Cope Commercial Building


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
Heritage Award 1985

Cope Commercial Building
19 East Citrus

The building permit is dated July 29,1903, signed by Lewis, Lynn Company, as builders and contractors; Mr. Osburn was the architect; Bill Veach and Norwood were the owners; the cost was $8,919.00. Built of brick and wood, with both plumbing and electrical wiring specified in the permit, this 80 x 118 square foot building, two stories high, was to house, in 1904, the Goodrich Home Furnishings Store. Their sign on the roof had letters five feet high, to be seen allover Redlands. Second floor tenants included Messrs. Veach and Norwood who made home loans. Later these gentlemen were to be among the founders of Redlands Federal.

Its most famous occupant has given the building its name. In 1899 E. M. Cope established a farm equipment business at Orange and the Santa Fe tracks. Burned out in 1920 he moved, for a short while, to East Central and then, needing more space, in 1923 he bought, from the Prendergast estate, 19 E. Citrus. By now the structure had become famous for its two elevators. One was raised hydraulically and the new owner discovered that each morning, due to the increased water pressure at night, the floor of the elevator had risen 10-15 feet. Mr. Cope played an important civic role in Redlands. In 1927 he donated the land for the present Redlands Community Hospital. Cope Jr. High School is named for him.

The building was to have other uses. In 1940 it housed the J. C. Penney Company while their building was being completed. During World War II it was the headquarters of the American Red Cross. From 1949 to 1973 it was the location of the Imperial Hardware Company.

The present owner, Mr. Dwight Yeoman, has restored the building to its former style. Even with changing building codes and available construction it looks much as it did originally. The front roof parapets were not replaceable but the handsome metal ceilings were restored and grace the foyer and second floor. The building now houses a series of shops on the first floor with offices above. For a thrilling view of old Redlands walk down the alley in back of the building and see, in detail, the original structure.

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