October 31, 2002
City's Image Comes Hard
by Larry E. Burgess Ph.D.
Assembly Room, A. K. Smiley Public Library
Biography of the author, Larry E. Burgess Ph.D.
A graduate of the University of Redlands with a B.A. in history, Dr. Larry E. Burgess received his M.A. and Ph.D. in history at the Claremont Graduate University.
He served as founding Archivist and Head of Special Collections of the A. K. Smiley Public Library from 1972 to 1985. In that capacity he supervised the local and Southern California history collection and served as curator for the Library's sister institution, the
Lincoln Memorial Shrine, a museum dedicated to Lincoln and the Civil War. From May 2000 to November 2000, he served as Interim City Manager for the City of Redlands.
As the Library Director of the A.K. Smiley Public Library since 1986, Dr. Burgess gives between 50 and 60 programs a year on a variety of subjects relating to the history of Southern California, the West, and Lincoln and the Civil War.
Dr. Burgess serves on many regional boards and commissions. He was vice-chair of the California Historic Preservation Commission (1982-84); chair of the City of Redlands' U.S. Bicentennial Committee (196); the University of Redlands' 5th Anniversary Committee (1981-82); and the City of Redlands' Centennial celebration (1988). He is president of the Zamorano Club of Los Angeles, a rare book association, and is on the advisory board of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
Dr. Burgess is an adjunct professor in the graduate department of history at the University of California, Riverside and at the University of Redlands.
He is the author of many books including The Smileys: A Biography (1969,1993)
Mohonk: It's People and Spirit (1982,1993); The Hunt for Willie Boy (1994) co-authored
with James A. Sandos and named Outstanding Book on the subject of human rights in
North America by the Gustavus Myers Center For The Study of Human Rights in 1995; and
Willie Boy in Two Worlds: An Episode in Indian-White Relations co-authored with James
A. Sandos in True Stories From The American Past: Since 1865, edited by William Graebner
Dr. Burgess resides with his wife Charlotte, Dean of Students at the University of Redlands, in their 110 year old Victorian house in Redlands.
City's Image Comes Hard
For more than 30 years I have written about, discussed, alluded to, commented on, and talked about the spirit of community and peoples sense of place. During the last year it has been my intent to discuss the historical roots of the Redlands Spirit which is both touted and criticized, wondered at and envied, and which has become clothed in almost mythological proportion among locals.
Thanks to a Los Angeles Times column front page article on 25 November 2001 [see Appendix I] discussing the Inland Empire and its challenges and image, I became motivated to complete my historical analysis of Redlands Spirit.
Disturbed by the lack of historical analysis in the article, and especially by the Redlands critics quoted, I determined to seek intellectually a cease and desist to those practicing history without a license. At the time, the false analogies and the overall tenor of opinion about Redlands probably did more to cause public outrage among Redlands readers of the Times than it provided edification. The article certainly demonstrates that ignorance of the historical process and a failure to understand the context of place leads to incorrect analysis.
A Crucial part of a nations wealth lies in its people
Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations.
When economist/consultant John Husing calls Redlands a pariah and notes while its a nice place to live
it is terribly willing to maintain that at the expense of everybody else, he reflects a view stemming from appearance versus reality. In the same respect so does San Bernardino Mayor Judith Valles when she says Redlands is not only an anomaly, but an anachronism.
The ingredients of criticism for Redlands is inadvertently but concisely and professionally contained in the pages of the Spring 2002 Quarterly of the Historical Society of Southern California. Historians Preston Jones and Charles Palmer title their article, An Embattled City: Toward An Explanation of the Decline of San Bernardino, California.
While the focus of the article presents specific cause and effect analysis, some of their conclusions and those of others they site may well account for the dyspeptic view of San Bernardino toward Redlands. More telling is how the article demonstrates that decisions and efforts made in Redlands have kept it from entering the decline experienced by San Bernardino.
Jones and Palmer note that following World War II the City of San Bernardino became an increasingly unpleasant place to live. Over the years they relate how various factors led to San Bernardinos death of human characteristics that are essential to the production of what has come to be called human capital and social capital
wherein members care about each other and about the well being of the community as a whole.
