the A. K. Smiley Public Library in 1898, saying that orange groves were in their mind's eye. But they found that a water system costs money, so lots were laid out for a town.

But not at the present downtown site. Their original townsite was at the significantly named Center street and Cypress Avenue, now the site of Gerrard's Market. ''Why did they so swiftly shift from this more sightly site to a then and now less sightly site with the then open Zanja meandering messily through the downtown area?' They couldn't help themselves. Their hand was forced. They had sold at the east edge of their holdings a considerable acreage to the Chicago Colony whose members, "disgusted with the abominable climate!" and eager to find a place where the sun shone "at least one day in ten" had moved en masse to Redlands where with the well-known homesick perversity of expatriates they had assiduously named the streets of their beloved new home for the streets of their detested old home. So we still have in Redlands Chicago's Wabash Avenue, which rims the wrong way for avenues in Redlands, Chicago's La Salle Street, Dearborn Street, Lincoln Street, all of which accord. with directions of streets in Redlands.

Since Wabash Avenue divides Redlands from Crafton and Mentone, all of whose streets are either avenues or boulevards in every direction, perhaps 'Wabash Avenue is excusable. Not so State Street. The smooth-tongued Chicago lawyer, R. J.Waters, who headed the Chicago Colony, had persuaded Judson and Brown to sell to the colony, along with its 44O acres east of town, a non-descript fifteen acres extending two blocks north and three blocks west of the present Citrus and Orange, the present scene of.numberless roseate plans for redevelopment, which so far has been resistant to jel.This the Chicagoans immediately split lengthwise, giving their three-block long thoroughfare the name of Chicago's State Street, and selling to their colonists business lots at $35 for corner ones, $25 for the others. The Chicagoans had to make their new dead-end street their main. business street because then owned but one side of both adjoining streets. There was nothing for Judson and Brown to do but extend. State street east of Orange and sell business lots there at $200 each, though the east-west street violated their six years old naming system.

Orange street was left narrow and unbridged (except for a footpath on barrels to discourage trade with the competing Lugonia business center at Orange and Cotton, now occupied by Stater's Market and by the on-ramp of the freeway.

The streets and avenues of that area--Sun, Unions, Alta, Herald, Tribune, Post--fall into Place when one realizes that it was subdivided by two San Diego newspaper men, who named its streets and avenues for their favorite newspapers. Just east of Post are Oxford Drive and Lombard Drive, marking a piece of land given by Dr. Lombard to the University of Redlands and subdivided by two of its alumni.

Next comes Church street, so named because the first church building erected in Redlands was there, a fact attested by a substantial marker at which I shudder every: time I pass.

Historical markers should be read, not fallen overvalue need more of them in Redlands. ~ his one should be placed on the Terrace, but not in a pathway heavily traveled by children going to and from school and by bicyclists by day and at night. Moving it a few feet will make it safe; otherwise the city is in danger sooner or later of a suit for heavy damages, which it is quite likely to lose, and the church is in danger of unfavorable publicity. Why this highly desirable marker was placed in the most dangerous possible place is totally beyond my comprehension. Drive by and look. It should be relocated without delay. Next comes a series of streets with a collegiate flavor: Berkeley Drive, Occidental Drive, University Street, College Avenue, Campus Avenue and, newer and farther north, Harvard Court, Tulane Court, Colgate Place.

Where is Purdue Avenue? Its inhabitants objected to the prospective heavy truck traffic at the University of Redlands stadium when it was moved (the only football field in history moved to make way for a library) so that avenue starts at Occidental Drive, goes half a block east and stops half a block from the athletic field's parking lot.

Since I live on University Street my home is listed on the tax bills as in The University Tract, quite obviously in reference to the University of Redlands, directly across the street. But the obvious is not always the true explanation. This is glaringly evident from the fact that it was known as The University Tract long before the University of Redlands was born.

Dr. J. B. Stillman, for whom Stillman Avenue was named, had once been personal physician to Leland Stanford, from whom he had borrowed the money for his vineyards and winery. Thus ultimately the property reverted to Stanford University, which led to its being called The University Tract. Why then is there no Stanford street in The University Tract? There used to be. Isaac Ford told me he surveyed it, and if it still existed it would run from Colton Avenue straight through the University of Redlands Chapel. When the University of Redlands received the forty-acre quadrangle from K. C. WelIs, it made a deal with the city that the school would open University Street, which was earlier called East Street and ended at Colton Avenue, north to Brockton if the city would permit it to close Stanford Street. This left an accident-causing jog in University Street at Colton, wince the University property extended slightly west of East Street. To avoid this the street south of Colton was curved, placing a small triangle of Sylvan park on the campus side of the street. When the then University library,' now Larsen Hall, needed enlarging, a ticklish legal problem arose. Since the park had been authorized by a bond issue, no change could be made in its boundaries except by a vote of the people. This could be avoided if the addition extended no farther than the middle of the original street.. So one coming north past Sylvan Park has the illusion, as he climbs the slight hilltop a building standing in the middle of the street, an illusion founded on previous fact. Incidentally had the city kept the original name of East Street, merely changing the first "t" to a "y" the University would have been on Easy Street forever.

