D. L. Rike – Robert Watchorn House


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
Heritage Award 1978

D. L. Rike – Robert Watchorn House
404 West Highland Avenue

This two-story, 6,000 square-foot home was built in 1902 by the D. L. Rike family. When the elder Rike died, Susanee Rike MacDonald, author of two books, and her husband, Everett, one of Redlands first ear, nose and throat physicians, lived there until the home was purchased by Robert Watchorn in 1919.

A native of England, Robert Watchorn worked in the Pennsylvania coal mines, as an immigrant educated himself at night school, became an executive in the United Mine Workers Union, and then became Chief Commissioner of Immigration at Ellis Island. He was also, for a time, Treasurer of the Union Oil Company. Much of his wealth came from Oklahoma oil investments. Watchorn and his foundation gave more than three-million dollars to projects in England and the United States, including the Watchorn Hall of Music at the University of Redlands and the Lincoln Memorial Shrine.

The house has five bedrooms, two offices, six bathrooms upstairs and 2 ½ baths downstairs, a room-sized entry hall, a living room, a dining room capable of seating fifty diners, a recreational room, a kitchen, three pantries, a laundry and sewing room. A maid’s bell system connected to ten rooms is still on the wall. Mr. Watchorn occupied the home until he died in 1944. Colonel and Mrs. F. J. Moran lived in the home from 1950 to 1973. Mr. and Mrs. Laurence Wormser and family have occupied the home since August 1973.