Among the other factors cited in the article is a 1958 study that states a sense of civic pride and unity seemed to be one of the missing ingredients in the life of San Bernardino. In addition, a 1998 source includes, to a level not paralleled elsewhere in the state, the overall crime rate in San Bernardino indicated a relative dearth of trust, human sympathy and cooperation among its residents.
The authors conclude that a number of factors occurred over time which led to the notion that it almost seemed appropriate [italics mine] for residents not to care about the city.
Under this carapace I now begin the quest for understanding the historical origins of Redlands sense of place.
BEDROCK: Taking advantage of the natural setting
The transverse mountains running west to east trending south, the semi tropical climate, and the light not possessions of Redlands but available freely to all surrounding communities -- were taken to heart by Redlands founders. It runs as a connecting skein and as a concern for its stewardship throughout Redlands history. In the present day it is the loadstone to many of the local social-economic disputes.
The first commercial planting of orange trees by Col. William E. Tolles in 1874 in Lugonia, (now northern Redlands) accompanied an already burgeoning agricultural economy of wine grapes, peaches, and apricots, and oranges that were to be dried and marketed.
Frank Brown, 26 years old, with fellow New Haven settlers --Geo. A. Cook, A.H. Alverson, and a Mr. Booth came here in April 1877. They had first gone to Fresno, then San Francisco, and down the coast to Los Angeles. They headed eastward to Riverside and finally to Colton (a Southern Pacific stop). Having failed to find anything to their liking, observed pioneer author Eliza Crafts who had come to San Bernardino in the 1850s, Brown et.al. were delighted to find in this little way-off corner of the earth what they had in vain sought elsewhere, a veritable paradise, as it seemed to them."
"These early settlers, Crafts recalls like all pioneers, had many obstacles to overcome." They began to develop technology for fruit drying and marketing. Judson set out fruit trees and also began to implement his desire for adorning the semi-tropical land with trees and shrubs. His particular passion centered on the Palm tree. It is with Judson that the Redlands love affair with the palm begins.
The most inexperienced amateur can grow palms with little trouble and there seems no reason why hardy palms of varied kinds should not adorn the streets, avenues and homes of our city, he wrote in March of 1890. Former editor of the Redlands Daily Facts Frank E. Moore noted that while Judson and Brown founded the town, the Smileys gave it its soul. I would add that Judson, an avid amateur horticulturist, laid the bedrock of Redlands passion for trees and encouraged the Smileys efforts in horticultural and tree planting.
Drawing from the experience of Riverside, a colony founded in the 1870s (which early on advocated civic beautification through trees and which by 1907 had a fulltime tree warden), early Redlands pioneers from RiversideDr. William Craig (who created the name Lugonia for the area previously know as Sunnyside and presently simply called the northside) and Luther M. Holt, owner of the Riverside Press and Horticulturist newspaperadvocated the need for avenues to be adorned with trees. Redlands for a time advertised itself as A Second Riverside much to the dismay of the competitive Riversiders.
In April 1882 Redlands 100 foot-wide avenues were graded and planted with shade trees, as were the 60 foot-wide streets. Many of the avenues were planned for center row plantings of which only Brookside is the sole survivor of this plan (the idea having given way to tracks for the rail system). Judson and Brown accordingly encouraged tree planting by new settlers and they gave hundreds away.
Such an atmosphere of encouragement gives rise to vision. For example, John Sinclair, a Massachusetts man seeking to relocate to Redlands endorsed in 1887 (before Redlands incorporation) planting additional trees and creating a meandering Sylvan Blvd along the Zanja while the land is cheap. In the name of all generations to come, he advocated, I wish to thank you [Judson & Brown], and pray every effort possible to save every tree that can be saved. In a country of straight lines, what a relief to find such a road as your boulevard will furnish.
That idyllic road remains today Scipio Craigs (editor of the weekly Citrograph newspaper) nineteenth century unfinished dream. He had urged a linear park, bicycles, and walking path along the bubbling Zanja from downtown to its source at Mill Creek.
