I’m always looking for interesting things to see. I’m finding that there are people on IG who are sharing good information about things here in Southern CA. This is how I found out about Kimberly Crest in Redlands CA. I planned to pay a visit on our trip back from the desert. Unfortunately there aren’t many times to take a tour, so we had to plans carefully.
What happened? Were we transported to the Loire valley in France? First of all, traffic on the 10 was very slow, so Waze sent us through Beaumont and on a backroad into Redlands. That was actually nice, seeing the outskirts and farms. Then we drove up a hill and as we walked up, this is what greeted us. WOW! Yes, the woman who commissioned this home wanted a Loire Valley Chateau. She got it.
You would think that my previous image was the front of the castle, but no, that is the back. Here is the entrance, through a gate, then drive up to the Port Cocheres, so people can get out of the carriage or car, while being protected from either hot sun, or rain.
A very unassuming front door. Well, it is made from quarter-sawn oak, but still, average size, entry way is very plain. Right now, it’s decorated for Halloween.
A view from another angle. We couldn’t take photos inside, so I’m sharing a lot of the outside.
In France these decorations would be carved of stone, here, they are made of concrete. The original owner only lived here a few years, then she sold the home to the Kimberly’s. Of Kimberly Clark. At the time their business was lumber, later, they would convert cellulose to bandages in WWI, and then develop Kleenex and other paper products.
The original interior was very rustic, not to the Kimberly’s taste. So they hired designers from Tiffany Co and oh my, the interior is amazing. One reason why is that one of the daughters, Mrs. Shirk was widowed in WWI, she had no children, so she came to live with and care for her parents. So Kimberlys’ occupied the house from 1906 until early 70s. At that point Mrs. Shirk made sure the home was run by a foundation and that the city became the care takers. So there never were young children, she was probably in her 30s’ when she moved in and lived until 100. Another sister came to live there as well, but they were old school. Why change decor that worked so well?
The home is in great shape, the furnishings and decorations are in great condition. It is so rare to see that in an old house. Usually, things change, even if the same family stays there. So I highly recommend, if you are coming or going to the desert, stop by on a Friday or Sunday, there aren’t many tours – but boy is it worth it. I understand why they don’t want photos, which is all the more reason to go visit yourself.
What a gem! the gardens are beautiful as well. Oh, and in discussing the family, the name Bergstrom was mentioned, a son in law, married to another sister. He designed the terraces, pools and the hardscape of the gardens. We were told that is big claim to fame is that he designed the Pentagon. I immediately asked if he was in partnership with John Parkinson in LA. Indeed he was, so many of our famous buildings downtown were designed by him. I love small world stories!
Since Mrs. Shirk didn’t have children, she loved having them around. So at least once a month there would be a tea party at her expense on the back lawns. The tradition continues, this weekend they had a Star Wars cosplay event.
The foundation supplied lemonade and cookies as well as some lawn games. How fun is that!
The gardens are available for photography as well. We saw a Quincenera, as well as what looked like an anniversary photo. I don’t know if this is a magazine shoot, but it sure looked interesting.
I have stopped in the past to see the University of Redlands, downtown looked cute. We were tired and wanted to go home, otherwise, I’d have stopped there for coffee. If you have the time, get thee to Redlands. Just driving the streets we saw a lot of Victorians as well as a few Craftsman homes – all in decent shape. This is a town that takes good care of itself.