By Dennis E. Park ’07-hon, consulting editor/historian
In 1905, Anderson Street was a dusty dirt road that merged with Hill Street to the north as the street rounded the hill on which the Sanitarium stood overlooking the farmland that Anderson street bisected as it continued north. Anderson Street ended to the south at the Loma Linda hills. Today, the route is much the same, but the winds of progress over the last 115 years have shaped the southwest section of the campus. The black and white photo depicts an early 20th century Anderson Street from Hill Drive to Barton Road as it was circa 1905. Then there is the color image of the 21st century Anderson Street, dated March 26, 2020. As progress dictated, Anderson Street became a four-lane thoroughfare, which hosts a traffic light at Prospect Avenue. Prospect Avenue is a two-lane thoroughfare that runs east to west perpendicular to Anderson Street. Prospect connects the campus to the four-story Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans’ Hospital, which is seven-tenths of a mile to the east.
In the mid-1950s, changes to the east side of Anderson were in the air. Several acres of citrus trees were designated by the College of Medical Evangelists (now Loma Linda University) Board of Trustees to be sacrificed (uprooted) for the sake of institutional, commercial development. It was not long until the bulldozers began uprooting the citrus trees. From Mound Street to the north, Prospect Avenue to the south, to another orchard to the east, and Anderson Street to the west, the trees were uprooted, stacked in piles, and set ablaze. Burning the trees is a way to destroy trees that may suffer from citrus leaf curl or other contagious diseases.
The property was developed in three stages. The post office (now the LLUH Welcome Center) was completed in 1956. In 1957, the First National Security Bank opened its doors. Finally, in 1958, the two-story building that would become known as the Business Center was finished. It was during this time that the two-lane Anderson Street was widened to four lanes. In the early 1960s, more citrus trees were uprooted to make room for the Loma Linda Market and Hardware Store.
Then in 1967, the new Loma Linda University Hospital (now known as Loma Linda University Medical Center) opened, making Anderson Street the artery to the main entrance to the hospital.
In the mid-1970s, the University built a two-story convenience center located on the northeast side of the market. The development in this area ended in the late 1970s after the Security Pacific National Bank building was constructed on the northeast corner of Anderson Street and Prospect Avenue. Today, Bank of America leases the property from the University.
The hammer blows of progress were quiet north of Barton Road along Anderson Street until 2015 when the heavy equipment arrived to begin the make-ready work in preparation for the big dig east of the existing LLU Medical Center and Children’s Hospital. Today, the skyline along Anderson Street is dramatically different. A 17-story Adult Hospital tower commands the heights around the campus and Inland Empire.