The area now occupied by Redlands was originally part of the territory of the Morongo and Aguas Calientes tribes of Cahuilla people.Explorations such as those of Pedro Fages and Francisco Garcés sought to extend Catholic influence to the indigenous people and the dominion of the Spanish crown into the area in the 1770s.
The area northwest of current Redlands, astride the Santa Ana River, would become known as Lugonia.
In 1851, the area received its first Anglo inhabitants in the form of several hundred Mormon pioneers, who purchased the entire Rancho San Bernardino, founded nearby San Bernardino, and established a prosperous farming community watered by the many lakes and streams of the San Bernardino Mountains.
The Mormon community left wholesale in 1857, recalled to Utah by Brigham Young during the tensions with the federal government that ultimately led to the brief Utah War.
Benjamin Barton purchased 1,000 acres (4 km "The first settler on the site of the present Redlands is recorded to have erected a hut at the corner of what is now Cajon St.
and Cypress Ave.; he was a sheep herder, and the year, 1865," reported Ira L.
Swett in "Tractions of the Orange Empire." Lugonia attracted settlers; in 1869, Barry Roberts, followed a year later by the Craw and Glover families. Beattie, arrived in 1874—shortly followed by the town's first negro settler, Israel Beal." In the 1880s, the arrival of the Southern Pacific and Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroads, connecting Southern California to San Francisco and Salt Lake triggered a land boom, with speculators such as John W.