Harry H. Ford Home 2021


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.

The Harry H. Ford Home

127 Garden Hill Drive


Harry Ford was the younger brother of Isaac Ford. He was born in Philadelphia and attended local schools. He worked for the Reading Coal and Iron Co. resigning at the age of 21 to come west. Harry came to Redlands in April 1886 urged by his brother. He stayed for two weeks but then returned in September to purchase 225 acres in Redlands Heights. He worked with his brother surveying land in Redlands Heights for three years.

In 1887, Harry returned to Philadelphia and married Sallie Leeds. By 1897, the couple had three children.   In 1895, Harry Ford was hired as the bookkeeper of Union Bank. He was then promoted to assistant cashier and then director of the Redlands Heights Water Company. He then became president of the Union Bank when Curtis Wells and Karl Wells stepped aside for his leadership.

Harry Ford invested planting citrus on nearly 40 acres on Redlands Heights. He built a Victorian house in 1897 on the corner of Sunset and South Street that remained his home for 40 years.   His quarter mile driveway was named Ford Street. He called the ranch Edgewood.

Successful banking allowed Ford to buy lots in downtown Redlands. He planted 23,000 eucalyptus trees on his property and then built a winding road through the grove. Today we call the road Sunset. The eucalyptus growing in the canyons north of Sunset are descendants of his 23,000 trees. The 1913 Freeze left much of his citrus orchard leafless and the crop destroyed. 

For 18 years Ford was director of the Chamber of Commerce and very active on the Realty Board. In 1902, he joined George E. Atwood and created a subdivision at Fern and Cajon. Harry owned the Baker House and the Oxford Hotel at Redlands Blvd. and Orange Street.

Harry was president of the Redlands & Yucaipa Land Company, South Mountain Water Company, Redlands Heights Water Co., and a director for the Crafton Water Company. He invested in the Monte Vista Syndicate that owned the Burrage Mansion and homes on West Highland. He also owned property in Hollywood and Los Angeles. 

Harry had a new home built in 1932 that was listed as 1675 Garden Street, but the early directories indicate the new home was a half mile from his original residence. Ford Street at the time did not extend to Garden, but his new home prompted the city to name Ford Street just north of Garden.    

Harry Ford decided to build a Norman-English home in 1932 at 1675 Garden Street on two and half acres. The knoll-top residence was east of Garden Court and some distance from Garden Street. The farmhouse has a stately presence with nine Doric columns supporting a piazza extending the length of the home. A familiar farm residence front door marks the entrance.  Red bricks are used to build the steps onto the porch. The steep gable roof is decorated with three matched dormers. The concrete foundation of 26 x 84 feet supports a structure composed of concrete brick walls, four bedrooms, and a maid’s quarters upstairs reached by a spiral staircase. There are five fireplaces with the largest in the dining room. 

S. Y. Termain was the general contractor on the home. Shiplap siding covers the outside walls the entire first story. Steep gables can been seen from the backyard. The sun room faces the garden with glass French doors that later became a swimming pool in 1988. The back yard has a beautiful patio gazebo with fireplace. The U-shape of the home allows for a rear patio served by the kitchen addition. B. M. Lightfoot completed the interior-stucco and finish. 

Built with a two car garage, the garage has a doorway on each side recalling the previous entry from Garden Hill to the west and Garden Street from the south. Lot splits in 1979 left the home with only Garden Court or Garden Hill entry. The previous driveway that extended from Garden now graces three homes. The water meter remains on Garden Street some distance away. 

So when did the address change from 1675 Garden Street to 127 Garden Hill Drive? When Interstate 10 was constructed in 1961 Ford Street was named to extend to E. Citrus and Sunset.   The quarter mile drive into the Ford home was called Ford Street and in the 1960s extended all the way south to Garden Street. In 1932 anticipating the extension of Ford Street to Garden the Street sign obelisk on Garden was named Ford since Garden Hill did not exist. Garden Court ended in a dead end.   

Harry Ford only lived in the home a short period of time. By 1937 his son Harry Ford Jr., born in 1890, moved into the modern home. Ford like his father was prominent in the citrus business.  He farmed the 10 acres on Ford Street plus 20 acres on Colton and Dearborn. Ford served on the board of the Redlands Cooperative Fruit Association and the Mutual Orange Distributors that became Pure Gold. He was appointed to the Redlands City Council from August 1927 to April 1930. He graduated from Redlands High in 1909 and then the University of Redlands and Cornell University. He competed in the 1933 Olympics and won two championship plaques for trap-shooting.

Harry Ford Jr. was an active Mason, Elks club member, served as an officer in the US Army during WWI and later as Commander of American Legion Post 106, and was statewide skeet founder in 1919. 

Harry and Lucille sold the home to Everett Jan and Nienke G. Sjaardema in 1944. The couple came from the Netherlands. Everett was principal of the Jefferson Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary Schools in San Bernardino. Lucille was a member of the National League of Pen Women. She wrote articles for Sunshine Magazine, Telescope Messenger and the Light and Life Press. Nienke died in the home in 1953 at the age of 59. 

Everett sold the home in 1959 to Col. Lawrence and Margaret B. Thomas. The home became 127 Garden Hill in 1961. Col. Thomas was in the United States Air Force stationed at Norton Air Force Base. He retired and began Thomas Realty in 1967. The Thomas couple built the carport to the garage, remodeled the kitchen, completed a re-roof, installed new heating and air, improved the septic system, and split the parcel selling the lots along Garden Street in 1979. 

The home sold again to Paul and Elizabeth McClure in 1983. In 1987, Dr. George and Brenda Watkin built a kitchen addition with a new master bedroom and pool in 1988. George Watkin finished improvements with a solar heater in 1989. Watkin sold to Anthony Q. Boyd in 2001.  Caroline R. Boyd was added to the title in 2010. Anthony Boyd performed cosmetic dentistry.  

Greg and Gina Malachowski bought the home in 2014.They modernized the kitchen, converted the dining room to a parlor, created a nursery, and designed the garden backyard while renovating the pool. Completing a cemetery tour in 2019 Gina asked for help to research her 1932 home. The 1675 Garden Street address and 127 Garden Hill address promised a mystery worth exploring. Greg and Caston, Inc. is the subcontractor performing interior work on the Redlands Museum.  

Presented  27 September 2021

Research by – Tom Atchley & Gina Malachowski