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Buddy Redman: Preserving Antelope Valley History

William Andrew “Buddy” Redman moved to the Antelope Valley from Monroe City, Missouri in 1911 when he was eight years old. His mother was ill and like many first inhabitants of the Antelope Valley, his family moved in hopes that the higher, drier climate would help with the illness. Redman would attend school at the second Lancaster Grammar School located on the south side of Tenth Street between Beech and Cedar Avenues (See Figure 1). MOAH Collections has several photos of the school building as well as class photos of its students, one of which may have a young Buddy hidden in the crowd of students (See Figure 2).

In a Valley Press article entitled “Pioneer school children were sometimes naughty too”, local historian Norma Gurba recounts Redman’s memories from childhood. In December of 1911, right before Christmas, the Antelope Valley Steam Laundry which was downtown near the second Lancaster Grammar School exploded in a fiery blaze. The explosion was caused by the pipes exploding from very cold weather. Redman and his class of forty other students were able to see the accident across the street from their school and they erupted in excitement, running outside to see the flames. The two teachers at the school, one in charge of the upstairs with older students and one for downstairs with the younger students, were unable to keep the classroom wrangled inside. Eventually everyone was rounded up and no one was injured from the laundry explosion (Gurba, 2021). In addition, Redman recalled the principal of the school, Mrs. Abriel, who would beat students over the calf of their leg for punishment. In addition, boys and girls were divided on the playground by a high board fence and were only placed together during lunch time.

In an interview with the LA times in 1989 at 89 years old, Redman recalled that in 1918, the influenza epidemic began, and he and his family were sick. He recalls that local legend Myrtle “Myrtie” Webber, local nurse and proprietor of the Western Hotel Museum, took a buggy out to their ranch to care for their family. He recalls “Everybody knew Myrtle. She was a good woman” (Rotella, 1989).

Redman would later go on to attend Antelope Valley High School and played on the football team. During this time, it was the only high school in the Antelope Valley so dorms were built on campus for those students who came in from further away. These dorms were located on Ave. I and were in existence until 1926. In his interview with Park View Students in 1972, Redman recounts that there were jobs for high school students including working on farms bailing hay. These jobs paid two dollars a day plus room and board. In addition, students could take buses in from far off areas to come to high school. These buses were first run by student drivers in 1919 (See Figure 3). By 1925, just after Redman would have finished high school, there were seven buses in the service and men were hired as drivers (Gurba, 2005). Buddy Redman’s father, William Redman Sr. worked as an assistant and later postmaster from 1914-1922. Several photos of William Redman Sr. can be found in the MOAH collections (See Figures 4 and 5).

Later, Redman would work from September of 1922 until February 1929 for Union Oil Company. Redman even stayed at the Western Hotel Museum himself during this time when he began driving oil trucks. He would marry Frieda Redman on February 22, 1925 (See Figures 6, 7, and 8) (Antelope Valley Rural Museum). He and a man named George Taylor then obtained the Texas Company Wholesale Distributing Plant for oil, and they operated it until 1946. That year Redman bought a local tire shop and ran it for six months before moving on to work for H.W. Hunter who owned the Dodge-Chrysler auto agency in Lancaster in 1949. He held that job until he opened his own auto agency in 1960, which he named Redman Plymouth. He would retire in 1981.

In addition to his career, Redman played an active role in the city’s development. He was the original director of AV Fair and Alfalfa Festival from 1941-1955 and the grandstand at the old AV Fairgrounds is named after him. He served on the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency from 1962-1973 and helped build Challenger Memorial Hall at the old AV Fair grounds. He helped found Lancaster’s original Junior Chamber of Commerce, was president of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, and charter member of Lancaster Elks Lodge. In addition to all these accomplishments, Redman served as honorary mayor of Lancaster and was appointed Treasurer in February of 1978. He served as Treasurer until he died in 1992 at the age of 88 (See Figure 9). Redman had no children of his own but had many nieces and nephews. His wife Frieda Redman would die in 1987 and they are both buried in the Lancaster Cemetery.