Which of these three statements is the correct one? There are three blocks between Colton and Brockton Avenues. There are four blocks between Colton and Brockton Avenues. There are five blocks between Colton and Brockton Avenues. All are correct. I live west of the U of R campus. The two intervening avenues are College and Campus. East of the campus the four intervening avenues are College, Clock and Campus. Still farther east the intervening ones are College, Cambridge, Clock and Campus. Obviously the spacious days of Redlands are passing, so far as uncrowded living is concerned.

Since we are now near the edge of Mentone, we may as well cross over and discuss the basic patterns of street naming there. When I remember the sand, stones and sagebrush scenery of Mentone at its beginning and then look at the names of its omnipresent avenues, I am inclined to rate it as the most glaringly mis-named town in the world, so far as I know. From north to south we chant the roll call of the famous resorts of Europe--Baden, Carlsbad, Capri, Brighton, Mentone, Naples, Florence, Nice.

Did the namer have a perverted sense of humor, or was he trying to sell lots by mail in the east and in Europe?

Rotate the map 90 degrees and gasp again-- Chrisolite [sic], Jasper, Opal, Turquoise, Tourmaline, Beryl, Olivine, Malachite, Agate. It sounds like the New Jerusalem come down to earth. If I lived in Mentone I wouldn't be able to sleep o' nights for the gleaming lights of glory ablaze all over the place, making street lights totally unnecessary. But hold everything. In the northeast corner, past Lockheed Propulsion, I spot a stubby street called Salerno Avenue. Salerno was the most famous medical school of the middle ages. Perhaps all Mentone meant to imply with its high-sounding European nomenclature was that it, too, was a good health resort. At least in the early days it had a spacious sanitarium, of which Junie Schultz' father was at one time in charge and in which Junie was born.

Philip Merlan, the scholarly refugee professor at the University of Redlands and later at Scripps, once remarked that when he came to Redlands he was amazed to find how religious the people were; they even had a patron saint for torn-up streets. Everywhere he went he saw signs set up honoring St. Closed. We shall now have to set up a Saint Closed sign and make a detour from Mentone to Redlands by way of Philadelphia. When William Penn first arrived in Philadelphia he found building going on apace and streets being named for the most prominent man dwelling thereon. This riled his Quaker risibilities, which frowned upon earthly honors paid to frail humans. He saw to it that Philadelphia was laid out with wide, right-angled streets, with houses set far back in the relatively large blocks, and the streets numbered in the Quaker calendar fashion, First Street, Second Street, etc. Cross streets he named for native trees. This proved so simple, so sensible, and removed so many causes of jealousy and dissension in street naming that it was adopted by about half the towns in the United States, including (with modifications), Redlands. (Downtown, Orange Street, already named by the earlier Lugonia, kept its name.) The Chicago Colony downtown strip cared for cross streets One to Four, now interrupted by the recently widened Eureka. Judson and Brown continued street numbering to Eleventh.

Since their orange groves depended upon gravity flow of irrigation water their other streets angled from the cardinal points of the compass, but were named in one direction for the trees which were planted in the center. Thus came Olive, Fern, Cypress and Palm, giving rise to a continuing fondness for such nomenclature--Almond, Arbor, Ash, Banyan, Birch, Carob, Cedar, Chapparal, Chestnut, Citrus, Elder, Elm, Eucalyptus, Evergreen, Greenwood, Grove, Hemlock, Holly, Juniper, Laurel, Lemon, Lime, Los Robles, Magnolia, Myrtle, Oak, Orchard, Palmetto, Palmbrook, Parkwood, Pepper. Pine, Toyon, Walnut and Westwood.

As orange groves were cut up and subdivided, every one did that which was right in his own eyes, resulting in an agglomerative mess, making it impossible for anyone to find anywhere without explicit verbal directions or a map and index. For example, adjoining Lucky's shopping center on the west is Hibiscus Drive, from which sprout Lilac Court, Orchid Court, Primrose Avenue, Gardenia Avenue, Lotus Avenue and Phlox Avenue. Immediately west of this seemingly florist's subdivision I find Brewster Way, Carver Drive, Alden Road, Salem Drive and Standish Way--Plymouth Village, thoroughly interdenominational, though streetwise it mis-labels itself as as rigidly Congregational..

