Field, Kirke Hart (1857-1936)

A first citizen of Redlands died this morning when Kirke H. Field for almost half a century a resident of this city, passed away at the Redlands Community hospital. He resided at the Wissahicken Inn. He was a first citizen in that he was an early resident of Redlands. He was a first citizen in service to the community and one with highest ideals of civic duty and loyalty. While his death was not unexpected for it has been known for weeks that he was slowly losing strength. There was hope among his friends that he might recover and again be active in city affairs.


In February, Mr. Field had been at the hospital for treatment, had returned to his home at the Inn, and only a few days ago he went to the hospital for a second time. On every hand, after his death about 10 o’clock this morning was heard “Redlands has certainly lost one of its most loyal and useful citizens.”


Funeral service will be held under the direction of Dow & Fitzsimmons, Monday afternoon at 2:20 o’clock from the Congregational church, Rev. H.C. Ide officiating. Members of Rotary, the Forntnightly Club, the Library Board, and the Associated Charities will attend in a body. Interment private, will be in the family plot at Hillside cemetery.


The list of his service to the community is a long one. It began as soon after he came to Redlands and embraced all lines of civic advancement. He was a school trustee in the early days, held many offices in the Congregational Church, for years was a member of the board of the Associated Charities. Interested in the work of the Day Nursery, and for almost forty years served on the Board of Trustees of the A.K. Smiley Public Library. He always took an active interest in the schools,  helped to found the University of Redlands, served on innumerable committees and assisted in practically every move ever made in Redlands for the advancement of culture and education.


At the time of his death he was head of the Associated Charities, having taken the helm when E. M. Lyon passed away. For eighteen years he had been the chairman of the board of the A. K. Smiley Public Library. Despite failing health, he served in these capacities and his advice and sound judgement was never failing and sure.


Kirke H. Field was born at Albion, New York, June 16, 1857. After graduating at a local academy he went to the Highland Military Academy at Worcester, Mass., where he also graduated. His education was finished at the Law Department of Michigan University, and after graduating there he spent a year in foreign travel. Mr. Field was admitted to the bar in the states of Michigan, New York, Kansas and California, and has practiced  his profession in each of these states. A larger part of his practice was in connection with loan companies, in the examination of titles and management of estates. In 1887, Mr. Field was obliged to go to Colorado Springs on account of his health.


[Source: Obituary of Kirke H. Field, The Redlands Daily Facts, May 1, 1936.]


Mr. Field began the planning of his second residence in Redlands as early as 1900. He planted a park on the corner of West Highland Avenue and Pacific Street which he called “Flores” Park. In 1906, Davis Donald began the construction of an English Tudor Cottage at 851 West Highland Avenue. He called the home “Miraflores” in honor of his wife.


In 1887, due to ill health, Field moved to Colorado and later Arizona where he married Myra Howard (1862-1908) in 1890. Seeking a milder climate, Field came to Redlands in 1892. He lived from 1894 to 1906 at 834 West Highland Avenue, where the first meeting of the Fortnightly Club was held in 1895.