The Greenway Adobe 2021


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.

The Greenway Adobe

726 Chestnut Avenue


This beautiful 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home of approximately 2,020 square feet located at 726 Chestnut Avenue is characterized as “Adobe” which is one of the oldest building materials made by man.   The adobe is made with tightly compacted earth, clay and straw that is hand or form shaped into bricks and dried by the sun. This method has been used for thousands of years and in many parts of the world, whereas modern bricks are kiln fired at very high temperatures. Sustainable features of an adobe home is that they are fire, and bug resistant. Adobe also is an energy efficient material which conserves energy because of its capacity to absorb, store, and release the sun’s heat energy. Its density and levels of conductivity help to keep the internal temperature of a building stable and have inherent qualities for both heating and cooling. 

 The style of adobe homes built in the 20th century is typically termed California Hacienda
or Spanish Colonial. One of the most recognizable characteristics of a hacienda-style home is the low-pitched roof with handmade, red clay roof tiles, thick adobe walls, exposed beams used as wall and ceiling supports, and center courtyards with several doors radiating out to the courtyard. This home has all the features listed as evidenced by the below photos showing a bedroom ceiling, formal dining room and living room. 

 The first water connection was installed on this parcel on July 22, 1925 by W. H. Warner. Further research about this person did show he bought other lots in Rialto and in Los Angeles, but little else about him was discovered. On the water connection card under the “Character of Building” is listed Blacksmith, Livery, and Feed Stable. The parcel was unimproved until 1945 when Elmo and Stella Rayfield who lived on 219 Nordina applied for a building  permit on June 6th for a foundation.

 Elmo was a plumber and Stella was a packer at Gold Banner. On the building permit under contractors name it states “Day Labor,” so we can presume that they participated in the building of this house. On July 12, 1945 a second permit was prepared for a single story dwelling and to be built by day labor at a proposed cost of $4,000.

 The Rayfields did not live in the home very long as they put it up FOR SALE BY OWNER on March 10, 1948. Apparently the Rayfield’s must have sold it very quickly since the grant deed selling house to Wilsey and Hazel Brewer was dated the same day as the open house ad – March 10, 1948. The Brewer’s did not reside in the home very long. They listed it for sale with a Realtor, with open house on Nov. 14, 1948.

 The home was then purchased by Dr. Frank L. Greenway Jr. (Ph.D) and his wife, May Beth “Betty” Behrens on Feb. 23, 1949. Frank and Betty met at Stanford University and married in 1941. They moved to Redlands in 1946 and lived at 35 N. University. Dr Greenway was a Professor of Economics and Business Administration at the University of Redlands for 35 years.   He received his Ph.D from USC and co-authored at least 2 textbooks on finance. He was a member of Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and a Redlands Community Hospital Corporation member. Dr. Greenway died in 1997 after 56 years of marriage.

Betty was involved in the U of R Faculty Wives Club, Town & Gown, Assistance League, and several bridge groups. She continued to live at 726 Chestnut Avenue. for a total of approximately  63 years and then in 2011 moved to a retirement community in Santa Rosa,
California. Betty lived to be almost 103 years old and passed away on December 20, 2020. It is reported she continued to play bridge until Covid prevented any gatherings.

 Frank and Betty had three children and were active members of the First Presbyterian
Church where Frank’s father, the Rev. Frank L. Greenway, was the minister and resided at 806 Cajon Street.

 In 2011 the Geenway home was sold to Frank and Sheri Green. Don’t you love how they semi share a name?  Now in this case, the FOR SALE BY OWNER WORKED! Frank and Sheri’s daughter lived across the street from the Greenway home and when they would visit their daughter from time to time, they would tell Betty Greenway that they would love to buy her
home. So wishes do come true sometimes and one day she told them they could buy it!

 Frank and Sheri Green have consistently renovated the home to reflect the integrity of the Hacienda style. Since their residence, they have totally renovated the main hall bathroom, new kitchen with custom made cabinets and Spanish tiles, created a patio with more interesting Spanish tiles and barbecue, built a low brick wall with brick caps, installed the wrought iron gate, and so much more! 

 The Redlands Area Historical Society want to thank Frank and Sheri Green for their
outstanding dedication and labor of love in ensuring this Spanish Colonial – Hacienda has been remarkably upgraded and remodeled to reflect its original architectural style.

  Presented 27 September 2021

Research –  Marjorie Lewis & Marie Reynolds