Kimberly Crest House & Gardens is a 6-¼ acre estate in Redlands, CA featuring a Victorian Chateau and Italian Renaissance styled gardens. The house was built by Mrs. Cornelia Hill in 1897. In 1905 the home was purchased by John Alfred and Helen Cheney Kimberly who added the gardens. After the Kimberly’s death the house was inherited by their daughter, Mrs. Mary Kimberly-Shirk, who donated the house to the “people of Redlands” and founded Kimberly-Shirk Association.
The estate is now owned and operated by Kimberly-Shirk Association, a 501-C3 Non-Profit organization on behalf of the people of Redlands and is a historical landmark. The interior of the house serves as a museum offering both public and private tours. The gardens are utilized for public events and rented for weddings and private events.
Kimberly Crest, a picturesque French chateau style home built in 1897, is a well preserved example of the Victorian Era in California. The home was designed by the firm Dennis and Farwell and inspired by a French castle the original owner, Mrs. Cornelia Hill visited on a trip to Europe. At 7,000 square feet the building qualifies as a petite chateau.
The first floor consists of ten rooms, which include: a powder room, half bath, library, parlor, main hall, dining room, flower porch, butlers pantry, kitchen, and laundry room. These rooms were used for greeting guests and entertaining.
The second floor was the personal living area for the family and includes a mezzanine with two bedrooms on each side connected by Jack and Jill bathrooms as well as a conservatory.
The third floor has an additional bedroom and a billiard room as well as a screened sleeping porch that would have been used in the hot summer months. The other half of the top floor was sectioned off as servant’s quarters and includes a bathroom for their use. This floor is now used for offices and storage and is not part of public tours. The house also has an attic and basement, which are not included on the public tour.
The Kimberly Crest Carriage House was built for the family’s horses and carriages and had a small apartment on the top floor for the caretaker. It now serves as a gift shop and museum. In 1897 the cost to construct the home was $10,000.
The first 3 ½ acres were purchased for $3,000 by Mrs. Cornelia Hill. She choose the site at the top of the hill for her new home, and had the grounds completed by horticulturalist Franz P. Hosp. The original grounds included a small orange grove to the north and a fountain directly in front of the house. The fountain, “Venus Rising from the Sea”, became a gathering place for family photographs and captivated the Victorian spirit.
When John Alfred and Helen Cheney Kimberly purchased the estate in 1905 they began adding the Italian Renaissance Gardens with their son-in-law G. Edwin Bergstrom, a landscape architect.
The new gardens were completed in 1909 and the highlights included a Grand Terrace with its wisteria arbor and Venus fountain, the West Lawn with a magnolia tree over 80 feet high, the Upper and Lower Ponds with lily pads and fish.
After Mr. Kimberly passed away the Kimberly’s daughter Mary Kimberly Shirk had a rose garden built to ease his wife’s grief and named it “Grandmother’s Rose Garden”. This garden features a rose lined path from the pergola, a heart-shaped boxwood filled with roses and the “Shy Girl” statue.
During the Kimberly’s ownership additional land was purchased to total the 6 ¼ acres that remain today.
Mrs. Cornelia Hill purchased a 3 ½ acre parcel of land in Redlands, CA and had a 7,000 square foot house built in 1897.
In 1905 Mr. John Alfred and Mrs. Helen Cheney Kimberly purchased Mrs. Hill’s home in Redlands, CA for their retirement residence and christened the estate Kimberly Crest.
After her husband’s death Mrs. Mary Kimberly-Shirk moved to Redlands, CA to find solace and provide care for her aging parents and later inherited the estate. In an effort to save neighboring Prospect Park she later offered to donate her home to the “people of Redlands” and founded Kimberly-Shirk Association to manage the estate.