On the heels of this tree movement came the creation of the Redlands Horticultural Society in 1890, later joining with the Improvement Society which was begun by settlers from Chicago in 1887. Present at that founding meeting were Mayor Judson, Isaac Ford, whose recommended tree manual was used by the city and citizens for many years, and Albert K. Smiley who with his brother would become the most famous advocates for aesthetic, civic improvement, and cultural philanthropy in Redlands.
Frank E. Brown, with his Yankee perseverance determined to see for himself [if water could be brought to the Red Lands Colony]. He and E.G. Judson drove over the land in a buggy to test the question. For fear of ridicule Mr. Brown hid his instruments in the bottom of the wagon, remembered Eliza Crafts, On-lookers jeered and said: 'Guess that boy will find, if he is a graduate from Yale, he can't make water run up hill.'"
The privately incorporated Redlands Mutual Water Co. was the result. Still in business today, the City of Redlands owns 82% of the shares. This enabled a town site to be laid out, and lots of two and one half, five and ten acres platted.
In 1885 Brown would dazzle people by designing and overseeing construction of the dam at Bear Valley. The resulting reservoir guaranteed ample water for Redlands groves, and by 1890 the dam and its reservoir were considered one of the modern engineering wonders.
People Make the Difference Edith Parker Hinckley
Redlands, and Certain Old-Timers.
"It is no wonder that the community of Redlands is so widely known for its high moral tone when we find among her pioneers men of such fidelity to principle, observed L.A. Ingersoll in his 1904 Century Annals of San Bernardino County. He was impressed with the can do nature of the young community, then sixteen years old.
The quality of settlers was uppermost in the mind of I.N. Hoag, an Argonaut of '49 who was appointed Commissioner of Immigration for California in 1883 for the Southern and Central Pacific railroads. Having moved to the Redlands Colony in 1886, he visited Chicago to scout potential settlers. His persuasive argument in behalf of Redlands brought colonists who organized and settled the Chicago Colony and named its streets for their hometown: Dearborn, LaSalle, and Lincoln. Their leadership, business acumen, establishment of State Street, so named for the famous economic thoroughfare in Chicago, and their cultural impulses enkindled a kinetic energy still coursing through our community.
Add to this the coming of the Santa Fe Railroads Kite-Shaped Track bringing thousands of tourists to Redlands between 1893 and 1930 and you have another venue upon which the Redlands Spirit drew form, context and new blood. Tourism would play a big role in Redlands future. Wealthy residents played up to the crowds by building mansions and private parks to add to the image expected.
Women, unlike the trend in many other parts of the county, were not only active in business, running book stores, wallpaper and curio shops, stationery stores, boarding houses, and organizing a Womans Exchange, but they also agitated for the creation of groups and organizations to take on beautification, musical performances, library reading rooms, and outreach to the poor. Many of these women had independent means and used them to influence the cultural and social climate of Redlands.
They also formed the United Works for Public Improvement: Their first task was to create street signs in 1889 after Redlands incorporated. Churches received donations of land, money, and furnishings. For example, Alice (Mrs. A.C. Burrage) gave $20,000 for Trinity Episcopal, (the first church founded in the Redlands Colony before incorporation in 1888), in honor of her mother-in-law.
The YMCA was the first branch to have its own building in Southern California. It rivaled mighty Los Angeles. Its present power and influence were derived from its 1887origins. It continues to be a Redlands tradition worthy of support, even extending its management to the Ys in other communities.
The Board of Trade, the antecedents of todays Chamber of Commerce, entirely devoted itself to advancing Redlands through improvements to the town, whether by transportation, parks, civic events, and presidential visits. In its exhibition room visitors could view the famous products of our valley. "No city can boast of a more energetic and influential board than that of Redlands," declared an early twentieth century author.
The two men who exercised the greatest influence on the fortunes of our city were the Smiley Brothers. They exhorted Redlanders to construct buildings for libraries, arts, music, and natural science and to capture the scenic views from their homes and encouraged homeowners to adorn their grounds so that the beauty might be shared by all. Much of this advocacy became inculcated into the spirit of Redlands. As early as the turn of the twentieth century, writers cited people who exclaimed "What a privilege to live in a place where nature and art have combined to create such beauty."
