Reverend Thomas F. & Marie May McCourtney Residence


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
Heritage Award 2013

Reverend Thomas F. & Marie May McCourtney Residence
232 West Olive

The water hookup date for this home was May 24, 1898. The first owners were W. T. and Helen Ferguson. He owned the construction company, Ferguson Brothers, with his two brothers. They were builders for the firm of Lynn and Lewis. In 1902 William and Mary Johnson owned the house. He was a local physician. Starting in 1905, George and Carrie Ford and their son Ernest occupied the home. The Fords owned Ford Grocery Co. located at 106 Orange Street and relocated to 9 East Citrus in 1911. In 1923 the home became the parsonage for the First Evangelical Lutheran Church which was located on East Olive Avenue and the southwest corner of Myrtle Street. Two pastors lived in the home: W.J. Dentler and his wife Clara for about ten years beginning in 1933 and William and Florence Miller from 1933 to 1946.

This home has a graceful bellcast low hip roof. Identical dormers face all four directions. Under the roof is a frieze of dentils and plain trim. The boxed eaves have decorative brackets. Most windows have multi-glass panes at the top with a large glass pane below. The south facing home has two entrances to the wooden porch on the south and west. Both have cement steps with rock step piers. Columns support the porch, with double columns on either side of the front steps which are supported by a square base with inset square panels. The balustrade is turned spindles with columns on the west side. There are three doors facing west and south, and on the west side another south facing door. The doors have a glass pane at the top with decoration underneath and wood panels below.

In 1946 the Reverend Thomas Fletcher McCourtney and his wife Marie May purchased the home from the church. He was retired and had three daughters living at home: Ina Marie, a teacher at Colton High School, Gertrude who taught at Lugonia Elementary School and Ruby Lee who worked for the Redlands School District in administrative positions. Rev. McCourtney died in Loma Linda on January 17, 1950 at the age of 84. He was born in Missouri and taught school there for several years before becoming an ordained minister. He served pastorates in Texas, Arizona, and California. His last pastorate was for the Baptist Church of Oceanside. He was also Executive Secretary for the Arizona Baptist Convention for 13 years. Marie lived in the house with her daughters Ina and Gertrude until 1965. She passed away in 1974 at the age of 92. She was born in Harlan, Iowa and lived in Redlands for 36 years. Both are buried at Hillside Memorial Park.

Harry C. and Helen Petty purchased the home from the McCourtney’s in June 1970. They came from Portland, Oregon to join his parents and continue his love for building houses, which he could do here all year long. When the couple arrived in 1965 there was a slowdown in the building industry so Harry went to work for the Yucaipa Valley Water District installing underground utilities. He also operated a gas station at Calimesa Blvd. and County Line Road for a period of time. The Petty’s had seven children and lived in the home until Mr. Petty returned to contracting and built a new home in Yucaipa. Their daughter Beverly Winchester and husband Kenneth purchase the home from her parents in 1998. Beverly is the Customer Service Representative for Community Bank for 27 years and Kenneth is a heavy equipment operator for CEMEX. Mrs. Winchester, at age fourteen, was the one who discovered the Olive Avenue house was for sale and encourage her parents to purchase it. In a way, Helen Petty said, “the house was always her house.”

The Redlands Area Historical Society is proud to give this award to the Winchesters for their years of love for this home.

Researched by: Karen Flippin

17 June 2013