Daniel M. Donald Home


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
Heritage Award 1987

Daniel M. Donald Home
1201 Brookside Avenue

The Donald Home, located at the corner of Brookside and San Mateo Avenues, has been a prominent landmark in Redlands since its completion in 1892. The unusually designed structure was the family residence of Daniel M. Donald and his wife, Mary McKee. Three generations of Donalds, Daniel M., Davis, and Jim, occupied the family home until the early 1940s.

Daniel M. Donald

The Citrograph reported the purchase of the property at Brookside and San Mateo by the Donald family in 1890, soon after their arrival. Construction of the house did not begin until 1891, with its completion in 1892. The cost was reported at $1,000. The finest of materials and craftsmanship was incorporated into this one-story, redwood, rectangular domed structure. From the front the house appears to be more than one story with the three tiers of balustrade railing at the porch level, the porch roof level, and parapet. The roof line reflects the shape of the base of the dome, which was removed in 1908 by Daniel Donald to make a bedroom for his grandson, Gordon, in the attic area of the house. There are projected eaves with a boxed cornice and rose vine filigree. The front entrance has a two-panel door with glass side panels. It has a Roman doric balconied portico and a verandah, which extends around the left side of the structure. There is a cutstone porch that extends to the right of the front entrance to give balance to the architectural appearance. Because of its shape and appearance, the house has often been referred to as “the wedding cake house.” This has been perpetuated by the associated legend that Daniel built this home for his wife, Mary, as an anniversary gift.


In 1940 Jim and Clara Donald moved out of the house. From that year on the property deteriorated and fell into disrepair, a condition that would continue for almost thirty years. It was not until 1970 that the Russ Wilmots bought the property and began the task of restoring it for ten years. During the next six years the house, again, was unused until 1986, when Paul and Liz McClure bought the Donald Home and continued to restore the house and grounds to their former grandeur. The structure is no longer used as a residence, but for offices and a studio for Liz, who owns a stained glass business. The balustrade railing was replaced and it is still hoped that the dome can be restored, bringing the structure back to its 1892 condition. This property is an excellent example of an adaptive re-use, maintaining the historic integrity of the structure and surrounding landscape.

The McClures are to be commended for their efforts in the restoration and maintenance of this historic property.