The Smileys did not create "all this loveliness for their own selfish enjoyment, but gave the public library to enter in and enjoy." They also gave a downtown park. "It serves as a lesson of artistic beauty and in culture to the children," writes L.A. Ingersoll. Young people, as well as an ever-present object lesson in the generosity and public-spiritedness which marks our highest type of Americanism. It is a center of attraction for tourists and visitors and forms one of the many inducements that lead people of refinement and culture to pass their winters in Redlands and to make it their permanent home."
The far-sighted Library Trustees, in order to ensure the future of the collection and programs for the public, began the Librarys Endowment Fund in 1922. Because the importance of the work of the Library and its setting became meaningful to Redlands, the need for its private support became a component of the Redlands spirit. When recently the City Council allocated $750,000 of Lockeed settlement money for the Librarys $1.2 million exterior and roof restoration, it was only because of the long cultivated and deeply regarded spirit for the institution that let the Library Board succeed in the Councils challenge to raise $300,000 additional funds. Accomplished in only two and a half months, the successful campaign surprised no one who knew Redlands.
Redlands is essentially a city of homes. "The streets are bordered with native and exotic trees, and on every side the eye finds something to charm." At night, observed Ingersoll, as one looks down upon the city from the Heights, he could imagine its enchanted ground, sparkling with myriads of electric lights. All this transformation has been wrought since the survey of the town site in 1886--only twenty years. Does it not read like a fairy tale?" Such description of Spirit became infectious among Redlands later generations.
The need for money to fund causes benefiting the Redlands community is a constant theme in the history of Redlands. When Albert Smiley gave a library building and park to the community in 1898, he set a new tone for giving, unique in southern California. It remains a rare example for the present time: he borrowed the money to give his charity to the people. Those people critical of Redlands do not understand this important element as a creative template in the present-day milieu of the citys cultural and social philanthropy.
Attributed to Mayor Valles in the Los Angeles Times, Redlands is described by her as an anomaly. Anomaly means being something different. She goes on to say that Redlands is also an anachronism. One from a former age that is incongruous in the present, is presumably the intent of her employment of anachronism.
Smileys generous impulse could be seen as an anomaly because borrowing of funds for a public gift is certainly something different, but an anachronism? Never. The generous act, while occurring in a former age, is timeless.
Andrew Carnegie, in his March 1910 visit to the Smiley Public Library, captures the significance of his friends deed:
It indeed gives me pleasure to visit this magnificent library which is one not given by me, but especially when given by my friend, Mr. Smiley. Before giving libraries, I waited until I had this useless dross called money, because it is useless as money until it is put to some good use, and he did not wait. His love for the cause impelled him to give, and he actually borrowed money, I say, to build this magnificent structure.
The recently completed funding campaign by the YMCA has its roots in late eighteenth century Redlands philanthropy that predates the City of Redlands. In 1887 the Y was founded and soon had the largest building of its kind in southern California. In like manner, the recent successful $1 million campaign for construction of a new Family Service building and a bequest of nearly $l million more from a Redlands resident who grew up on Long Island and came to Redlands after World War II, understood the nature of the towns structure, believed in its causes, and took to her own the Family Service organization, demonstrates the spirit of philanthropy.
I know for a fact in conversations with the late Mary Rabe, that generous benefactor, she appreciated the essential elements which created Family Service and that they had remained unchanged over the years. The use of modern techniques and professional services evolved, but the original mission to aid disadvantaged people in the community remained the focus. Passing the hat was and still is a method of special need fund-raising. When Alfred Smiley, Family Services first president, passed the hat in 1898, it netted $37.00. In todays money thats almost $1,000. That spirit in great part motivated Ms. Rabes generous bequest.
That such good impulses are part of our fabric and are not as manifest in surrounding communities does not make it a fact that Redlands success means it is a non-player in addressing and supporting social and cultural causes in our valley, as suggested by critics in the Times article. Indeed, because of the inability of San Bernardino to sustain its YMCA, the Redlands Y at the turn-of-this-last century took on the added challenge of managing it in order to keep the important programs alive and functioning. All accomplished by private funding, something which those interviewed in the L.A. Times article seem unaware or, unable, or unwilling to recognize as part of Redlands historic origins.