As westward the course of street naming takes its undisciplined way, one stumbles into the lawless domain of Robin Hood and his merry outlaws. In my next incarnation I shall probably opt to be Billy the Kid and have my hideout on Robinhood Lane, Sherwood Street, Greenwood, Nottingham Drive, Friar lane or King's Way. Perhaps I'd better start practicing archery now in order to develop a quick draw.

Where helter skelter street naming prevails the public suffers. For example, how many of you can tell me where Orange Avenue is? The City map shows it but the index doesn't, presumably because as it crosses the incorporation line it becomes Pine Avenue. And what are the chances of a stranger seeking it being directed to Orange Street instead. And can anything sound sillier to a stranger than East Western Avenue. .Linda Place is perhaps two miles from Linda Vista Avenue.

Governor Reagan has reluctantly decided to keep Patton open to accommodate visitors to Redlands who have tried to find addresses on Sunset Drive. "Just follow the tourist signs" they are glibly told. So they locate Terracina, and then the fun begins. Terracina to Cypress, Cypress to Sunnyside, Sunnyside to Smiley Heights, Smiley Heights to Serpentine---is some one giving us the runaround? Let's turn back and start over. No, let's go home. No, they're expecting us, let's go on.

Ah, here it is at last! What's this, West Sunset Drive--we wanted Sunset Drive. Well, we can't get off without falling into the canyon or getting hopelessly lost, as lost as the people who put up these signs probably were.

My God!-Now we're on East Sunset Drive South. Don't these people know their directions? Since when did the sun start setting in the east? Where is Sunset Drive?. Just plain old Sunset Drive that I've heard about all my life.

Do you see what I see? East Sunset Drive North, and I know I haven't turned the car around.

Patton, here we come, the whole family. WHO MOVED SUNSET DRIVE?

Of course the most interesting streets in Redlands are those that never were built. They were truly magnificent. The only trouble with them was that they newer were built, and now never can be built.

One of these was the proposed parkway alongside the Sankey. Extending from far east of Mentone and Crafton and ending in a small park west of Church street. Tree-shaded, wide and winding in leisurely fashion alongside the pellucid waters of the purling stream, it would become one of the most famous scenic drives in all Southern California, rivaling even world famous Canyon Crest Park, vulgarly known as Smiley Heights in its esthetic appeal. And now! And now, Canyon Crest Park is gone and the Sankey., by its course having forced Freeway 10 to go through town on elevated overpasses instead of the normal underpasses, has become a clogged, unsightly and dangerous liability which, if I may be permitted the shadow of a pun, we are desperately trying to ditch.

Sic transit Gloria. So vanishes the world's glory.

The Smileys as a family are perhaps the greatest dreamers of dreams our town has ever had. The Smiley twins were sixty-one years old when they took up winter residence in Redlands, a hamlet so small that a year earlier it had managed to muster only 284 voters. Here they energetically created Canyon Crest Park, which others, not they, called Smiley Heights, and generously threw it open to all the world. And all the world cam, in droves and trainloads.

Soon the Philadelphia Bulletin] was printing a sermon on the Kingdom of Heaven!: "Earth may be squalor and filth of Constantinople, heaven will be like Redlands, California, awake with palms, heavy with fragrance of orange groves or the flowers of Smiley heights."

Whether if the city officials of Redlands had been more far-sighted, or the run of the mill citizens and philanthropists had been more sacrificial during the belt-tightening days of the Great Depression, Smiley Heights could have been saved I do not pretend to know, but I do know that its loss has been a lasting and grievous one. And I do know that of all the many dreams the Smileys had for Redlands and its environs only this library in which we are so comfortably seated has flourished. I believe Fredalba on the City Creek road still exists, but I do not hear much about it. Across San Timoteo Canyon, Tremont Park, which they laid out for public use and to which they built four miles of access road, has, I believe, dwindled to a camp-out spot for a boys' organization. And the "Trail of the Orange Groves," of which Alfred died dreaming? never got off the ground, or, more properly speaking' never got on to the ground. This was to run along the mountains, always at least five hundred feet above the valley, from Redlands to Los Angeles. A hundred feet wide, tree bordered, sprinkled in summer, it was to be the Most Noted Drive in the World.

But back to Smiled Heights-- most of us who remember it in its beauty have no idea of the scope of its creators' hopes. We remember the triangle on Cajon Street, the reputed scene of the first painted lane-lines in all America, as well as the site of Redlands' traditional Christmas caroling, recently re-affirmed to the telephone company. Sic transit fama. So passes the past.

