2008 HERITAGE AWARD RECIPIENT
Redlands Area Historical Society
125 Michigan Street
125 Michigan Street
Regal Court is a beautiful bungalow apartment complex on Michigan Street just north of Olive Avenue. Build in 1927 by the prominent Redlands real estate and fire insurance salesman Melvin L. Hooper. He originally sought capital from outside sources but no one was interested. After 5 years he was able to save the $50,000 needed to build his Regal Court. They were built as rentals and have remained rentals for the past 80 years.
On Monday October 17, 1927, the people of Redlands opened their Redlands Facts to a full 2 page article with the following header: Regal Court, Redland’s Beautiful Home Place, Will Be Open For Inspection Tomorrow. The extensive article describes every part of the complex inside and out. Surrounding the article are advertisements from each of the services used in the design and construction of Regal Court. The owner, Mr. Hooper, wrote: “We feel that we are opening something that has long been needed here–cheerful, well-furnished and up-to date bungalows and apartments that can be rented and are not ‘for sale’ as most rented houses are–places that will have well-kept lawns and shrubbery, plenty of light and air, with maximum accommodations and conveniences, yet for at rental prices within the reach of most people.” He continues: “We have for years in this city has been losing some of the most desirable residents for want of first-class rental property.”
Regal Court contains ten double units and six single units. It is a U shaped court with single storied units to the long sides and a two story building to the rear. Each unit is similar on the outside, but subtle differences were built into the interiors. Bright white exterior walls contrast with the red terra cotta tile awnings over the front door and windows. “Window space in the court is far beyond the ordinary. Every unit is lit from four sides and when darkness falls every side of every section will be artistically illuminated. In fact, it will pay visitors to make an evening trip to Michigan Street just to see how lighting should be carried out.” Centered high on the 2 story unit, near the roofline, is the crest of Regal Court. Below that the Regal Court name spelled out in neon.
“Compactness is the ruling idea, and the same services are obtainable by a minimum of effort here that usually take twice the space and double the care and work for the housewife.” Some units were provided concealed beds for the living room and others wall beds in the bedrooms. Every unit has its own fireplace and mantel. When first opened, each unit came fully furnished, included were sofas and matching rugs, tables and chairs, silverware and even a carpet sweeper. The Facts article describes the laundry room: “…two families can wash at once, each compartment being separate and distinct. An electric washing machine with 300 feet of clothes line space is furnished, and if the tenants want extra lines they will be furnished, together with anything else they may desire, in reason.”
The 1927 article also describes the gardens: “The lawns have been laid by J.F. Gaghan with the best grass seed obtainable, and T.Somers himself laid in the sprinkler system for all garden services.” Today the lawns and shrubbery remain as attractive as ever.
Like a snap shot in time, the Regal Courts have changed little in the last 80 years. The reporter in 1927 felt that, “Mr. Hooper is to be commended on his sprit in giving Redlands such a court.” The Redlands Area Historical Society commends Mr. Sansone for his care and attention in maintaining these incredible bungalows.
Researched and written by Walker Price.