Lesson Plan

Townsite Era


Lesson Preparation


Teacher Reading

You'll definitely want to use Sunshine, Citrus and Science. Since Dr. Barton owned virtually all of modern Redlands, you may want to look at some books of Redlands history. If you want to stick strictly with Loma Linda history, then Dr. Reynolds book is enough.

The Smiley Library Heritage Room documents Redlands history very well. You should probably visit there at least once to see the collection and meet the archivists.





Materials Needed

Paper and drawing supplies for map-making





  • See the Links
  • Your best source will probably be the searchable database of the Del E. Webb Memorial Library Heritage Room, Loma Linda University.


  • Let me know if you find anything 


  • Someone should perhaps adapt Sunshine, Citrus and Science, Chapter Three, "A Tale of Two Cities" for primary students. The material is excellent, but written by a University History professor, and pretty unreadable for younger students. If you take on the project, please let me know!




1. Habitat: As more people settled the valley, a demand for land was created. People moving from the East were not too keen on living in isolation, so townsites were developed. These were small communities, with a few streets and hopes for quick sales. All over the West, people were buying land cheap and selling high. Eventually these townsites were built on, but often the owners failed financially before the community came to life. Most of these townsites were gobbled up by neighboring towns and cities.

2. Food: The townsite settlers followed the American practices of the Mormons, planting fruit trees, vineyards, gardens, pastures and grain fields. The most significant agricultural development of this period was the planting of orange trees by Anson Van Leuven. The discovery that citrus would grow well here changed the valley for a hundred years.

3. Housing: People demanded more sophisticated housing. Things like indoor plumbing became more common. Redlands was developing as a retreat for the rich, with mansions lining shady streets. "Civilization" was taking over.

4. Social Structure: The County of San Bernardino, established by the California legistlature at the request of Jefferson Hunt, a Mormon pioneer, became more important. Communities like Victoria, Idlewild, Hahant, Bryn Mawr, and Mound City were not incorporated. They depended on the County for services like law enforcement. Life was still quite primitive.

5. Art and Tools: San Bernardino boasted an opera house. Redlands had its cultural attractions. The area that would become Loma Linda was so rural that it would be a long time before anyone considered a need for local culture.

6. Footprints: People spread across the valley during this time, but there were still large patches where no one lived. It's hard to believe now, but Loma Linda seemed a long way away from San Bernardino, Colton and Redlands, even through the 1960's!

7. Demise: The developers of some townsites made lots of money, others failed. The land changed hands and often changed uses. The constant migration of people would ensure that population would continue to grow, and communities would expand.

Projects and Activities

1. Students can make their own maps of the Loma Linda area, based on the Map Room of this website.

2. Students can design their own community, with streets and services. They would need to decide what things are essential to make a healthy community. Compare and contrast our "needs" with those of Tomo of Kukumonga Village.

3. Computer simulation programs, like Sim Town, let students build towns and cities.


Worksheet - Townsite Era


The worksheets may be used as either a lesson guide and written in as you go along, or as a test. Feel free to make up your own to fit your approach to the curriculum




Travel past the Frink Adobe on Mission Road, the Van Leuven Mansion on Mt. View Avenue, and Snug Harbor, on Ritchie Circle, in Loma Linda. These are the remaining buildings from this period of history.