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Redlands and Railroads

This week we round off our MOR Virtual Showcase series with a review of the railroads display.


1. Southern Pacific Line Ticket Stub - ticket for a trip from Redlands to Tucson on the Southern Pacific Line that goes through San Timoteo Canyon, circa early 1900.

2. Pocket Watch - used by Albert Osbun, who worked for the San Bernardino & Redlands Railroad (the “Dinky”, as it was known)

3. Pacific Electric Railway Ticket - the yellow ticket, while issued by Pacific Electric Railway, was likely for an early bus connection to Pine Know from Redlands. The Motor Transit Depot was on Citrus Avenue, circa 1920s.

4. "Kite Shaped Track" Sketch - The sketch is an artist’s representation of the route of the "Kite Shaped Track" reproduced from a promotional piece.

5. Photo of A.G. Hubbard Residence, Terrace Villa - A.G. Hubbard was president and lead investor in the Redlands Central Railway Co. He settled his family in Redlands in 1893, and built their home, Terrace Villa.

6. Edith Parker Printed Journal - an annotated printing of a journal kept by a young Edith Parker, (later Edith Parker Hinckley), who took a trip with a friend around Santa Fe’s “Kite Shaped Track” in 1899 as a high school graduation gift. It was published as “Two Girls and a Kite” in the 1980s.

7. Ticket Punch - as with the pocket watch (#2), the ticket punch was used by Albert Osbun while working for the San Bernardino & Redlands Railroad

8. Railroad Spike - held the rails on the wooden ties to keep them from moving side-to-side. Next to it are a large lock washer and bolt piece

Photo Above: Aside from the Showcase drawers, a more prominent train-themed display was set-up at the museum.

The Santa Fe Depot and Redlands railroad tracks were all the rage in Redlands and helped the economic boom of the city during the turn of the 20th century.


From the Redlands Daily Facts, "Looking back at the history of the Redlands Santa Fe Depot", January 20, 2006:

The first motor train came into Redlands first railroad station, a wooden building located approximately one block west of Orange Street and owned by Santa Fe Railway, May 17, 1888, and regular service began on June 4, 1888 – the fare being 30 cents one-way and 50 cents round trip, according to “Tractions of the Orange Empire,” by Ira Swett.

In 1909, the T-shaped, classical/Spanish mission style Santa Fe Depot on Orange Street was built.

For 29 years, the Santa Fe Depot was the easternmost stop on a Southern California rail tour that transported passengers on four daily round-trip excursions from Los Angeles, through Pasadena, Redlands, and then into Riverside to help increase tourism and economy throughout these areas. Excursions on the Kite-Shaped Track, looping around Highland and San Bernardino were also popular trips for tourists to take during that time, according to Swett.


Today, a drive through Redlands shows several construction sites to revitalize the railway legacy that once helped Redlands flourish many years ago. The Redlands Passenger Rail Project is a 9-mile rail line that will connect Redlands to San Bernardino with the hope that it will usher a new wave of economic boom to the area just as when the first motor train came into Redlands more than 100 years ago.



Close up image of the train display at the MOR Showcase. The working Santa Fe train set circled the display. Along with items #2 and #7 in the drawer, the red brakeman’s lantern was also used by Albert Osbun, who worked for theSan Bernardino & Redlands Railroad.

An alternate view of the display shows the engine of the train model

emerge from the wall cut-out


A closer look at the Edith Parker's printed journal and the Kite Shaped Track sketch that inspired the book, "Two Girls and a Kite"

From a listing on Books:

City of Pasadena and City of Redlands History!! Author: Edith Parker. Published 1984 by Moore Historical Foundation. Cover Art by Leo Politi. Includes a small illustrated 14-page replica of Santa Fe's original that fits in back cover pocket. Beautifully illustrated by Ethel Burt. "Of the many postal cards, letters and diaries sent and kept by tourists who visited California, few shared details of the trip along the Kite. When Edith Parker and her friend Ethel Burt graduated from Pasadena High School in May 1899 they took a two week trip along the Santa Fe Kite-Shaped Track. The account of their discovery of sights and people in the Southlands speaks of a California of a vanished era."


Want to learn more about Redlands history and the railroads? Check out the video below from A.K. Smiley Public Library's webinar series, "All Aboard for Redlands: How the Railroad Shaped Our Town". Presented on May 16, 2020, featuring Dr. Nathan Gonzales.


The MOR Showcase is a temporary construction of a museum gallery inside the old Redlands Daily Facts building on Brookside Avenue. This is the same building that will be completely reconstructed into the permanent Museum of Redlands.

Built in the fall of 2018, the Showcase is approximately 2,000 square feet, which includes galleries and displays to provide a glimpse into what the permanent museum could be like. It uses items from MOR's current collection. The Showcase will be removed once construction of the new building begins.

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