Mrs. Mary Newton Keith Residence


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
2014 Heritage Award

Mrs. Mary Newton Keith Residence
930 Campus Avenue, Redlands

In response to the evolvement of the University of Redlands, it was found housing was needed for faculty, support staff, and some students. The University Tract was born in 1912, and dubbed a clinker brick subdivision, evidenced by the large decorative columns of red brick and river rock stone monuments marking the main entrances to the development.

The street names chosen have college references, Berkeley Dr., Campus Ave., Occidental Dr., College Ave., and University St., keeping with the theme of the tract. The tree planting was in the evergreen motif of soaring Firs, Spruces, Redwoods, and the like. Many still line the unusually wide streets, including the one in the front yard of this home which is now estimated over 90 years old and approximately 65 feet tall. Sidewalks and street lights are a modern touch of this time adding to the planned neighborhood feel. The original cut stone curbing also remains intact throughout the majority of the development.

The architecture of the Campus home is identified as a Craftsman California bungalow style.
A little CRAFTSMAN STYLE information (c.1900-c.1930)

The Craftsman Style was the dominant style for smaller houses built throughoutthe country during the period from about 1905 until the early 1920s. It originated in southern California and most landmark examples are concentrated there. Like vernacular examples of the contemporaneous Prairie style, it quickly spread throughout the country through pattern books and popular magazines. The style rapidly faded from favor after the mid-1920s; few were built after 1930. Craftsman houses were inspired primarily by the work of two California brothers – Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene – who practiced together in Pasadena from 1893 to 1914. From about 1903 they began to design simple Craftsman-type bungalows; by 1909 they had designed and executed several exceptional landmark examples that have been called the “ultimate bungalows.” Several influences – the English Arts and Crafts movement, an interest in oriental wooden architecture, and their early training in the manual arts – appear to have led the Greenes to design and build these intricately detailed buildings. These and similar residences were given extensive publicity in such magazines as the Western Architect, The Architect, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, Architectural Record, Country Life in America, and Ladies’ Home Journal, thus familiarizing the rest of the nation with the style. As a result, a flood of pattern books appeared, offering plans for Craftsman bungalows; some even offered completely pre-cut packages of lumber and detailing to be assembled by local labor. Through these pre-cut examples, the one-story Craftsman house quickly became the most popular and fashionable smaller house in the country. One-story vernacular examples are often called simply bungalows or the Bungaloid style.

(Excerpt taken from A Field Guide to American Houses by Virginia and Lee McAlester.)

It has been said this home is a fine example of a SEARS, ROEBUCK & Co. kit home.
Classic Craftsman features of this home include cross gabled roof, vertical slat venting, exposed rafters, decorative beams, full length front porch with substantial truncated wood columns, wide wood casings around windows and doors, sash windows, French doors, solid wood front door with fixed beveled glass, and finished with shiplap wood siding.

The 930 Campus Avenue home was one of the earlier developed properties within the University Tract and built in 1924 for $4,900.00 by the Redlands Construction Co., one of many investment groups in the area building homes during the Roaring 20s. A second very small home with a carport was added on to the backside of the garage in 1948 and totals 400 sq. ft. of living space.

Mrs. Mary Newton Keith, Dean of Women and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Redlands was the first to own and occupy the home in 1925. Mrs. Keith was already a resident of Redlands before purchasing the Campus home, but needed to be closer to work and choose this home. Albert Johnson, a Drama Department professor at the U of R, and his wife Bertha, bought the home from Mary and lived there until 1958. Many others, in various walks of life, have called it home. Much turnover occurred through the years, including the University owning it for a span of time in the 1980s. Mr. William W. and Elizabeth C. Weisberg purchased the home in 1994 and have lovingly cared for it in effort to honor its historical flavor, feel, and flair.

The Redlands Area Historical Society thanks William and Elizabeth Weisberg for their stewardship of this home.

Researched by: Jill Huntsinger

16 June 2014