In his retirement, buddy Redman would promote the history of Lancaster by providing tours of the Western Hotel Museum to guests after it was refurbished. In an LA times interview in 1989, it is mentioned that ‘he generally is pleased with the effort to preserve a place where his life and Lancaster’s history intertwine. “They fixed it up pretty nice,” he says. “It’s nice to have it here for posterity’s sake”’ (Rotella, 1989).

Found within MOAH’s collections department is a student research project book, entitled “Mirages, Mountains, and Mysteries: A regional study of the Antelope Valley” which was compiled by a group of one hundred and thirty seventh and eighth grade students from Team II at Park View School in 1972 (See Figure 10). This text features an interview with Buddy Redman entitled “Buddy Redman- Pioneer" by Sue Waligora, Liz Owens, and Tim Fuller. The text of an interview has been dictated below.

Buddy Redman- Pioneer

By Sue Waligora, Liz Owens, and Tim Fuller

In order to obtain information for our regional studies, the three of us went to our most valuable resource- the people themselves, or, in our case Mr. Buddy Redman. We set up an appointment, collected our notebooks and off we went.

We appeared in front of Redman Plymouth right on schedule and were shown to Mr. Redman’s office. Upon entering, we laughed and joked, trying to cover up our uneasiness while awaiting his arrival. When he came in, we were stumbling around setting up our tape recorder and trying to act confident. He stood at the door and gave us a cheery greeting. Soon he maneuvered his way to his huge, over-proportioned desk, surrounded by all of his trophies and plaques. His office was a bright room even though there were no windows.

He was a cordial man, truthful, well-mannered, and “broke-the-ice" quite easily with us. He lit a cigarette that seemed somehow to relax the atmosphere and in a short while we were rattling off questions left and right.

Had we not met him, our impression would have been he was strictly a businessman with seemingly high qualities. But, as we became more involved with him, he revealed not only his businesslike capabilities but his bold, straight-forward attitude and his fantastic sense of humor as well.

His past was vivid and colorful and he spoke of it as something gone but not to be forgotten. School days were the most intense in his mind and, when he spoke of them, a faraway look was noticeable in his eyes. He gave us the indication that he would like to return to his younger days, but, that being impossible, he was content with his present-day life.

We were so interested in what he had to say that we completely lost track of time. We concluded our interview with full notebooks and a great deal more knowledge about the Antelope Valley. Mr. Redman moved to the valley in 1911 when he was eight years old. His mother was ill and the doctor told his family they would have to move to a higher, drier climate. When they arrived, the town was small with a population of about five hundred. There were two main streets, Lancaster Blvd., which is now 10th St., and Antelope Ave., now Sierra Hwy.

He began his education at the Lancaster Grammar School which had about forty students in attendance. Besides being beaten over the calf for your leg for punishment, the principal, Mrs. Abriel, separated the boys from the girls. The playground was divided by a high board fence. The girls used the west side and the boys used the east. The only time the boys and girls were assembled together was for lunch, when the girls ate in the pavilion with the boys. There was a flowing well located in the back of the school and Mrs. Abriel had it piped up into a drinking fountain on both sides of the high board fence. During his high school years, Mr. Redman attended Antelope Valley High School. Since it was the only high school in the Antelope Valley, students who could not be bused in stayed in dorms located on Ave. I. These dorms were in existence until 1926. Jobs for high school students were mainly working on farms bailing hay. These jobs paid two dollars a day, plus room and board which meant sleeping outside.

Recreation meant swimming in a reservoir fed by a flowing well or a weekly movie in which one paid ten cents admission, sat on a wooden bench, and watched silent films accompanied by a live pianist. Many people had radios and later, preferred them to television since the reception was so bad.

The small town was very friendly and people gathered together from miles around to listen to special events on the radio. Whomever owned a good radio set was sure to have a houseful of people come World Series Time. The same was true for barn-raisings and sewing parties. As many as thirty men would gather to help a neighbor raise his barn and the women would have sewing parties to make baby clothes for anyone having a baby.

