W. E. Rabbeth Home


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
Heritage Award 1982

W. E. Rabbeth Home
1000 Serpentine Drive

In 1906, Annie Rabbeth gave her son W.E. (Bunny) Rabbeth a parcel of land which was taken from the family property at 902 Cedar Avenue. This land was to be used to build a home for his bride-to-be, Bertha Gay, and after the Rabbeths were married in 1907, they remained in their residence until 1941 when Bertha died. With the continuation of Serpentine Drive the street and number were changed to 1000 Serpentine.
The house is brick with wood trim. The wood inside and out is redwood with the exterior wood painted white and the interior a soft cream. Built in a square around a two-story atrium, with a pyramidal shingled roof topped by a flattened peak to support a large skylight, the house is sym-metrical, sturdy looking and gracious. Tall and commanding, the chimney and a handsome wrought iron railing around the skylight give character to the roofline. On the front of the house a half-round dormer window at the attic level gives importance to the cement steps and front porch that lead to a recessed wooden door with curved panels. Full length windows flank the door while large bay windows dominate either side of the house. Extending the length of the south side a wide side porch opens onto a formal lawn complete with a small fountain and sundial.

The north side repeats a large bay window. Across the west side of the house are bedrooms and a bath. All the rooms lead into the atrium which dominates the interior. It is cement floored with a central fountain and a second-story balcony on the west side. It is said that when the Rabbeths entertained, a small orchestra played from this balcony. Since this was reached from a drop ladder extending from a trapdoor in the balcony, it must have been no easy task for the players to get themselves and their instruments into place. A narrow stairway has now been constructed making access easier. The steep pitch of the roof to accommodate the skylight allows for a spacious attic with dormer windows opening toward the west and east.

Over the years the owners have taken loving care of the house and any improvements or changes have left the original structure unaltered and more livable. An example is the kitchen, now being further remodeled and decorated. With great care the present owners, Dr. and Mrs. John Peterson, had a small bay window custom designed to fit the window over the sink. It matches in every detail the larger bays in the living and dining ro6ms. Intensive landscaping is now in progress: gardens are being reestablished, trees cared for and planted, and the lawns refurbished. Surely W. E. and. Bertha Rabbeth would be pleased to see happiness and joy surrounding another young couple living in their first home.

The Redlands Area Historical Society does itself honor in singling out this unique example of our town’s heritage and in commending the stewardship of the owners.