Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Redlands: A Place I Call Home pt. 2

I finished the book on Redlands 'Old Timers' today on my lunch break at work. I was almost late going back because I couldn't put the book down! I still have to digest some of the stories from the people at the beginning, so I don't even know where to start! All I know is that I see Jesus all over these pages, working in the lives of people who offer everything they have for the betterment of those around them. Who doesn't love stories of redemption, crime fighting and restoration?!

Lewis Jacobs: When I read about Jacobs I get a picture of a man truly after business. It seemed that it
didn't matter the type of business he was in, it was the adventure itself that seemed captivating. He went from owning a store, to owning a saw mill to opening the first private bank in San Bernardino County. Through the bank, Jacob's was able to fund several projects that directly affected the growth of the cities in our valley. Just a few accomplishments were:

1. Panamint Stage Line, which made San Bernardino the supply center for mining
2. Arizona Stage Line to Yuma and Tucson
3. California Southern Railroad to San Diego
4. Electrification of the street car system
5. The citrus industry in Redlands and Riverside

He also loaned money to Judson and Brown to build the Bear Valley Dam in 1883. I am sure these were only a handful of the many things he was able to do with the resources he had gained from opening the bank. I can only imagine what it would be like to have the resources to fund the first steps of transportation into my city, or be a lender for business and exploration! For a brief article on some more history check this out!

Thomas J. Fitzgerald: Coined 'One of God's Gentlement', Father Fitzgerald came to America, Colorado to be specific, from Ireland to help in the recovery of his illness (not mentioned what it was). After a death diagnosis, he lived four more years in Colorado until he moved to Beaumont. When people learned that he was trained in the priesthood, they desperately wanted him to start a catholic church here in Redlands. At the time, Catholics had been highly persecuted by Spaniards and Indians and only about 10 Catholic families were left in the area. He finally accepted and started his work as a priest.

The thing I find most interesting is his attitude toward his community. He was a catholic, of course, but despite the recent history of persecution he went out of his way to meet the needs of his whole community, not just his church. He was on call day and night, without regard to denomination or race. He kept a hospital room to be ready for any emergency. It is noted that he was solely responsible for shifting the mindset of his community toward Catholics. "It is no mean achievement to have changed the thinking of a community and that is what Father Fitzgerald did." I would love to be able to put that on my resume: Skills: Excel, Outlook, Erasing prejudice, Organization......

Its not always what we do, but who we are that leaves the greatest impact, for if I do one million deeds but refuse to love a single person, I will go unseen... and even worse, Jesus himself will remain confined in the human eye. Its not for business, but for adventure! Its not for church, but for community! Its not for riches, but wealth in resources! Its not for me, but for all who desire to dream! Today is a day for redemption if you simply set aside the things that continue to tell you you can't, and just follow your feet because chances are you'll end up on someone's doorstep!

Until next time, have another full day of work, love, rest and of course a delicious cup of coffee!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Redlands: A Place I Call Home

There are plenty of reasons why I love living in Redlands.

1. The weather is pretty much amazing... I mean, it gets hot but its really only 'hot' for about two weeks, and it barely gets cold enough to wear a beanie.
2. Redlands is super close to the mountains if you want snow, and super close to the beach if you want waves.
3. It's where I grew up so chances are anywhere I am, I have (mostly) fond memories.
4. There is such a rich history here that I believe is rather unique... and this is where I find my inspiration to write today.

I checked out this book called "Redlands and Certain Old Timers" from our historic library and within two pages was already captivated by it. It is a very small book but written from a perspective that speaks very highly of the people who were the first to settle in this area.

Interesting fact #1: The first person to own property in what is now considered Redlands was a woman. She was also the first to open a passable road between here and Los Angeles. Her name was Maria Armenta Bermudez.

Interesting fact # 2: The Pledge of Allegiance was written for the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America, it was also used in the patriotic program which Redlands had on that same day. A first grade teacher at Kingsbury School had her class salute the flag at the end of each day if there had been no tardiness or absenses. A man by the name of General Lawton had his son in her class and when General Breckenridge visited, he witnessed the salute by the first grade class. He then went back to Washington DC and requested the salute be done at an large gathering. This was then written to the first grade teacher by Mrs. Breckenridge:

"All the distinguished men and women in the East were there and the children gave the salute, which was beautiful and impressive and created much praise, enthusiasm and applause. It was mentioned as coming from the California children. I thought that you would like to know it, since it is all owing to you."

Since then, the salute to the flag has spread over America.

It is very interesting learning about the history of the place you live. It is so easy to just live your daily life without recognizing the foundation that has been laid out for your town. It is easy to assume that it's just a city. But cities are where people dwell. That means there are stories associated with those people. This book really only gives a short glimpse into these stories, but on my quest in learning the history of Redlands I thought an appropriate place to start was with people.

Until next time, when you are walking downtown stop and take a look at the plaques you find on the outside of the buildings, you never know what you'll find!