John M. Cadwell Cottage 2021


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.

The John Milton & Caroline Hartzell Cadwell Cottage

1324 East Citrus Avenue

circa 1886

This one and a half story Victorian Cottage sits far back from Citrus Avenue and faces slightly North West. The roof is a medium bell cast hip of composition shingles. The house is of redwood with clapboard siding and a river rock foundation. Three dormers face east, west, and north. The cornices are boxed with a decorative trim running underneath, attached to the building’s surface.

 John Milton Cadwell was born December 15, 1866 in Utica, La Salle County, Illinois. The Redlands City Directory places John on Citrus Avenue in 1886 as a rancher. Being from Illinois he could have been part of the Chicago Colony. He married Caroline Hartzell in 1887. They had two sons, Herbert H. and Raymond A. Herbert who was born in 1901 and died August 3, 1911 at age 10. The Los Angeles Times reported Raymond died from complications from anesthesia from having a tonsillectomy. His funeral was in his home with the Rev. Frank Matthews of the First Baptist Church of Redlands officiating. Both John and Caroline were very active in the Baptist Church. In John’s obituary of January 3, 1932, it stated he was Sunday School Superintendent and Trustee and the Baptist 100 Year History Book said that he was a Moderator from 1926 – 29. He died suddenly of a heart ailment in his home. Caroline was on the History Commission. She died in 1962.

 The cottage has had many changes, starting in the front. Part of the porch was enclosed to make an enclosed entrance. Just two turned spindles and a small balustrade remain. The front door was replaced. Just east of this door is a large fixed window. A bedroom and bathroom were added in the attic. All dormer windows are new and open out. A large room was added to the east side and is covered with a flat roof. There is a three pane window with the center fixed and others open in. Across the south side is a large glass door that opens in with a large glass pane to the right. There are two interesting features to the south side, included a wooded flume that is connected to a cement cistern. Local historian Tom Atchley said this was used to collect irrigation water and was then pumped into a water tank in the attic. There is also an addition of an ice house made of brick probably because the basement was too small for a root cellar. The room is 8′ by 6′ with 18” walls. The south west portion of the home had an addition of a storage room that has been completely redone. There is a wooden door to the cellar, when open shows the river rock foundation. On the west side, two double hung windows face west. West of the house, the owners have built a new two care garage to match the architecture of the home.

 The Cadwells moved from 1118 Citrus to 1400 Citrus Avenue in 1909. Williams Powers, a rancher, and his wife Adeline were the next residents (1913), then the Powers and their son Walter and his wife Catherine (1914 – 1917). They owned the Nolder and Powers groceries and meats at 528 Orange Street. Next came Donald and Caroline Blair (1920-1941), a plumbing contractor followed by Alfred and Joanna Blair, orange grower and county peach inspector (1947 – 54). In 1956 Richard and Della Braga, of Grove Trucking and Contracting and later Braga Brothers Trucking, moved in followed by apartment owners Arch and Lucille Sellery (1965), then, Gilbert M. Girard III and Sharen L. Girard (1967), and in 1999, the present owners Kirk and Ellen Keeler.

 The Keelers wanted to move to Redlands from San Bernardino and buy a Victorian house in 1999. After much searching the Citrus house came on the market and they bought it right away. It took them 1 ½ years to clear the vegetation so you could see the house. They remodeled the upstairs bathroom and the downstairs bathroom. Downstairs, when removing the old shower enclosure they discovered a claw foot bathtub, which they kept. Another project was the ice house. It was filled with saw dust and shifting through it they found a 1906 five dollar gold piece. Unfortunately the only other find was a 1903 mouse trap. The ice house is now the pantry. Ellen Keeler is a retired letter carrier after 33 years and Kirk retired after 40 years in construction installing water and sewer pipes. They have five children and eight grandchildren. Their two dogs, Coco a chocolate lab and Pepper, a black lab, also enjoy the house and their own dog house that matches the cottage.

 Now that they are retired, the Keelers are content to put all their energy into the inside and outside of their cottage. The Redlands Area Historical Society wishes to thank them with this 2021 Heritage Award.

 Presented 27 September 2021

 Research by – Karen Flippin