Some of us may also remember the roadway, now green and grassed, which curved across the present city hall lawn, joined the drive in front of this library, wound across where the seats now face the Prosellis, and meanders on to Olive.

It was the hope of the Smileys to extend this winding parkway until it reached Smiley Heights. After Alfred's death in 1903, Albert bought his brother's share of the heights, bought 425 more acres extending down the hillside to the Southern Pacific Line in the canyon, planted 16,000 trees the first year, developed winding drives with an overpass across Alessandro Road, and ultimately had eleven miles of drives in his enlarging Park." Today only a few half dead Eucalypti remain, and one has to drive slowly and peer closely to find the approach to Alessandro's long vanished overpass.

What Wrecked the high-minded, public spirited plans of these generous men? Speed. They resisted automobiles in Prospect Park as long as they could' not because they hated automobiles, but because speed made it impossible for the drivers to see the scenery or to peer at the rare plants, and also distracted and endangered pedestrians intent on these things. The trees in San Timoteo Canyon were to give travel-worn transcontinental travelers entering Southern California from the desert on non-air-conditioned trains a cooling sense of beauty, but the speed of airplanes killed passenger trains with their hordes of tourists taking horse-drawn tours through Smiley Heights.

The Smileys had surveyed Sunset Drive too with an eye on maximal views from horse drawn vehicles, not with a view on real estate developments and high speed cars on narrow roads and sharp curves.

It was a valid ideal for its day. I Remember standing with Max Hentschke looking across what is now Highway 10 at the Crafton Hills, and hearing him advocate eloquently the extension of the drive over those scenic hilltops also. It was a tempting thought, and even later went so far as to give birth to the long dead-ended Wabash overpass,

A concomitant of speed and its spawn is smog. It has been years since I have heard a Sunset Drive realtor or resident pop his vest buttons over the once magic "million dollar view." It's still there, if only one could see it. Maybe it will come back when we have exhausted our present types of fuel.

There are other highways than those of concrete and blacktop. In presenting this library Mr. Smiley said: "I have great confidence in the future of Redlands. I believe that at no distant day some of our generous citizens will found a museum of natural history, an art museum, conservatory of Music, and also lift the debt of the Y.M.C.A.."

Essentially, though in ways he did not envision, most of these roads have at least been opened. The county museum is being readied. The Peppers Art Gallery, the use of this room, and quarters nearby, are at least a beginning in the field of art, the Community Music Association and the strong school of music at the University of Redlands are sources of community strength.

I do not know whether the Y.M.C.A. is out of debt, but it and other community organizations seem to be thriving. It seems to me, however, that there is one most enticing road which we have not opened up, and which is virtually screaming for attention at the present moment, with apparently nobody listening.

Currently, I am told, the trustees of this library are seeking a focal point round which to rally community support for a much needed new wing. At the same time, I'm told, the bicentennial committee is seeking a local focal point for its patriotic observance in 1976. Nineteen years from now comes the 500th anniversary of the Landing of Columbus, for which a hundred years ago the United States issued its first commemorative set of postage stamps and dismissed all the schools of the nation for patriotic exercises, including the initial recitation of the pledge of allegiance to the flags It would have been as planned a one-time observance. had not a Redlands schoolteacher, felt otherwise, rescued the pledge of Allegiance from oblivion,

I propose that the A. K. Smiley Library Board, the Friends of the Library, and as many other civic; and community bodies as possible start plans for a Mary Fackler Shrine of the Flag wing or building upon these grounds; that they seek from the University of Redlands either the gift or the permanent loan of the Mary Fackler flag which General Lawton secured from Washington for use of her first graders at Kingsbury School, with the case Mary made for it, and her copy of the original program with her annotations, And Mrs. Lawton's letter telling of its use by General Breckenridge with the children of the Sons and Daughters..of the American Revolution, while in; convention in Washington. D..C., which resulted in its spread nation wide.

No other community in America can duplicate these treasures, so timely just now, and so appealing to the classroom teachers of America, The D.A.R, the S.A.R.O, the Pentagons Freedoms Foundation, Congress, etc..

It should be relatively easy, if started now, to get a Mary Fackler stamp in '92 or earlier, Suggesting the salute to the flag to the Rose Bowl for 1976 theme would be in order, and would doubtless result in a. Mary Fackler float.. It would give Redlands authors inside track on a stream of articles in magazines, and attract television coverage.

And after 1992, what a quadrangle-- the A. E.. Smiley Library, the Lincoln Shrine, The Prosellis programs, the Mary Fackler Shrine of the Flag--with the Contemporary Club at hand.

All it takes is determined leadership, starting now, and widespread assistance to open a wide avenue of patriotism converging on Redlands.

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