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Plans Underway to Create Recreational Space Around the Historic Loma Linda Frink Adobe

Leland Lubinsky
Friends of the Frink Adobe / Facebook
The front of the Frink Adobe as seen in November of 2020.

Loma Linda community members came together last week to advocate for the preservation of the Frink Adobe.

They met at the city's historical commission meeting to discuss the future of the adobe and the area surrounding it. The site is located off Mission Road in Loma Linda and played a major role in the city’s early history.

Jim Shipp is a retired Redlands school teacher and has given tours of the adobe for over the last decade. He says, “You can tell the whole story of the south side of the San Bernardino Valley standing almost at any point along Mission Road.”

Shipps says the Frink Adobe is the oldest standing structure in Loma Linda and the only location in town on the state registrar of historic places. “It was where the first citrus trees were planted in the Inland Empire, way before Riverside, way before Redlands, and a private railroad ran between San Bernardino and Redlands, and it was developed by the people along Mission Road,” added Shipp.

Joe Frink
Loma Linda Area Parks and Historical Society
Portrait of Horace Monroe Frink, who built the Frink Adobe in the early 1860s.

The property was purchased by a developer with the caveat that the adobe must be preserved. What’s under consideration is how much land surrounding the Adobe will be given back to Loma Linda.

Joe Frink is on the historical commission and is the third-great grandson of Horace Monroe Frink, who originally built the adobe in the early 1860s. “I guess it’s not so much the adobe, but what the adobe represents," said Frink.

Frink says wanting to preserve and protect the property isn’t about him but about helping others remember Horace's impact on the community. He added, “I kind of made a vow to him (Horace), my dad, and my grandpa that I would do everything I can in my power to save that (adobe) and get it restored.”

Dr. Audrey Maier is an independent historian and spoke on how she thinks the proposed plans by the developer are too small. “And so what we’re asking for is an increased lot, so that it has a larger space for public gatherings, for parking, for accessibility, for the space to really have the power that it needs to, to tell the story that it needs to tell,” Maier says.

Dr. Maier said that being present in such a historic place creates the power of place, which she says is when places hold social and historical meaning and can connect people to each other and to their history and memory.

Maier added, “And what we want with this lot, is that space so that the power is there so that we can have inter-generational conversations, we can have community picnics, and reunions. We can have space for children to investigate the grounds, to create adobe bricks, and to talk with elders and have these larger conversations.”

Joe Frink
Loma Linda Area Parks and Historical Society
The front porch of the Frink adobe with cars in the driveway sometime around the year 1940.

Jim Shipp agrees with Dr. Maier's comments and added that the current plans would make the adobe lot the smallest lot on Mission Road. “It’s just a magnificent place, and there’s many of us in the community who feel like it deserves breathing room, space to hold events, space to have exhibits, activities, and events."

The current plans proposed by the developer include preserving historic orange trees and keeping an existing neighborhood trail. The Loma Linda Planning Commission will be next to discuss the issue sometime in February, with no word yet if the developer will be changing the plans.