In 1986 when Redlands citizens voted by a 78% majority to tax themselves for acquiring open space and land for recreational facilities, the Measure O funds established would enable nearly 300 acres of publicly owned citrus to be farmed, the oranges marketed, and profits returned to a fund for upkeep. Measure "O" also acquired land which is now being developed into a sports park.
This bond passed with an overwhelming mandate from the electorate and stems from origins of vision and commitment inherent in the sinew of Redlands nourished by four generations of residents. Nourish is the key word along with consistency that keeps programs and organizations operating in Redlands.
JENNY DAVIS PARK: An Example of Spirit
Never underestimate the power of a committed womans organization. The Contemporary Club, in order to honor their late member, Jenny Davis, a pioneer Redlander and cultural icon, determined in the late 1930s to create a park in her memory. The site was the City dump at the west entrance to Redlands via Redlands Blvd. During her life Davis had objected to the significant smell of the Glory Hole as it was called. Not to be deterred, the women of the Contemporary Club marshaled a campaign in 1937 which culminated in the parks creation in 1945.
There was much ridicule from City government quarters. The City Engineer complained, If those damned women had just waited a few years, it would have been full. As good an explanation as any as to why the park is below street level.
Todays Jenny Davis Park remains a monument to the spirit of achievement and determination.
PROSPECT PARK: Spirit Tested, Rent Asunder, Repaired
The fight to save Prospect Park began after the development of Smiley Heights Botanical Park into a housing tract in 1963. The context of saving Prospect Park is important. When the Smiley family constructed Caņon Crest Park, popularly known as Smiley Heights in 1890, it had an arrangement at the Citys request by which their private grounds (200 acres) would be open to the public in exchange for property tax exemption. Thus, their private residences in a park setting were available to be viewed at no charge to the public.
As a result, it became one of southern Californias most famous tourist attractions and created many hotels and supporting tourist industries in Redlands. When the Smileys were forced to close the park to the public in 1936, the result of the Depression and a cash-strapped City that rescinded the tax arrangement. It was always assumed that the fabulous botanical garden would ultimately become, somehow, publicly owned. In 1962 the last of such hopes were dashed when the 200 acres, 5,000 variety of trees and plants, and seven miles of roads were rejected by the City for a cost of $250,000. The sub-dividers die was cast in the words of Ralph P. Merritt, Jr., the City Manager, What would we do with it?
This may surprise the critics quoted in the pages of the Times, economist Husing and Mayor Valles. Redlands on that occasion did not rise to its Jewel status. Indeed, it committed a costly cultural and aesthetic blunder. A pure act of folly.
When a local group of prominent businessmen and a former Mayor of Redlands proposed turning the 60 acres of the one remaining private botanical Prospect Park (built by the England family of Philadelphia in 1896) into a mobile home retirement site in 1965, there was outrage in the community still smarting from the Caņon Crest debacle.
Once again the Crown Jewel City fumbled the ball when a Bond acquisition issue was defeated by a clever campaign tactic by would be park developers which pitted south Redlands against north Redlands. From the ashes emerged a triumph of three well-to-do civic-minded people Mary K. Shirk, an heir to the Kimberly-Clark paper fortune; Avis Meeker Sewell, an heir to a large Canadian banking fortune; and Helen G. Fisk, daughter of Redlands pioneer, John P. Fisk. They succeeded in creating a large citizens committee which spearheaded a public campaign with the important backing of the Redlands Daily Facts.
Helen Fisk, taking the lead from the Smiley twins example sent a letter out suggesting that she and other Redlands citizens should individually borrow money just as the Smileys had done for the Library in order to secure the park for all the people. Mrs. Elbert Shirk offered to give her home Kimberly Crest and its grounds to a private foundation for the people of Redlands if the movement succeeded. It did. The Redlands spirit had continued onto the second and third generations.
