Professor Thomas and Sarah Eaton Residence


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
2014 Heritage Award

Professor Thomas and Sarah Eaton Residence
528 Roosevelt Road

Professor Thomas E. N. Eaton and his wife, Sarah, traveled to Redlands in 1885 and purchased 6 acres and 6 Redlands Water Company shares from Judson and Brown for $600. Eaton spent his boyhood in New Hampshire and graduated from Amherst College with Professor Charles Paine and Edward Judson. Eaton received a Doctor of Philosophy in 1886 from Boston University. He taught nineteen years at the Polytechnic Institute at Worcester, Massachusetts instructing pure mathematics.

Professor Eaton and Sarah returned to Redlands in 1888 and 1891 and had Lynn & Lewis built their home on Reservoir for $3,000. Eaton planned a life devoted to horticulture and planted a 31 acre citrus grove and five acres of eucalyptus. Eucalyptus is fast growing and was used as a favored fuel for wood burning stoves. The Eaton forest became a popular picnic location for early Redlands.

Within a month Eaton’s services were requested for a private school. He specialized in mathematics and had some 60 scholars attending with Frank Brown’s children riding burros daily. Leland Lyon’s estate paid off the Eaton mortgage in 1902 as a thank offering for educating his children. During World War I Eaton was asked to fill a mathematics position at Redlands High. He accepted and remained teaching until 1931 at the age of 84. The high school’s 1927 yearbook, the Makio, was dedicated to Dr. Eaton.

Sarah Eaton died in 1927 and was remembered for her participation in the Baptist Church Sunday School. She was a member of the United Women for Public Improvement and chaired the Sunnyside Ditch and Redlands Water Company meetings in the absence of Thomas. The children of her neighborhood missed her daily outreach to them.

Eaton’s remained in the home until 1910 building a modern home at 628 Alvarado. His daughter, Grace became a music teacher in Redlands, and son, a Westinghouse engineer, near Pittsburgh. The home was sold to Samuel R. Perry, who continued farming the orange grove until the 1940’s. Perry sold to Floyd R. Lenox another gardener and fruit grower.

This Victorian two-story farm house is crowned with a roof dormer. The first story wood-siding is contrasted with shingle siding on the second story. Seymour Brothers square turned posts support a wrap-around veranda porch. The north side of the home gable is anointed with fish-scale shingles. Double hung windows with leaded glass are found throughout the home. Floyd Lenox added an adobe room for $6000 in 1948 and a $1000 garage. The pool was completed in 1998 according to the Rose Diponio permit.

John and Lilibeth Mee bought the home in 2005 and began interior work on the wood floors and have now launched themselves into the unfinished attic space. The Mee’s have adorned this plain farm house with stain glass windows in the front door, side windows and even the dormer attic window. Their attention to detail is in keeping with this 2014 Heritage Award citation.

Researched by: Tom Atchley

16 June 2014