California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
FRANK STUTT.— The firm of Stutt Brothers at Redlands has the largest automobile sales agency in the two counties of San Bernardino and Riverside. The firm is composed of Frank Stutt and his half-brother. Robert Leith. They are men of exceptional enterprise, and their record is an inspiriting example of what energy will accomplish in Southern California or anywhere else for that matter. They have been associated not only on terms of relationship but as business partners and close friends. They began with neither capital nor credit, and the score of their personal influence and abilities developed the great business now known as Stutt Brothers.
Frank Stutt was born at Toronto, Canada, July 25, 1873, and came to Los Angeles in 1895. He was educated in Canada. His first employment at Los Angeles was in a grocery store, later he was clerk in a department store at Riverside, and for about a year conducted a grocery. Selling out, he moved to Redlands and bought an oil gasoline route and supply station. He served the retail trade of the city and surrounding country, supplying homes and pumping plants. Mr. Stutt delivered the first load of gasoline at the Canyon Crest pumping plant,, and stood by while the Smiley Brothers started the plant, pumping the first water that marked the beginning of the transformation of a desert of hills and canyons into the beautiful park known as Smiley's Heights. Mr. Stutt was in the oil and gasoline business about a year, and then became associated with his half brother under the name Stutt Brothers. They open^ a small store and shop on Citrus Avenue for repairing and selling bicycles and sewing machines. Their chief capital consisted of a monkey wrench and screw driver. By degrees they added to their line, extending to a general supply of sporting goods and novelties. They brought this business to a prosperous condition and finally sold for seventeen thousand dollars.
Perhaps their most interesting experiences have been as automobile dealers. For several years they operated the Casa Luna Garage, and they have the distinction of selling the first one-cylinder OMs car in this community, and later sold the Reo one cylinder. Both these cars sold for eight hundred and fifty dollars. In 1914 Stutt Brothers signed a contract with Dodge Brothers for the local sales agency. At that time they had never seen a picture of a Dodge car, and in fact no cars of that name had marketed. Stutt Brothers secured the agency for the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside. It was a contraction purely of faith, since they banked on Dodge Brothers as manufacturers of ability, competent to put out a car of great merit. They took orders for forty-eight cars before the first Dodge was delivered in December, 1914. Their extensive business has grown rapidily with passing years and is now directed from their home sales office at the comer of Citrus Avenue and Fourth Street in Redlands, but with branches in San Bernardino and Riverside and agencies in all the leading towns of these counties. The present handsome sales rooms, service station and office at Redlands furnishes an interesting and striking contrast, one which the writer personally appreciates, with the original little bicycle repair shop.
Mr. Frank Stutt married in Canada Miss Mary Elizabeth Odell, a native of England. They have a son, Herbert, born January 8, 1900, a graduate of the Redlands High School, a student in Claremont College, and now employed by E. A. Featherstone & Company of Los Angeles. Frank Stutt is a member of Redlands Lodge No. 583, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Redlands Lodge No. 186, Knights of Pythias, is a member of the University Club, the Automobile Club of America and the Chamber of Commerce, and is an enthusiastic worker for everything that means additional benefit to Redlands and Southern California.
His partner and associate, Robert Leith, was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1883, and joined his half-brother in California two years after Mr. Stutt came here. They have since been associated in business and other affairs. Mr. Leith returned to Canada to marry Miss Carrie Redpath, and brought his bride to Redlands.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011