The Merriman Residence


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
Heritage Award 2015

The Merriman Residence
701 W. Olive Avenue

Over one hundred years ago, West Olive Avenue was a highly sought-after residential area due to its proximity to Smiley Park and because Pacific Electric operated a streetcar line on the avenue, offering convenient transportation. The neighborhood was close to the downtown business district, churches and McKinley Grammar School.

This two-story Classic Box residence on the southwest corner of West Olive and Center was completed in 1903 at a cost of $2700. Resting on a concrete foundation, is a hipped-roof structure, having enclosed eaves with decorative, double brackets. It has clapboard siding, except for the shingles on the balcony and gable.

The front façade features a triangular pediment above the entrance, which is set into the mansard-like parapet of the second-story balcony. The front door is flanked by half-length sidelights. There is a canted bay window at right.

The partial-width veranda is supported with round columns. Similar columns support the balcony gable, which has a circular attic vent. The east elevation features another canted bay window, and a side entry with French doors and a mansard parapet above. There are two brick chimneys; one interior and one on the west elevation.

Crayton W. Merriman purchased Lot 1 of the California Tract from W. T. Bill for $10. Mr. Merriman was the co-owner of Randall and Merriman Dry Goods at 218 Orange Street. His partner, Mr. Randall, lived a few blocks closer to town at 519 W. Olive, in a house very similar to this one. Mrs. Merriman was a founder of Redlands Day Nursery.

In February 1908 the home was sold to Charles and Helen Vahey for $3600. Mr. Vahey was born in New Jersey and came to Redlands around 1902. He was a cashier at both Redlands National Bank and Union Bank of Redlands, while his wife, Helen, was active in the Contemporary Club as recording secretary. When Mr. Vahey was offered the position as secretary of the Savings Bank of San Bernardino in 1910, the family moved to that area.

The house was used as a rental for many years and sat vacant during the Great Depression.

The James Guy Vickroy family purchased the house during WWII. After the death of her parents, Miss Helen Vickroy continued to occupy the home. Miss Vickroy was a fourth grade teacher at Marshall Elementary School in San Bernardino, a pianist and member of the Spinet. She was living in the house when four small boys playing with matches caused the destruction of her garage (and a neighboring one) in 1960. She had a carport constructed in its place.

Robin and Carol Dyer acquired the property from the Haid family in 1987, and raised three children in the home. The Redlands Area Historical Society commends the Dyers for their care of this fine example of Olive Avenue’s early-1900s residences.

Researched by: Marie Reynolds

22 June 2015