Clarence A. Watson/Alexis E. Home


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
Heritage Award 1983

Clarence A. Watson/Alexis E. Frye Home

1300 Prospect Drive

Also known as “Ridgecrest,” this large sprawling home was begun in the fall of 1905. Built by D.M. Donald, it is located on a ridge above the end of Ramona Drive. The building permit issued by the City of Redlands states that the home was to be located on “Mrs. Hill’s Private Drive,” which was not unusual since Mrs. Watson was Cornelia Hill’s daughter. When constructed, the estimated cost was $11,000.

Constructed of stone, wood, and brick, the residence was described in a 1905 Citrograph as one of the “homiest homes in the city. Hardwoods in profusion will be both unique in design and harmonious in furnishings.” Other features are the front and rear circular porches, balustrades, oval windows with keystone trim, and the wing structures.

The home was purchased, in 1911, by Alexis E. Frye, a noted geographer, educator, and attorney, whose published geography was used in schools worldwide. Mr. Frye served as superintendent of the San Bernardino County Schools from 1886 to 1899. At that time he joined the McKinley Administration in Washington to organize the schools in Cuba. The Fryes continued to live in the home until the 1940’s and then in 1947, a subsequent owner moved the east-wing servant quarters to 1216 West Olive Avenue. Dr. and Mrs. D. J. Rothenberger purchased the home in 1962 and present owners, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Cotton, purchased it in 1969.

The Redlands Area Historical Society is proud to honor this unique example of Redlands’ Heritage and to commend the stewardship of the present owners.