2023 HERITAGE AWARD RECIPIENT
The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
The John A. & Ada L. McCracken Home
602 Alvarado Street
Welcome to the beautiful home at 602 Alvarado St. owned by Daniel B. Haueter and Steve Villa who purchased it on June 16, 2011. This home is a one and half story Craftsman Bungalow style. You might ask what is the difference between a Craftsman and Bungalow style and wonder if it is the same thing.
Bungalow style vs. Craftsman:
“Craftsman” refers generally to the Arts and Crafts movement and is considered an architectural or interior style, whereas “bungalow” is a particular form of house or building. Thus a
bungalow can exhibit a craftsman style, and many of them did so. You might want to ask where does the word “bungalow” derive from. A bungalow is an Indian style of house and architecture
originating in the Bengal region. It can be described as a small house or cottage that is either single story or has a second story built into a sloping roof (usually with dormer windows and may be surrounded by wide verandas. The style has evolved over time and is found around the world.
During the 1800s, India was under British rule, and British ambassadors needed accommodations for their time in the country. Their solution was to build small, economical homes that could be built on a quicker-than-usual timeline. The first modern British bungalows were designed by little-known English architect, John Taylor, (1818-1884), and built at Westgate-on-Sea, Kent between 1869 and 1870. It was written that a passing journalist in 1870 likened Taylor’s buildings to bungalows and the name stuck. Hence Taylor adopted the terms. One of his customers who bought 4 bungalows was Sir Erasmus Wilson who was a great advocate of regular bathing. His emphasis on proper hygiene extended to one’s living quarters and he became a driving force behind the construction of new bungalows at Westgate -on sea in Kent England. He wrote the following note to Taylor “The idea of Bungalows seems to take people’s minds immensely. They are novel, quaint, pretty and perfect as to sanitary qualities. “The best sanitary home for a family is a Bungalow”.
There are different styles of bungalow homes, but they all share some common characteristics, like low-pitched roofs with gables, eaves, and dormers. Large, covered front porches with square or tapered columns, wide overhangs of the roof, and large interior fireplaces flanked by built-in cabinetry, shelving, or seating and open concept living spaces.
The home at 602 Alvarado has a full recessed front porch and a bay window to one side. The porch is supported by four cut stone columns. The idea of stone work on this type of home is to give the feeling of earthiness – as if the home was growing up from the ground. Columns are either straight or elephantine. In this home, the exterior columns are straight but interior details on the dining room buffet have elephantine columns as well as the frame around the front door. The wide centered front door with a glass window contains clear beveled glass. There is a newer leaded glass panel attached to the front door clear glass to offer privacy but can be removed to return the door to its original style. The house has a circular front walk so you cannot walk on directly to the front door without walking on the grass. It might have been intentional if
the original builder borrowed from the Asian principle of being feng shui so one would never enter a walkway leading straight to the street.
The first family to occupy the home is John A. McCracken (born in 1871) and Ada L. McCracken (born in 1868), both of Irish heritage, married in Philadelphia on April 18,
1893. They came to Redlands in around 1909 with their 9 year old daughter, Mary. John was a salesman and Ada a housewife. Prior to their daughter Mary being born, they had two sons who died as infants.
Lot 1 of the Partija Amena Subdividision was purchased in
1909, on the corner of West Cypress and Alvarado St. In the beginning the address was 604
Alvarado. However, the source list documents below prove the house was
in existence by 1910. Many times when researching a home, one comes across inaccurate information and a good example here is the current tax rolls state this home was built in 1921 which would be wrong due to the 1915 Sanborn Map evidence a home was on the lot. The 1910 Federal Census/Redlands Precinct No 6 lists John Alexander McCracken, a Republican, and salesman at the corner of Alvarado Street and W. Cypress Ave. From 1914 to 1918, the San Bernardino County Assessor’s log book notes house value is $1,000
and $600 for the land. The 1915 Sanborn Map shows the address as 604 Alvarado.
The 1919 City Directory shows McCracken, J. A. residing at 602 Alvarado.
There is not much to publish about the McCracken family. They probably were just living a normal life without attention in the newspapers. Mary Elizabeth McCracken, their daughter, married Colin O’MacNeill and they had a son, named John ‘Jackie’ Oliver MacNeill, born on January 25, 1927. Unfortunately, Mary McCracken MacNeill died on December 21, 1927 at 27 years old leaving baby ‘Jacki’ to be raised by his grandparents, John and Ada. Mary is buried at Redlands Hillside Cemetery in the Mausoleum.
The 16th census of the U.S. taken in 1940 shows John, Ada and ‘Jacki’ Oliver residing at 602 Alvarado. On August 3, 1940 Ada McCracken died and is also buried at Redlands Hillside Cemetery and on Sept. 5, 1942 John died and was buried at Hillside. At the time of
his grandfather’s death, the grandson was 15 years old. Then at 18 years of age, on July 26, 1945, ‘Jacki Oliver’ joined the Army.
From the period of 1942 – 1952, the assessed owner still shows John McCracken, even though he is deceased. In 1953, the assessed owner is the grandson, John MacNeill. Then in 1955, the assessed owner becomes the Blumenberg’s.
The second owners are John A. Blumenberg and Delphine Fowler. Born 1916 and 1918 respectively. John was a corporal in the Army and attended USC. Delphine was a graduate of
the University of Redlands in 1940. Married in August, 1942 at Delphine’s parents’ home on 220 Grandview Dr., Redlands. Her father Fred Fowler was a well-known businessman and it is reported in his March 16, 1965 obituary, he was the owner of the oldest men’s clothing
store in Redlands, located at 107 Orange Street.
In the 1950 United States Federal Census, shows that John Blumenberg, age 33 years old and his occupation is a clothing salesman. He was also a WWII veteran. In the same year census, it is reported that Delphine was a Republican and resided at 602 Alvarado. Obviously, this may be
puzzling since the assessed owner of the home is still in the McCracken family name, so perhaps it was a rental home until 1955 with the Blumenberg’s renting it in 1950. They had three children; two sons, John G., and Gary and a daughter, Nancy.
Delphine Blumenberg died November 19, 1999. John Allen Blumenberg died the following year on Nov. 5, 2000. On November 5, 2000, the owner shows to be John G. Blumenberg.
On 3/28/2003, the next owner is the other brother, Gary. There is an irrevocable trust established in his name which remained until 6/16/2011.
Third and current owners, Daniel B. Haueter and Steven M. Villa purchased this home on
6/16/2011. Dan and Steve have worked tirelessly on their home and are happy to share names of contractors and material suppliers if anyone is interested in receiving a list of the tradespeople.
Dan and Steve certainly deserve applause for their laborious consideration towards the restoration of their now beautiful home. The Redlands Area Historical Society is pleased to present Daniel Haueter and Steven Villa with the 2023 Heritage Award for 602 Alvarado St.
Research by Marjorie Lewis and Daniel Haueter
Presented: 12 June 2023
Redlands Daily Facts
San Bernardino County Tax Records
Historic England Blog, 2017
Craftsman Bungalow/Architectural Styles of America and Europe