John M. McIntosh Home


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
Heritage Award 1989

John M. McIntosh Home
504 West Fern Avenue

The original building permit for the structure at the northwest corner of Buena Vista Street and Fern Avenue, dated June 17,1903, shows a D. M. Donald house built at a cost of $5,000, for John M. McIntosh, who had a carriage and wagon business here in Redlands. Mr. McIntosh, his wife, Harriet, and their children lived in the home until 1910.

John M. McIntosh

The 2 1/2-story Classical Box style home has wood-shingle siding on the upper story and horizontal clapboard on the lower story with approximately 3600 square feet of living space. It has an attached porte-cochere on the northwest street side of the house. The medium hipped-roof has a large front gablet dormer with two windows and two brick chimneys.

The second story has a center front recessed porch with a small balcony of spindle work railing, enclosing a door and two windows. It has molded-arch trim across the top and square columns on each side. East of the porch is similar projecting spindle railing under the upper windows. On the west side is a bay window with leaded-transom panes. There are deck porches on each side of the second floor: one above the porte-cochere and a large extended deck on the east side.

The Ionic columns on square-paneled piers highlight the front porch entry, corresponding with the upper balcony. There are two egg-shaped design leaded-glass sidelights. There is a foundation with decorative lattice, enclosing steps from the west side porch to the porte-cochere.

The original wood clapboard and shingle carriage house on the west side is now used as a garage. An interesting interior feature of the house is the carved design of the newel post on the stairs, similar in design to the one at the A. K. Smiley Public Library on the stairway, leading to the tower room.

Other early well-known business families in Redlands also occupied this house. Neil Duncan and his wife, co-owners of the Redlands Shoe Parlor on State Street lived there until 1912. Herbert W. Gowland, partner in Gowland Brothers Sporting Goods on 5th Street resided there with his family, beginning in 1919, and John Costelle, who had a furniture store on Orange Street resided here for approximately eight years until 1931.

Other owners were: Sidney H. Burchell, listed as an author and his wife, Florence J. from 1914 to 1917; Philip J. Keyser and his wife, Helen are listed in the city directory from 1947 to 1958; Oliver and Hazel Strandberg also resided in the house from 1961 to 1967.

The present owners, Anne and Allen Brett, purchased the home from the Strandbergs in 1967 and have lived there for the past twenty-two years, raising their family. The Bretts have restored the house and grounds to its traditional look and retained its beauty by careful attention to the details of this vintage home.

The Bretts are to be commended for their diligent time and effort, done with an obvious love for its past history, preserving one of Redlands’ historic resources.

Research by Doris Gentry.