I will never forget a conversation in the early 1980s with the late City Manager John Mitchell, staring out the picture window of a luxury home in the former Smiley Heights park shaking his head and saying we really made a mistake on this one. In like manner, I also remember former Assistant City Manager Gary Brown saying to me in 1982 that the Redlands Mall, for which he was an advocate and implementer, was a huge mistake and that the La Posata Hotel at the very least should have been spared demolition. These are two examples of more nicks on the jewel of the Queen of the Inland Empire for those who think we are above reproach.
The current trend among malls, as closely documented in the media, involves the razing of many of them and the resurrection of the space into traditional downtown configurations. Pasadena has recently undergone this process. Redlands, sometimes quickly and other times grudgingly, recognizes its errors. A study of history reveals that the Redlands spirit of community seen as so dated by its critics remains a strong central driving force which continues to help to distinguish the towns soul. It is also the battleground which fuels the contest of wills over trees, open space, growth, types of development, civic projects, trails and educational support.
FREEWAY: A Divider Still Dividing
Redlanders in the mid-1950s were divided between pro and anti-freeway advocates regarding the path through Redlands middle. Once again civic harmony and pride was challenged after a fierce struggle, one which left many tender egos bruised right up to the death of the antagonists many years later. Ironically, the freeway is now employed frequently as a convenient political issue in declaring its divisive nature and suggesting unfair government allocations based on the geographical boundary it creates north and south.
This belies the origins of the geographical estrangement in the 1880s. Already the thriving Lugonia colony the area north of Redlands Blvd to the bench at Santa Ana Wash and between Dearborn and Texas streets boasted a post office, stores and thriving fruit drying and wine and table grape enterprises. When the Redlands Colony Lugonia began in 1881 south of Redlands Blvd., an immediate rivalry began. Upon incorporation of the City of Redlands in 1888 after a vote of 216 in favor and 63 against, the charges of discrimination against the Lugonia side never abated. Even though the site for the University of Redlands was a Lugonia site and the passage of the first bond act for a park, Sylvan, in 1908 created another Lugonia attraction, rivalry continued!
An inadvertent exacerbation came about in the latter 1950s when the police and fire departments for service purposes divided the city up and simply replaced Lugonia with Northside.
By the 1960s changing ethic and racial populations on the northside created new issues. Further separatism resulted when the freeway opened in August 1962. Ironically, Frank E. Moore, editor of the influential Redlands Daily Facts and whose efforts in support of the Redlands community spirit were legendary, proved to be the chief ally and proponent of the freeway route that split the town.
If there are any chinks in the wall of Redlands spirit, it is in the freeway as an issue of civic division both real and imagined.
THE MYTH OF STEWARDSHIP OF HISTORIC RESOURCES
There is a complex history behind the Redlands spirit and its love affair for historical structures. Candidly, less than 50% of the architecturally significant houses and business structures built between 1885 and 1915 in Redlands remain. Gone and forgotten describes the majority. Had the Times staff writer had the ink and the pages to analyze the Jewel, he easily could have found ample history to acknowledge the destruction by fire of Redlands first school, the Hale Academy but a decade ago; the fires that consumed the Hornby mansion and A.K. Smileys home; and the razing of the Casa Loma Hotel, as well as the homes of pioneers H.H. Ford, Henry Fisher, A. H. Smiley, C. C. Putnam, Jenny Davis, F. P. Morrison, and A. G. Hubbard. Other major homes on Cajon Street met the ax in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Add to this the existence of 32 packinghouses of yesteryear with only two still operating and a total of five left standing, and you have a context for the myth that all Redlanders hold their historic structures dear.
Many of Redlands most famous remaining structures are privately owned and are among the most notable in all of California, some in the entire West, and a few are treasures of the nation. This arrangement has dogged the Redlands spirit since its inception. All want the benefit of the historic ethos, especially local businesses, but so far only the owners pay the tab for maintenance. Increasingly, some owners refuse or are unable to support the landmarks which define Redlands. Others are in constant peril from demolition by neglect. The vagaries and financial reality of historic preservation have been at the fires center of Redlands City policy decisions for over three decades.
The end to the controversy of who will pay the tab for all this seems not in sight, but a recent series on the historic preservation issue in the Facts shows the breadth and depth of the issue, and of the more complex and sophisticated attitudes in place. Dealing with historys conspicuous presence in the form of its unique historic, commercial, and residential structures and streetscapes and their benefits to community rather than avoidance appear to be Redlands fourth generations challenge.
