Daniel Battles

Left: Daniels built this Victorian home for his family. Right: Daniel Battles constructed the First Methodist Church.

Daniel Battles left his Maine home for the warm, dry climate of California in order to escape the harsh winters his doctor told him would kill him within a year. Like other easterners with tuberculosis, Daniel Battles chose Riverside and his health improved after his move to the city in 1873. In 1874, having proved his doctor wrong, Battles purchased 10 acres on Bandini Avenue between Brockton and Magnolia, adjacent to the canal, and planted 56 orange trees, starting more from seed.

A carpenter by trade, Daniel built a small house for his wife, Sarah, and four children. While he waited for his own grove to begin to produce, he built the First Methodist Church and also the first schoolhouse in Riverside, between Lime and Mulberry on Sixth Street.

By 1888, the Battles family had outgrown the small house and Daniel added a second story to what became a ten-room, two-bath structure. In addition to a redwood entrance hall and beautiful staircase, the house featured a small cupola on the roof.

Daniel Battles died at age 60 in 1895, having outlived his doctor’s prediction by more than 20 years.