AKA: Monte Vista, Redlands, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Brigham, Charles, Architect (firm); Charles Brigham (architect)

Dates: constructed 1900-1900

2 stories, total floor area: 16,000 sq. ft.

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1205 West Crescent Avenue
Smiley Heights, Redlands, CA 92373

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This large, U-shaped residence was a textbook example of the Mission Revival Style popular from the mid-1890s until the 1910s. The architect extensively used scalloped gabled parapets, arched colonnades and twin bell towers on the house's exterior. The estate occupied 20 acres and consisted of the main house, known as "Monte Vista," a carriage house and a caretaker's residence.

Building History

Boston architect Charles Brigham (1841-1925) designed this 28-room Mission Revival Style residence for Albert Cameron Burrage (1859-1931), a politically well-connected gas company businessman early in his career and later a copper-mining magnate, as his winter retreat. A free-spending tycoon, Burrage directed that the house be erected in about four-and-a half months between 10/1900 and 02/1901, utilizing crews of up to 127 workmen at one time. He and his wife also erected a lavish, Chateauesque main residence in Boston at 314 Commonwealth Avenue, also designed by Brigham, at about the same time (1899). In addition to these two dwellings, the Burrages also maintained at least two summer houses over the years in Cohasset, MA, (known as "The Caravels,") and Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA (built in 1880, known as "Seahome.") Working for Brigham, Charles C. Coveney served as the architect's supervisor and project manager in 1900.

Born in Ashburnham, MA, to a prominent fBoston family, but raised on a farm in Napa, CA, Burrage lived as a student in San Francisco in 1878 and continued his studies at Harvard, graduating summa cum laude in 1883. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1870; Census Place: Napa, Napa, California; Page: 50A; Family History Library Film: 545574, accessed 10/08/2019) He decided on becoming a lawyer, graduating from Harvard's law school in 1884. After working several years as a lawyer, he got into politics, serving on Boston City Council(1892) and the Boston Transit Commission (1894), the entity responsible for planning the city's pioneering subway. He worked as legal counsel in Boston for the Brookline Gas Light Company after 1892, earning a bonus of $800,000 for securing gas contracts for the City of Boston. With this track record of success, he became President of the Boston, South Boston, Roxbury and Dorchester Gas Light Companies and the Bay State Gas Company. Further adding to his wealth and connections, John D. Rockefeller named him a Director for the Standard Oil Company. Burrage also had an interest in geology and minerals, and established the highly profitable Amalgamated Copper Company and the Chile Copper Company, taking advantage of new industrial techniques for processing low-grade copper ore.

Burrage married Alice Hathaway Haskell (born 1861 in China-d. 12/22/1947 in Manchester, MA) in 1885, with whom he had four children, three sons--Albert Cameron Burrage, Jr., (1886-1978), Francis Hathaway Burrage (1888-1911) and Russell C. Burrage (1889-1957)--and a daughter, Elizabeth Alice Burrage (later Mrs. Harold L. Chalifoux, 1895-1987) The family owned the property until 1924, as Albert and Alice took fewer long trips as they aged. They sold their residence for $100,000 to Edgar G. Pratt. The Redlands Area Historical Society noted the succession of owners following Pratt: "Plans for a Monte Vista Tourist Hotel Project were announced steadily throughout the 1920’s. Arthur Gregory owned the mansion in 1931 and allowed Missionary Sisters to move into the vacant home. Gregory sold to Bishop John F. Knoll the entire home for $15,000 in 1940. The Victory Noll Sisters remained until 1974 calling the home the 'Queen of the Missions.'Owners followed in quick succession from 1974. Dr. Cyril D. Baine, William Matteson, Jim and Maribeth Lotito & Jim Graus, Jim and Sharon Fishback, Russell and Tammy Sehuelt, The Rock Church, and now, Tim Rochford.[He] formed the Rochford Foundation and has done much to restore the mansion and grounds to their original glory days. Preserving the heritage of the estate along with serving local children is certainly in keeping with the philanthropy values of Redlands.

Building Notes

A writer for the Western Architect said of the Burrage House in 1906: "The Burrage residence at Redlands gave to Charles Brigham, the architect, an uncommon problem which is most satisfactorily carried out. To design a residence on the crest of a rise of ground that is treeless and in itself unmarked by any broken or distinctive feature, and do it in a harmonious spirit with the surroundings, indicates a high order of sympathy as well as perception, that this design shows its author to possess in a high degree." (See "Illustrations," Western Architect, vol. 9, no. 6, 06/1906, p, 68.)

A note in his obituary published by Colorants History.org, said of the Redlands house: "Occupied for only two months a year for several years, the mansion was mainly used for entertaining. The Burrage polo ponies were transported there by private Pullman car so guests could play polo on the grounds. There were elaborate parties in the glass-covered swimming pool, which could be covered by a wooden floor for dancing. (See Robert J. Baptista, Colorants History.org, "Albert C. Burrage Biography," published 09/06/2006, accessed 10/08/2019.)

PCAD id: 19839