WATER The Spirit of Jealousy and Litigious Response
Frank Brown, creator of Big Bear Lake and a whole host of pioneers saw to it that Redlands had a secured water system. Everybody around today wants a piece of Redlands water pie, and it is the pie which only Redlands baked and derives sustenance from. When people cry foul by using the pages of the Los Angeles Times to imply we are selfish, it often is because of our water rights. Frank Browns answer to this historically inaccurate but politically convenient and popular canard is revealed in the pages of his correspondence in 1889. This passage is at the heart of the spirit of Redlands water policy and is as applicable today as yesteryear. He writes of the attempt of an outside investment group seeking to get control of the Bear Valley Mutual Water Company, along with the dam and lake at Big Bear in 1889. He notes that had they gotten control they would have worked it for all it was worth not caring one instance for Redlands.
It is always interesting to see representatives from outside of Redlands speak as if the carefully crafted past and present water policy is a gift that somehow came our way, ignoring the inconvenience of history that shows it to be a story of struggle, legal action, and vision.
THE UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS: The Cultural Leaven in the Loaf of Spirit
The obvious advantages of being a college town need not be discussed here in detail. A reminder of what the community derives is seen in access by the local schools to the Universitys playing fields, the community to its lectures and forums, its symphony, town and gown activities, its meeting rooms and facilities, as well as the commercial advantage of students, staff and faculty spending in town, the sylvan campus, the energy of its alumni in town, and the new blood added by students from near and far who after living in Redlands for four years suddenly decide they like the place and elect to stay. Moreover, it is arguably the most well known Redlands product world wide through its more than 60,000 alumni.
In 1906 the Reverend Dr. Jasper Newton Field decided Redlands was the best site for a new Baptist college. As chairman of the site selection committee he urged his parishioners at Redlands First Baptist Church to work in securing the college. He pointed out to church members that other denominations had already founded private colleges in southern California: USC, (Methodist); Pomona, (Congregationalist); LaVerne, (Church of the Brethren); Occidental, (Presbyterian); Whittier (Quaker); Chapman (Disciples of Christ); and Loyola (Roman Catholic).
To the Board of Trade he appealed to the pride and vanity of Redlanders, as well as to the practical advantages of having a college. He pointed out that while they had beautiful homes, a thriving citrus industry, tourism, presidential visits, and great natural beauty, the town was incomplete without a college. That appeal impelled citizens to find the land. Karl Wells agreed to chair the promotion committee and to donate the land and with it a substantial cash gift. His committee guaranteed to raise an additional $100,000.
From the community, a broad spectrum responded ranging from the businessman Philip Harris to citrus men Arthur Gregory and H.P.D Kingsbury, a Harvard alumnus.
That spirit of Town & Gown which created the University continues to enrich the relationship to the present time. A former mayor and USC alumna led the recent successful Memorial Chapel renovation campaign for $7 million with almost 40% of it coming from people in Redlands or through Redlands connections. When the new Hedco Science Center was dedicated in 2000, one of the buildings was donated by the sons of founding trustee Arthur Gregory and named for the Gregory family. This continues to demonstrate the spirit of commitment to higher education by three generations of Redlands citizens for their local university.
Conclusion: The Green-Eyed Monster Lives.
Around here Redlands is thought of as an absolute pariah, declared John Husing in the 25 November Los Angeles Times. Pariah, I thought, What does the economist mean? A dictionary helped to convince me of my doubts of the wisdom in employing the term: Pariah. 1: a member of a low caste of southern India and Burma. 2: outcast. Its a very nice place to live, Husing observed. And it is terribly willing to maintain that at the expense of everybody else.
A study of Redlands history indicates just the opposite. Just the draw of thousands of people from neighboring cities to the free summer Redlands Community Association concerts would cause one to scratch the head. The private and public funds committed to making this a town of organizations serving diverse interests, of endowing their future, of fighting and debating the nature of community aesthetics, and of inculcating future generations of the need for responsible citizenship in service club programs both with schools and in such diverse groups as Kimberly Juniors to the Redlands Northside Impact Committee, has drawn energy from within and not at the expense of similar impulses in nearby communities.
