Albert C. Burrage House


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
Heritage Award 1988

Albert C. Burrage House
1205 West Crescent Avenue

This 28-room estate, situated on 22 acres, was built in 1901 for Albert Burrage, an easterner who made his fortune in copper end gas. The Mission-style house was the most expensive residence ever built in Redlands at the time — the cost of the brickwork alone was $60,000. At one point, no fewer then 18 horse-and-wagon teams were hauling cement, lumber, and pipe to the site. As many as 127 men at a time worked simultaneously on the house and grounds and it took four and a half months to complete. The versati1e company of Lynn & Lewis was the bui1der. Many of their houses can still be found in Redlands, from modest two-bedroom bungalows to the finest mansions.

The symmetrical stucco home is a full-scale copy of a Spanish mission. It was constructed in an “H” shape with mission-shaped dormers, curvilinear gables with 3-part-pilaster arched windows, and roof parapet. The hipped red-tile roof has wide overhanging eaves. Square brick piers support the covered entry way the full width of the front and the arcaded side wings. Albert Burrage loved porches, so he ordered his architects to include a nine-foot veranda on all sides of the home, with easy access from each room. The highest points of the structure ere the two prominent bell towers. A quatrefoi1 window has been placed in the east-facing gable. Other features of interest include the thirteen fireplaces, a Pompeiian reception hall with ltalian marble pillers, and a stained glass skylight.

The Burrage mansion in its infancy, and youth was one of the Ca1ifornia’s prized showplaces. Thousands of tourists viewed it from Sunset Drive as the elegant carriages emerged from the east exit of Smiley Heights. The Burrages who owned three other homes, including a palatial half-million dollar home in Boston, arrived to take possession of their home shortly after it was built. After six years, however. the Burrages left Red1ands, not returning unti1 19l6. That year they held a lavish “coming-home” party, covering the large enclosed swimming pool with boards to become a dance floor. Their visits thereafter were infrequent, and the house was sold in 1924. Mrs. Alice Burrage played a prominent role in Red1ands philanthropy, her most notable gift being the funds for the Trinity Episcopal Church building.

A number of owners followed, and the house fell into disrepair, finally being abandoned. Bishop John F. Noll bought the mansion in 1940 for $15,000, and presented it to the Sisters of the Order of Missionary Catechists of Our Blessed Lady of Victory. It was used by the sisters, who entitled it –“Queen of the Mission,” until Dr. Cyril Blaine of Palm Springs took ownership of the property in 1974, leasing it out for several years.

Jim and Sharon Jarrett Fishback, who purchased the property in 1987, took on the monumental task of restoring the mansion. With the help of old photographs and in depth historic research the Fishbacks began the restoration of the exterior to the original, including the removal of the stucco from the brick piers. The gardens are now returning to their former beauty as can be seen from Crescent Avenue as one looks up the 103 steps to the newly painted façade. The interior at this time is undergoing complete restoration.