March 25 Program: 50th Anniversary of the Redlands Area Historical Society

The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.

Program Announcement


“50th Anniversary of the Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.”

Monday, March 25, 2024

7:00 p.m.

The Contemporary Club

173 S. Eureka Street, Redlands

The Redlands Area Historical Society will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of incorporation by inviting Dr. Larry E. Burgess to speak at the March 25, 2024 meeting at the Contemporary Club, 173 S. Eureka Street at 7:00 p.m. 

     Dr. Burgess began his historical career in Redlands by becoming the first archivist at A.K. Smiley Library and curator of the Lincoln Shrine.  He used a donation of the Zonta Club to gather all the local archives at the far end of the reference wing.  His doctorate paper on the Smiley’s and the Lake Mohonk Conferences gave him the background on local history to begin his work.  The archives included photographs obtained from “The Citrograph” newspaper and the Redlands Historical Society of 1900 collection consisting of literature and pamphlets. 

      Dr. Burgess remained the archivist for over a decade and then became the Director of the Library in 1982.  While assuming the title of “Mr Redlands Historian” Larry became the speaker on all things Redlands by delivering 2,500 presentations on historical topics.  He launched a History of the San Bernardino Valley class in 1970 that continues in populatity in 2024.

     In 1972, Dr. Burgess joined Dr. Roger Baty, Curtiss Allen, Alice Van Boven, Tom Atchley, Russ Wilmot, Gary Mason, George Ide, David Critchlow, Paul Allen and Dr. Gerald Smith to form a historical society.  Two years later the board elected to incorporate with Roger Baty as the first president and Larry Burgess as program chair.

     Larry became the chair of the Redlands Cenntennial Committee and lobbied the City Council to build the Heritage Room for a city contribution.  He convinced the city to remove the ugly white paint on the library and rebuild the 1898 tower.  The additional wing on the Lincoln Shrine only continued his vision for the library he loves. 

     Larry retired as Library Director in 2012.  While managing the library Larry taught graduate history at the University of California, Riverside for 34 years and the University of Redlands for 42 years.  He has written many articles, columns and books on topics dealing with Redlands, Southern California and the West.  His admiration for Abraham Lincoln prompted many great speeches with Lincoln as the topic.    

Historical Society programs are free and open to the general public. To register to attend the meeting via Zoom please go to the following link:

(Photos shows Redlands historians Dr. Larry Burgess, Edith Parker Hinckley and Dr. Lawrence Nelson in the 1970’s.)