Indeed, Redlands may be the most over organized community in our area. I have often observed in jest that one might be a misanthrope and still involved in three organizations. Recently, community movements have inaugurated a plan for a new Redlands Museum and have established a new Redlands Community Foundation. These two initiatives come not at the beginning of a new century at the expense of everyone else, but actually somewhat late in the game. Rialto, Ontario, Colton have all had city museums longer than Redlands. And Riverside began its Community Foundation in the 1940s. The lesson here is that the spirit of community, burning bright from its original lighting in the 1880s, gives vent to new ideas or new concepts. Redlanders are willing to band together when the purpose and time seems right.
Let me return to San Bernardino Mayor Valles terms for describing Redlands in The Los Angeles Times. Anachronism: One from a former age that is incongruous in the present. I once again am not sure how historically this applies to Redlands? Redlands was founded with less than fifty people involved two centuries ago, and is now entering its third. There are at present 63,500 people. If it is the spirit of the people that is an anachronism then such logic transcends the reality of human continuity and tradition in Redlands and ignores its very origins of social and cultural life.
Anomaly? Something different, abnormal, peculiar, or not easily classified. Perhaps the Mayor of San Bernardino employed the right word to fit the occasion. In 1930 when Clarence and Florence White gave to the City of Redlands the Redlands Bowl Prosellis, Mr. White captured the essence of a Redlands continuing tradition which might just be an anomaly. He placed heavy emphasis on the difference of being a resident occupying space and a citizen engaged in the life and well being of the community. His words are worth repeating. The dedication table on this building reads:
A thank offering for all who have made Redlands a good place to live in.
We hope that each man, woman and child who has been impelled to do more for this community than he has been compelled to do will feel that he contributed to the building of this Prosellis.
Here White reminds us that Spirit and the success it breeds must come from within and not from tedious obligatory pressure from without.
No city lives by taxes alone. The nearer it comes to that condition, the more drab and monotonous its existence is.
Again he prefigured the importance of endowments to sustain institutions, both public and private. The endowments of the A.K. Smiley Public Library, Watchorn Lincoln Museum Association, Redlands Community Hospital, Redlands Community Music Association, Redlands Symphony Association, Redlands Community Foundation and other important agencies bear testimony to his wisdom.
Many of us take for granted the immense amount of free personal service that goes into making a town like Redlands.
The volunteers expected for AYSO, the Redlands Bowl programs, the Symphony concerts, the Redlands High School Football program, the docents at the Lincoln Memorial Shrine the San Bernardino County Museum headquartered in Redlands, Kimberly Crest, the historical preservation organizations, the associations, institutions, social, political, and cultural groups in addition to religious organizations adds up to tens of thousands of annual volunteer hours. All of these an example of Redlands spirit in which White cautioned against taking for granted.
If this building emphasizes such service to you, and the need for all to help keep Redlands at its best, Mrs. White and I will remember this occasion with full hearts.
What this building is good for is just what you and I make it good for.
By itself it is only an ornament. If we citizens give it a meaning, it is a challenge and maybe a responsibility.
We hope that such good citizens, if they have not received a full recognition of work well done, will free that here is recognition, co-operation, and perhaps some reward.
Before her death in August 2002, third generation philanthropist Louise Mosley Scott captured a 21st Century take on Redlands spirit and its use in creating community and preserving a sense of place Redlands is a special community for me. I was born here and have lived here
I have endeavored to serve those organizations and agencies which continue to make Redlands special. In many instances that service constituted a commitment of time. However, I also believe that financial help is vital.
Neither pariah nor anachronism, neither with secrets unknown nor without blemish, the Redlands spirit embodies practical and yet mystical quality that is best analyzed by looking at its deeds through time and not by characterizing it through the green eye of jealously.
A final footnote, economic consultant John Huising, reporting on warehouses and their future in Redlands to the October 1, 2002 afternoon session of the Redlands City Council he dropped an ironic bombshell which few listening may have pondered: he has moved to the pariah. He is now one of us. If you, I guess, cant beat-em, then joinem.