Once part of the Spanish Mission lands, Redlands was incorporated in 1888 following an influx of wealthy easterners and mid westerners. Early settlers brought their cultures, traditions and treasures, adding to the City’s reputation as a cultural and educational community. Agriculture prospered with the navel orange and many citrus groves still surround Redlands today.
More than a hundred years ago the seed which became the city of Redlands was planted by two young Easterners who shared a dream of idyllic agricultural and residential community.
Redlands was the shared dream of Frank E. Brown, a civil engineer and Yale graduate, and E. G. Judson, a New York stock broker, who met in Southern California in late 1870′s.
Naming their Redlands colony for the color of the adobe soil, the two busily laid out a city, brought water from the mountains to the community, introduced the newly discovered Washington navel orange, and recruited settlers. It wasn’t before long before Redlands proudly proclaimed itself the Navel Orange Capital of the World.
One group of early settlers called itself the Chicago Colony and created what is now the downtown business district. They named the principal shopping street for State Street in Chicago.
In 1889, twins Alfred H. and Albert K. Smiley came to Redlands, and the town has changed forever. The Smiley brothers, well known educators and resort owners from New York, established a tradition of philanthropy with their donation of the A. K. Smiley public library and park in 1889. Two decades later, the Clarence G. Whites gave the prosellis at the Redlands Bowl, and the Robert Watchorns built the Lincoln Shrine next to the library. These and many others built a city that was known as the “Jewel of the Inland Empire.” Many of the jewels are still with us.
Copy courtesy Redlands Chamber Of Commerce