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BARNS EARL THOLLANDER - With a Grain of Salt Bv FRANK MOORE Picture on...
With a Grain of Salt Bv FRANK MOORE Picture on page4 By filming "Stranger in the House" in 1951 at the Morey House on Terracina boulevard, MGM awakened Redlanders to their heritage of fascinating, Victorian houses. Our Town also has a wealth of picturesque barns but they have been neglected by artists, historians and Redlands enthusiasts. If there is tinder to be ignited here, the match has been put to it by Earl Thollander in "Barns of California", a rich collection of sketches and comments published recently by the California Historical Society. In his book he gives a double- page spread to a barn which hundreds of Redlanders see each day as they pass Palm avenue while going up and down Center street. Their view is over the top of a small orange grove, and is of the roof, the cupola and the weather vane. The hand lettering on the page reads: "Johnson Coach Barn. Redlands, in San Bernardino County, still has some handsome old coach barns. This is one of them, built in about 1887 by a Mr. Johnson. Quarters for the coachman were in the barn, too." Because the space given to the barn in the book is so generous, I had to crop it at the right, (seepage 4) or you would see a jungle gym, a slide and a wheelbarrow. Many people who know the place will say that Mrs. Charles Hitching had them there when she operated her private nursery school. Thollander lives in a forest home (Calistoga) near the Napa Valley. I wondered how he happened to know of Redlands barns and then select this particular one. During a pleasant telephone chat, he explained that in preparation for the book, letters were sent to historical societies and county farm advisors, up and down California, inquiring about picturesque barns. Although he found that some societies were bund to the historic barns in their areas, Arda M. Haenszel of San Bernardino steered him to the coach barns of Redlands. If time had permitted, he would have familiarized himself with many of them .But working on a very low budget of the California Historical Society he could not afford that luxury. So he makes no pretense to be an authority on the barns of Redlands. Earl Thollander is a mail whose love for his subject runs broad and deep. He wrote: "I like barns. There's something good about entering their dark, cavernous, airy interiors and smelling the barn odors ... From childhood, one doesn't forget the intriguing interior of a barn, with its bigness and its array of hay, farm implements, and animals — chickens, spiders, owls, bats, bees, swallows and doves. "Barns in California are in every stage of deterioration... Like many historic buildings, however, barns should be preserved. They are part of the people's history and architectural heritage of our state." Our particular heritage in Redlands is carriage barns, and it was in broadening his definition of California barns beyond ranches and farms that he came here. Unlike farm barns, which can usually be seen from public roads, the historic barns in Our Town are often difficult to observe. As in the case of the "Johnson barn", they are located back of a house and the only view from the street is a limited one between trees. One must ask permission to walk closer and then drink in the sight with his eyes. Surely this is the reason that our wonderful barns have been so long and grievously neglected. Don Wilcott was mindful of this when he moved the Edwards house from Cajon street to the Orange Tree, near the County Museum. While the old Gingerbread mansion is being renovated, an old-new barn has been erected behind it. Thollander explains that, in making his barn sketches, he used a stick of bamboo, whittled Japanese style, to a blunt chisel-like point. The Chinese '.'writing ink", was applied to watercolor paper. As to matters of art, he drew„his inspiration from the Chinese and Japanese masters. The medium and style he chose are just right for barns with their rich line and detail. In printing the book, a sepia ink was used and that, too, is fitting to the subject matter. ("Barns of California" is published by the CaliforWa Historical Society, 1120 Old Mill Road, San Marino, CA 91106, $15.95.) Continued tomorrow

Clipped from
  1. Redlands Daily Facts,
  2. 28 Jan 1975, Tue,
  3. Page 12

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