John P. Fisk, Jr., was born in Beloit, Wis., September 11, 1857, and was educated in the public and high schools of that city and at Beloit College, graduating from the latter institution in the class of 1880. After leaving college Mr. Fisk taught several years, two years of the time at Richmond, Ill. He then took another course of study for a year and became a teacher in the Academical Department of Beloit College. After a year and a half of this work, during which he was too closely confined to his duties, Mr. Fisk traveled for a time through the South, and finally came to California, and to Riverside in November, 1885. In March, 1887, he removed to Redlands, and commenced his business career in this city as an agent for real estate and insurance. Soon afterward the Union Bank building was completed, and Mr. Fisk opened in it the first office in a permanent building in Redlands. The one room then occupied is to day the main office, to which tow others have been added, and all are none to large to accommodate his steadily growing business.
In December, 1890, Mr. Fish was married to Mrs. Elizabeth H. Eddy. A member of the Congregational church, he was one of its trustees for a long time and until two years ago. He also took a prominent part in furthering the work of the Redlands Y.M.C.A.; was the first president of the organization, and has been active in securing the erection of its fine building and in protecting its business interests. He is also a director in the Redlands Chamber of Commerce.
Since he first opened an office Mr. Fisk has been continuously engaged in active business, and many important transactions have been intrusted to his management. He has been familiar with every piece of ground, its variations in value and its changes in ownership. Few men have had the fortune to keep track in detail of such marvelous growth in values during so short a period of time as Mr. Fisk ahs seen in the development of Redlands from almost nothing to a city with an assessed valuation of about $3,00,000, which means an actual value of nearly $8,000,000.
Mr. Fisk’s first important real estate transaction was the sale of the Terrace Villa Hotel, in which he was living at the time, to Messrs. Hubbard and Lambeth. He also sold the Barton tract of 1,150 acres to a syndicate of Los Angeles capitalists for $300,000. He bought the sites for the depots of the two railroads when they came into Redlands, and the sites for many of the larger buildings. He has done a large insurance business, representing such companies as the Equitable Life, the Ætna, the Hartford, the Liverpool, London and Globe, the Royal of Liverpool, the Fireman’s Fund of San Francisco, the Insurance Company of North America, the German-American of New York and many others. He has also done a great deal of business in negotiating loans, as a notary public and as agent for property owners living in the East. His long experience makes him an authority upon values of real estate and stocks in Redlands and upon the horticultural, business and industrial possibilities of the city and vicinity.
(Source: Illustrated Redlands, 1897, p. 74.)