2004 HERITAGE AWARD RECIPIENT
Redlands Area Historical Society
Frank B. & Mary J. Huffman Cottage
133 South Buena Vista Street
Frances A.L. Smith had this cottage built right after the death of her husband, Dr. William M. Smith. The street name at that time was Angelica and the tract was Angelica Villa. The street named changed around 1922. She owned the property until 1923. The rental history from 1903 to 1923 is not known except for 1910. Fayette M. La Grange and and George and Lorena La Grange were in the house that year. In 1923, Frank Benjamin Huffman and his wife Mary acquired the house. He owned Huffman and Percival Harness at 23-25 West Central.
This Victorian style cottage is only one and a half stories but has some distinctive features. On the north and south side are identical gable dormers. Each contains a double hung window surrounded by wood shingles. Seven cement steps with cement railings lead to the wooden porch which is supported by seven wooden columns. The porch railing is in stick fashion. The front windows have beautiful millwork underneath. A bay window is in the northwest corner and has a diamond shaped transom above.
It was interesting to follow Mr. Huffman’s business. He started by selling harnesses. In 1929 the city directory lists Huffman and Percival, auto top, manufacturers and trimmings, awnings, harness and horse goods at 25 Central. In 1939 the company manufactured auto tops. According to assessment records from San BernardinoCounty, 1955, she was listed as his wife.
Continuing to look at the house, to the south of the bay window is a square fixed window with decoration below. The house then recesses in and contains the two identical front doors. One faces south; the other, west. Above the door is a matching diamond transom like the bay window. Below the transom is an inset wood panel, then a glass pane. Under the glass is a shelf with dentals and four inset wood panels. The siding on the building is clapboard and clapboard covers the rock and cement foundation.
Frank Huffman died October 10, 1955. Information from Hillside Cemetery and his obituary in the RedlandsFacts states that he was born in Minnesota, February 12, 1867. Cause of death was heart related. He was a 62-year resident of Redlands when he died, and Trinity Episcopal officiated. Information on Mary or Carrie could not be found. The present owner, Elise Smiley, purchased the home from Roxanne Bonn in 1997. The home had been rental property and needed to be restored. Ms. Smiley retired from Home Depot as a home decorator and she put her knowledge to work. The kitchen was completely redone, two porches on the east side were enclosed and painting and wallpaper were added. There was no backyard or driveway, just dirt. Now there is a professional driveway and lovely backyard with trees and plants. Elise is no stranger to restoring houses. She used her talents to restore the “Cinderella House” at 324 West Olive Ave. She has lived in Redlands about 39 years, and the list of organizations she belongs to is very long. The Redlands Area Historical Society is pleased to give this award to Elise Smiley not only for her love of this house but for her love of the city of Redlands .
Researched and written by Karen J. Flippin.