Farmers with alfalfa fields put up rabbit fences made of chicken wire to keep the rabbits out. After the alfalfa had been harvested and only the stubble remained, Mr. Redman would go out at night and make a hole in the fence, allowing the rabbits to come in and eat the stubble. In the morning he would close the hole, fencing in twenty-five to thirty rabbits in a night. Then he took the rabbit pelts, pressed them, put them in a gunny sack, and tagged them for the Los Angeles Soap Company. The company would give him four to six cents for one pelt.

Mr. Redman started in the car business in 1949 with a trucking partnership that lasted about ninety days. From July to September of 1949, he worked for a chemical company and from September of 1922 until February 1929 he worked for Union Oil. He and George Taylor then obtained the Texas Company Wholesale Distributing Plant. They operated that until 1946. That year Mr. Redman bought a tire shop. The tire shop was kept for six months and then sold. At that time, he bought a pipe yard, and it too was sold. In 1949 he went to work for Mr. H.W. Hunter who owned the Dodge-Chrysler auto agency in Lancaster. He held that job until he opened his own Plymouth auto agency in 1960.

When he came to Lancaster, there was only one car in town. It was a Cadillac, belonging to a real estate agent who used it to sell land. He had his first car in 1917 at the age of 14. It was called a Brush and it had only one cylinder. He paid one hundred dollars for his first Model T Ford in 1921 and it was a 1919 model. At that time, the Model T Ford was the most popular car to own. His first new car was a Model T Ford purchased from a Ford dealer in Palmdale. He referred to him as “a little hunched back fellow by the name of Hoppy Moore.” Mr. Redman presently owns the Redman Plymouth Agency, located on Sierra Highway in Lancaster.

Works Cited

Antelope Valley Rural Museum. William “Buddy” Redman photographs Facebook post. William "Buddy" Redman... - Antelope Valley Rural Museum | Facebook.

Gurba, Norma H. Images of America Lancaster. Arcadia Publishing, 2005.

Gurba, Norma H. “Pioneer school children were sometimes naughty too”. Antelope Valley Press. Nov. 11, 2021. Pioneer school children were sometimes naughty, too | Valley Life |

Los Angeles Times. Obituary for William M. “Buddy” Redman. LA Times Archives. March 26, 1992.

Rotella, Sebastian. “New Museum Keeps Old Lancaster Alive”. Los Angeles Times. December 17, 1989.

Figure 1: The Second Lancaster Grammar School, a two-story red brick structure with a bell tower constructed on the south side of Tenth Street between Beech and Cedar avenues.This scene was taken on February 3, 1903 (Gurba, 2005; MOAH Collections).

Figure 2: The Second Lancaster Grammar School in 1911, there were four teachers and 100 pupils. It is possible that Buddy Redman is featured in this photograph when he first arrived in Lancaster(Gurba, 2005; photograph from MOAH Collections).

Figure 3: Buses to transport Antelope Valley High School Students (Gurba, 2005; photograph from MOAH Collections).

Figure 4: “Butcher Ted Knoll stands in front of his Lancaster Market. Next door was the fourth location of the towns’ post office. A postal assistant and postmaster, William Redman [likely the father to Buddy Redman], stands next to Knoll. The post office was located next to the bank on the south side of 10th Street, between Beech and Antelope Avenues. This post office opened in February 1925”(Gurba, 2005; photograph from MOAH Collections).

Figure 5: Postmaster William Redman is the second person from the left on this snowday photograph (Gurba, 2005; MOAH Collections).

Figure 6: Buddy Redman marries Frieda Redman on February 22, 1925 (Photo from Antelope Valley Rural Museum).

Figure 7: Buddy Redman and Frieda Redman on wedding day on February 22, 1925 (Photo from Antelope Valley Rural Museum).

Figure 8: Buddy Redman and Frieda Redman with family on wedding day on February 22, 1925 (Photo from Antelope Valley Rural Museum).

Figure 9: Buddy Redman Obituary (LA Times Archives, March 26, 1992).

Figure 10: “Mirages, Mountains, and Mysteries” front cover (MOAH Collections).


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