Earlham Hall is located at 13504 Earlham Drive and is known as Earlham Hall/Tebbetts-Coffin House. It is affiliated with two prominent figures of the City, the Reverend. Dr. Charles E. Tebbetts (1854-1929) and Dr. William Vestal Coffin, M.D. (1857-1949).
Born in Muscatine, Iowa in 1854, the Reverend Dr. Charles E. Tebbetts moved from Iowa to California in 1887. A year later, he participated in the formation of the First Friends College in Whittier (the predecessor of modern day Whittier College) in 1888. By 1892, he became a registered pastor of the Friends Churches of both Pasadena and Whittier. In 1900, he became president of Whittier College and also served as the first president of the newly incorporated Whittier College in 1902. A year later (1903), he built the existing residence at 13504 Earlham Drive. Prior to that time, Tebbetts and his family resided in the City of Pasadena. Tebbetts would continue as Whittier College president until 1907, when he resigned to take the position of General Secretary of the Friends Churches of America’s foreign missionary board. Between 1912-1913, Tebbetts and his family sold their home at 13504 Earlham Drive to Sarah N. Coffin, wife of Dr. William Vestal Coffin, a founding father of the City of Whittier. Tebbetts continued to live in Whittier and resided at 7701 Painter Avenue at the time of his death in 1929.
Dr. William Vestal Coffin, M.D., was born in Guilford, N.C. in 1857. He moved to Whittier in 1890, following in the footsteps of his immediate family who had already settled in the community. The following year (1891), Coffin played an instrumental role in the founding of the Third Whittier (Friends) Academy (a predecessor of modern day Whittier College). Dr. Coffin later served as one of the original professors of the Third Academy, teaching mathematics and chemistry. In early 1895, he became the Assistant Superintendent of the Whittier State School (now known as the Fred C. Nelles Youth Authority) and served in that capacity well into the 20th Century. In 1897, Dr. Coffin and other prominent leaders in Whittier organized to discuss the incorporation of the “Quaker Colony” (Whittier) into an incorporated City. An election was subsequently held on February 19, 1898, which resulted in Whittier’s successful incorporation as a City, with Dr. William V. Coffin, and four other prominent members of the community, selected to serve on the City of Whittier’s first Board of Trustees (now known as the City Council). Shortly thereafter, Coffin resigned from the Whittier Board of Trustees to become a ship’s doctor that was chartered to Alaska to participate in the Alaskan Gold Rush. By 1901, Coffin was back in Whittier and resumed his leadership role within the community. Among his many other accolades, Dr. Coffin served as President of Whittier College’s Board of Trustees, founder and first President of the Whittier Y.M.C.A. and founding member of the Whittier Board of Trade (now known as the Whittier Chamber of Commerce). On March 12, 1913, Dr. Coffin’s wife, Sarah, purchased the property at 13504 Earlham Drive from Whittier College President Rev. Dr. Charles Tebbett.
The Coffins resided at the residence until at least 1938 when the property was sold and later donated to Whittier College and christened “Earlham Hall.” Dr. Coffin later resided with his wife at 13421 Sunset Drive (in Whittier) at the time of his death in 1949.
Local designation date of ELIGIBILITY is July 9, 2008.
SOURCES: The information above has been obtained from the original local designation documents and edits from the Whittier Historic Neighborhood Association. It may also include ongoing current ownership input. Please contact us with updated information that you possess.