Traveling through Redlands, California, can be like a blast from the past with vintage homes watching over peaceful streets lined with palm trees. Located in the shadows of Mt. San Gorgonio in southeastern San Bernardino County, Redlands covers 37 square miles and is home to more than 70,000 residents.
It was founded by two wealthy Connecticut men in 1881 who established it as the Redlands Colony. They named the community Redlands for the reddish iron-rich soil in the area. But it was the arrival of twin brothers Alfred and Albert Smiley in 1889 that put Redlands on the map.
The brothers brought in resident’s who valued culture, education, and aesthetics.
The love of the arts and education continues today with more than 2000 students attending the private University of Redlands.
This is a town that celebrates its history with a charming historic downtown area that still manages to be the center of the community along with perfectly preserved buildings including the Smiley Library and the Kimberly Crest Mansion. It’s that honoring of the past that gives Redlands its heart.
A big part of that past was also agriculture, specifically the navel orange. In fact, the crops were so good at one time that Redlands was considered the country’s only agricultural boomtown.
While Redlands reveres its past, it’s also proud of its well known present-day residents like pro golfer Dave Stockton, World Cup soccer player Landon Donovan and dance champion Benji Schwimmer. And past residents like folk singer Joan Baez and magician Harry Blackstone Jr. It’s also home to ESRI, the worlds leading satellite mapping software company which is also the city’s largest employer.
If you would like to experience the small-town atmosphere that Redlands has to offer, make plans to check out the free summer concert series featuring everything from opera to Celtic music, to the Redlands symphony. Whatever you plan to do in this quaint city, Redlands manages to take you back to a simpler time.