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Mission Elementary School

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A Brief History of Mission Elementary School

Mission Elementary has a long history in Redlands, CA. According to author and historian, Tom Atchley in the book, Mission School: A History. Mission schools first began educating pupils in 1820 during the Redlands area growth in agriculture through to the reopening of Mission Elementary in 2011 by the Redlands Unified School District.

The following is the chronology of schools in the Mission area by Tom Atchley:

  • 1820 - Carlos Garcia begins to educate Native Americans in agriculture
  • 1853 - Mrs. Nathan Tenney school at the second Estancia site on Barton hill was part of Los Angeles School District prior to the formation of San Bernardino County
  • 1854 - Van Leuven private school begins on Cottonwood Row
  • 1857 - Mission School District is formed using the Van Leuven school house
  • 1866 - San Timoteo District splits from Mission District
  • 1877 - Lugonia School District splits from Mission District
  • 1881 - Mission School is built on Cottonwood Row
  • 1882 - Crafton School District splits from Lugonia District
  • 1884 Redlands School District splits from Mission Dristrict and Crafton District
  • 1885 - Two new classroom additions are constructed for Mission School
  • 1892 - Barton Tract School (southwest corner of Redlands Blvd. and Alabama Street) opens
  • 1901 - Barton school opens
  • 1904 - Mission School on Cottonwood Row replaces 1881 building but the 1885 addition is moved to Bryn Mawr
  • 1911 - Bryn Mawr (Junction) School incorporates the 1885 Mission School addition
  • 1937 - New WPA Mission School at California Street and Redlands Blvd. opens
  • 1945 - Bonds pass to enlarge Mission School with additional classrooms
  • 1950 - Victoria Elementary School on Richardson and Hardt opens
  • 1963 - Mission School District joins Redlands Unified School District
  • 1968 - Superintendent Fred Heisner adds special education and orthopedically handicapped facilities to Mission School
  • 1970 - The Heisner Building is named; it is dedicated in 1972
  • 1993 - New Bryn Mawr School opens at 11680 Whittier Avenue, Loma Linda
  • 1994 - The 1937 Mission School closes
  • 1996 - Mission School campus is leased to San Bernardino County for Mission Community Day School
  • 2006 - Barbara Phelps School at Nevada and Park opens
  • 2007 - The Heisner building is converted to Redlands Adult Education administration and classrooms
  • 2010 - Redlands Unified School District decides to revitalize and reopen the 1937 Mission School
  • 2011 - Mission School reopens with 200 students
  • 2012 - Formal rededication of Mission School

Atchley, Tom. Mission School: a history
©San Bernardino County Museum Association Quarterly, vol. 57, No 1, 2012
2024 Orange Tree Lane, Redlands, CA 92374-45600 USA

The 1881 Mission School on the south side of Cottonwood Row. The 1885 addition is visible at left rear. Miss Jennie Newton, teacher, stands with students.

The 1904 Mission School was constructed in Mission Revival style. It replaced the 1881 building on the same site; the original 1881 bell was hung in the new bell tower.

Mission School students and teachers, 1950s

Mission School students and teachers, 1950s