Robert M. and Kathleen Sanborn McCulloch Residence


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
2011 Heritage Award

Robert M. and Kathleen Sanborn McCulloch Residence
1740 Canyon Road

“Bermejal”, meaning red clay in Native American Indian, once served as the name of the Cuban residence of Robert and Kathleen McCulloch and later their home in Redlands on Canyon Road, at the end of the electric line across from Redlands Country Club in 1924. Setting upon a knoll approximately 1.56 acres commanding beautiful views, this two story Mediterranean Revival residence was designed by architect W. E. Rabbeth and built by Garret Huizing for the sum of $16,000. Mediterranean Revival derives its inspiration from the architecture of palaces and seaside villas of the 16th century Italian Renaissance in combination with the Spanish Colonial period. Primarily seen in Florida and California, the style reached its height of popularity during the 1920s.

Numerous articles in the local newspapers detailed both pre and post construction details with great enthusiasm. August 15, 1924 Redlands Daily Facts article details that of eight homes under construction by Huizing, the home of Robert McCulloch is the largest, under construction while the owners are in the east for the summer. Upon its completion it was photographed, in addition to the house next door at 1766 Canyon Road built by his brother, for the booklet Redlands “Twixt Mountains, Desert and the Sea” printed in 1927 by the Citrograph Printing Company.

The home’s slightly irregular rectangular plan is constructed of stucco and handmade cement block to resemble large bricks capped with a red tile hipped roof with exposed eaves and decorative rafters and three chimneys. A poured concrete porch leads to a single arched multi paneled front door surrounded with molded decorative quoin surround with keystone. Windows throughout the home are either multi or single paned, typically in arched form. Symmetry and geometric proportion are key in the placement of windows across the front of the home. Iron balconies grace the front upstairs windows with the reverse swastika Native American Indian symbol integrated in the iron. One rear patio window in particular is framed with exquisite decorative relief tile while an upstairs window features a different tile accent. Important to the overall design are the three private courtyard patios, entered through arched wooden plank doors with quoined doorway detailing. One courtyard features a fountain, niches, and pergola and another features a swimming pool and large, wood burning fireplace with tile surround. The grounds feature a guest cottage, stables, croquet court and swimming pool retreat.

Robert McCulloch, born of a Scottish father and American mother in New York City, went to the family coffee plantation in Cuba at the age of 16. The plantation, in the family since 1832, later shifted to growing sugar with Robert McCulloch running the plantation with his brothers. He served as president of what became the United Sugar Company, later selling to the Cuban American Sugar Company. In 1914, Mr. McCulloch was issued the patent for a device able to extract sugar from sugar beets which was used until 1932.

Robert’s wife, Kathleen Sanborn, started to spend winters in Redlands, from Newport, New Hampshire, in the 1890’s with her mother and brother’s family. Kathleen was the sister of Dr. C. A. Sanborn. According to her obituary in the Redlands Daily Facts in February 1945, Kate Sanborn had made at least two trips around the world and for a time served as hostess at Lake Mohonk at the Smiley’s hotel. The Smileys were old friends later related by marriage. Robert and Kate married in 1921 with Robert and his brother retiring from the family business and settling in Redlands where they built adjoining homes on Canyon Road. Upon Kate’s death, the home was purchased by Dr. Ted Burke and then Dr. and Mrs. Gordon Whitter for 25 years. The Blankenships are the fourth owners of the home and have resided in it for 37 years.

Redlands Area Historical Society proudly presents a 2011 Heritage Award to Dr. Victor and Virginia Blankenship and commends them for their outstanding stewardship of the home and its history.

Written and researched by Kathleen Beall, Gillian Block, and Virginia Blankenship