Phinney Block


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
Heritage Award 1985

Phinney Block
220 Orange Street

This two-story building, built with brick from local yards, was constructed in 1892 by M. M. Phinney, a citrus grower and civic worker. It has a flat, non-visible tar paper roof. The windows are double-hung, surrounded by brick patterns of flat and radiating brick. The top front of the building has a pediment, triangular in shape. Interestingly enough, the missing “9” in the date on the structure disappeared shortly after its construction.

The original use of the building was to house the Board of Trade. From 1892 to 1908 it was the home of the Redlands Chamber of Commerce. The welcoming festivities for President McKinley in 1901 and for President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 were planned here. In 1907 the University of Redlands had its headquarters in this building.

Mr. Phinney was born in Maine in 1849 and for many years was a dry goods merchant in the East. He came to Red1ands on a pleasure trip and in 1890 moved here. He bought a ten acre orange ranch where he lived with his wife and four children.

As time went on the building fell into a decline and into dis¬repair, used only sporadically for various enterprises. Then, in 1982, Mr. Johnny Moore, Mr. Bill Hardy Jr., and Mr. Henry Van Mouwerik, forming a limited partnership, called the Board of Trade, bought the deserted, decaying structure and have proceeded to restore it to its original prestige. Mr. Moore is quoted as saying there were “many headaches”, in large part related to bringing the building up to today’s seismic requirements. 25 to 30% of the work done was to meet these codes. Thick steel girders were wrapped around underside and inside walls and ceilings, in three places. Secondary walls were bolted to the inside of existing brick walls. The famous parapet was bolted and strapped to the main structure.

Still visible, though, are many of the details of brick work and the design of the original building. The structure now houses a fine restaurant. The old railroad tracks on the north side have been removed and will provide parking areas. Truly this building represents a modern adaptation of a treasure.

The Redlands Area Historical society is proud to honor this unique example of Redlands’ heritage and to commend the stewardship of its present owners.