STREETS IN REDLANDS
by Dr. Lawrence E. Nelson
4:00 P.M.January, 1974
Assembly Room, A. K. Smiley
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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