Redlands Early Tourism

This week we continue to explore the MOR Showcase Drawers, which are mini-collections of artifacts with various Redlands themes. Here we look into the "Tourism Drawer".


1. Casa Loma Hotel Decorative Plate

2. Casa Loma Hotel Jewelry Box

3. Phil's Charcoal Broiler Ashtray

4. Phil's Charcoal Broiler Matchbox Cover

5. Casa Loma Cobalt China

6. La Posada Key & Key Tag

7. La Posada Matchbook Covers

Below you will find a close-up view of a few items


Photos Above

From Top Left Corner: Item #2 Casa Loma Hotel Jewelry Box, Early 1900's Item #3: Phil's Charcoal Broiler Ashtray, circa 1950's-70's Item #6 La Posada Key & Key Tag, circa 1930's-60's Item #7: La Posada Matchbook Covers, 1930's-60's

For more items related to La Posada Hotel, click here for our previous articles.


Item #5: Casa Loma Cobalt Souvenir China

Souvenir China created for Casa Loma Hotel.

The Casa Loma Cobalt China pieces were all designed by the Wheelock and Johnroth souvenir china companies.

The following exerpt was taken from

The Wheelock family began selling china in Wisconsin well before the Civil War. In the early 1890’s one of the many Wheelock children, Mr. Charles Wheelock, had the vision to expand their business into the latest craze, souvenir china. The business grew quickly and soon they employed over thirty salesmen selling souvenir china in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The Wheelock mid west business was no longer regional. It had grown to international proportions.

Wheelock was not the manufacturer of souvenir china, as some believe, but the importer. Because Germany and Austria had the raw material to produce high quality hard paste porcelain, those two countries were the major source of souvenir china. The procedure was as follows. The scenes or pictures were selected in the area where they were to be sold, usually from postcards. They were then sent to Europe for processing. The next step was to make a transfer print of the picture which was then applied to the china. Initially the pictures were black and white but later many were hand colored at factories. Eventually transfer prints were done in color eliminating the step of coloring by hand.

This helps explains the picture but it didn’t stop there. Many porcelain pieces were color tinted and some were decorated in a variety of motifs such as flowers or leaves. All of which added their beauty. Finally, the piece was glazed and fired in a kiln before being sent to the United States .

Not all souvenir china has the importer’s mark on the bottom as many have no mark at all. Some were marked with the store’s name where the item was to be sold along with the word “Germany.” The McKinley Tariff Act of 1891 required that all imported items be marked with the country of origin. It seems logical that unmarked souvenir china date before the McKinley Act.

Casa Loma Hotel

Built in 1896, Casa Loma Hotel was not only a tourist destination. Not one, but three United States presidents have delivered speeches from Casa Loma, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Casa Loma was later converted to a University of Redlands dormitory from 1939 to 1955, when it was demolished.

Today, you will find a Stater Bros. grocery store at the site where Casa Loma Hotel once stood. The store was built on May 6, 1956. It was re-built on the same site in 1966 and remodeled in 1999.