Historic Preservation

A.K. Smiley Public Library in 1900 and Today

Above: A.K. Smiley Public Library, circa 1900 (top) and today (bottom).

The City of Redlands has a long and rich history, and its citizenry has always been concerned with preservation of its history by maintaining its architectural and scenic resources. In 1986, the City adopted an Ordinance that created the City's Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission which has responsibility over historic resources. The Commission has seven citizen members, and has the responsibility of implementing the duties as described in Section 2.62 of the Redlands Municipal Code. The Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission meets on the first Thursday of each month in the City Council Chamber located at 35 Cajon Street. Planning Division staff are responsible for providing support to the Commission and can respond to questions on historic and scenic preservation.

Why is historical preservation important to city planning? The video "Keeping the Promise That Is Redlands" (click here) was featured at the Mayor's State of the City Address on June 22, 2018, and illustrates why we continue to implement good Historic Preservation practices.

General Information

Chapter 2.62 of the Redlands Municipal Code authorizes a historic and scenic preservation commission to make recommendations, decisions, and determinations concerning the designation, preservation, protection, enhancement and perpetuation of these historical, scenic and cultural resources which contribute to the culture and aesthetic values of the city. The City of Redlands is a "Certified Local Government" (CLG) in cooperation with the National Park Service in furtherance of historic preservation goals.


Designated Historic Resources List

2018 Schedule and Calendar of Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission Meetings

Historic and Scenic Preservation Design Manual

Historic Context Statement


The Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission has responsibility for the following functions.

I. Formation
of Historic Districts

The Historic and Scenic Preservation Commission has the primary responsibility of making a recommendation to the City Council on the formation of a Historic District. A Historic District is a geographical area that has a significant architectural enclave of historic buildings or scenic vistas. Applications for the formation of a District can be made by the City or from an individual.

II. Designation of Historic Resources

Historic Designation Application

The Historic and Scenic Preservation Commission has the primary responsibility of making a recommendation to the City Council on the designation of an individual structure as a Historic Resource. A structure with esthetics, architectural, historical value which is fifty (50) years old or older may be designated as a Historic Resource. A structure with exceptional esthetics, architectural, or historical value may be designated as a Landmark Resource.

III. Certificate of Appropriateness

Certificate of Appropriateness Application

A COA is an application upon which the Historic and Scenic Preservation Commission makes a decision to alter, demolish, move, or subdivide a building/property which has been designated Landmark or Historic Resource by the City Council. This means that any modification to the outside of the structure must be approved through this application.

IV. Demolition Review of Designated Resources and Structures Over 50 Years Old

Demolition Permit Application

Any structure designated as a Historic or Landmark Resource by the City must have a Certificate of Appropriateness for demolition approved by the Historic and Scenic Preservation Commission. This involves a public hearing and the Statement of Findings as defined by the Redlands Municipal Code. Demolition of any structure over fifty (50) years old needs to have approval from the Historic and Scenic Commission regardless of whether it is designated or not. If you are unsure of the age of the structure please check with City staff.

V. Environmental Review

Some projects, especially demolitions, may require environmental review depending on the structure and the type of changes being proposed. This would mean that the Environmental Review Committee (ERC) would review the proposal and recommend that either an Environmental Impact Report or Negative Declaration be prepared.

Santa Fe Depot circa 1900

Above: the Santa Fe Depot, circa 1900

Santa Fe Depot today
Above: the Santa Fe Depot today (now within the Santa Fe Depot National Historic District)

Facts about Historic Preservation in Redlands

Some projects do not require review from the Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission, but instead may be approved by staff. However, it is best to communicate with staff and coordinate your project before proceeding forward. The following is a list of projects which do not typically require review from the Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission:

  • Alterations to the inside of any structure, including designated structures.
  • Landscaping unless specifically designated.
  • Outside alterations to structures which are less than fifty (50) years old.
  • Outside alterations to structures over fifty (50) years which are not designated and not located in a district; however, it is best to consult with staff as to the sensitivity of older structures.
  • Re-Painting of a building in the same colors

Again, it is best to discuss your project with Planning staff and confirm if your project qualifies for an exemption from review, prior to proceeding with your project or any structure/property modifications.
This is a brief introduction to historic presentation principles,  and does not explain every detail that may affect your property. For this reason, it is very important to coordinate with Planning staff on any potential project. Our staff is dedicated to serving the public and we are here to help. Please feel free to contact any staff member with questions or concerns.

Historic Context Statement

In 2016, the City of Redlands received a Historic Preservation Fund Grant from the State Office of Historic Preservation to produce a “Historic Context Statement” document. A Historic Context Statement is a narrative report that provides the framework for identifying potential historic resources and evaluating their historic significance and integrity. This report identifies important themes relevant to the history and development of the City of Redlands, including: significant property types; time periods of historical significance; and character-defining features of important architectural styles. This rich document provides guidance to residents, City staff, Commissioners, and historic preservation professionals. The Historic Context Statement was approved by the City Council on September 19, 2017.

Historic Context Statement - September 19, 2017
Community Meeting, June 12, 2017 - Powerpoint Presentation - "What is a Historic Context Statement?"

More Images

Morey Mansion
Above: Morey Mansion

Burrage Mansion
Above: Burrage Mansion

114 W. Vine Street
Above: 114 W. Vine Street, originally Redlands Community Hospital in 1903-1904, now a medical office for Mission Pediatrics

Kimberly Crest

Above: Kimberly Crest Manor today

Below: Kimberly Crest Manor then
Kimberly Crest Manor late 1800s

University of Redlands early 1900s
Above: University of Redlands then

Below: University of Redlands today

University of Redlands today