Results tagged “mission inn” from Raincross Square

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From the eclectic Mission Inn and magnificent County Courthouse to the modern City Hall and mid-century public library, downtown Riverside is rich in architectural history and variety. Fortunately, many of these gems are within walking distance down a few adjoining streets. As such, we've created a few short circular, self-guided tours -- Mission Inn Avenue, University Avenue and Main Street.

The three tours, which we first produced for ThingsToDoInlandEmpire.com, can easily be completed within 1 to 2 hours each (depending, of course, on how fast you walk). So print out the articles, put on your walking shoes, grab a bottle of water and be sure to bring your camera!


TOUR: MISSION INN AVENUE | MAP: View a larger Google Maps of this tour




TOUR: UNIVERSITY AVENUE | MAP: View a larger Google Maps of this tour




TOUR: MAIN STREET | MAP: View a larger Google Maps of this tour


Photo pool spotlight - 12/23/2011

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Flickr - Raincross Square photo pool

Got a great photo of downtown Riverside or the city in general? Add it to the Raincross Square photo pool. Or view what others have uploaded.


19th Annual 'Festival of Lights'

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2011
Final preparations for the
Mission Inn (top) and the ice rink

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2009
Main Street near the Mission Inn

The 19th Annual Festival of Lights is set to begin Friday afternoon (Nov. 25) in downtown Riverside, with the official "switch-on" ceremony & fireworks taking place just after 5:00 p.m. in front of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. (Be sure to arrive early for the opening night ceremony!)

Each year, thousands of visitors gather in and around the Mission Inn and along the downtown pedestrian mall for the daily festivities, which includes 3.6 million holiday lights, 400 animated figures -- one of the country's largest holiday displays.

Roving carolers, carriage rides, an ice rink, live entertainment, shopping, dining and -- of course -- photos with Santa round out the festivities.

This year's Festival runs daily from November 25 through January 8, 2012 (excepting Christmas).

As usual, free parking (street and garage) is available after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on the weekends and holidays. Your best bet is within five parking garages:

You can also check out activity via two city webcams: Mission Inn | Skating Rink

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Photo pool spotlight - 10/09/2011

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Flickr - Raincross Square photo pool

Got a great photo of downtown Riverside or the city in general? Add it to the Raincross Square photo pool. Or view what others have uploaded.


18th Annual 'Festival of Lights'

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2009
Main Street near the Mission Inn

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2009
Pedestrian mall ice rink

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2009
Pedestrian mall
at Mission Inn Avenue

The 18th Annual Festival of Lights is set to begin Friday, Nov. 26 in downtown Riverside, with the official "switch-on" ceremony taking place just after 6:00 p.m. in front of the Mission Inn. This year's Festival runs from November 26 through January 2, 2011 (excepting Christmas).

Each year, thousands of visitors crowd the areas in and around the Mission Inn and along the downtown pedestrian mall for the festivities, which includes over 3.5 million holiday lights and animated figures, an ice rink, live entertainment, shopping, dining and -- of course -- photos with Santa.

This year, the city is seeking photos for creating what it hopes will be the world's largest holiday card for U.S. troops. The card will be a 20-by-30-foot collage of submitted photos and messages. You can submit your photo/message at the city's 'Festival of Lights' Website. There will also be a both on the pedestrian mall on selected days. Photos must be submitted by December 5th.

As usual, free parking (street and garage) is available after 5 p.m. during the week and all day on the weekends and holidays. Your best bet for easy parking is within five parking garages -- three on Orange Street: Ninth | University | Mission Inn; and two on Market Street: Ninth | University.

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'Undercovers' at the Mission Inn

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Sept. 2010
Filming of 'Undercovers'
at the Mission Inn

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Sept. 2010
Filming outside the
Mission Inn's Alhambra suite

This past week, Riverside's Mission Inn became a South American backdrop for a new television series called 'Undercovers' on NBC.

For several days, film crews shot in and around the historic hotel in downtown Riverside, lining nearby streets with production vehicles and cast member trailers. We also spotted a wardrobe trailer and at least one van used as a prop in the episode being filmed.

The new series -- co-created and produced by J.J. Abrams of 'Felicity,' 'Alias' and 'Lost' fame as well as the latest Star Trek movie -- is set to premiere Wednesday Sept. 22 on NBC. It stars Boris Kodjoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Gerald McRaney.

From NBC:

For former spies Steven and Samantha Bloom, normal life gets a lot more interesting when they're thrust back into the espionage world.


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2010
Preparing for filming
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2010
Staging
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Directions
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2010
Filming


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Update, Nov. 3: Mission Inn episode: "The Blooms are sent to Lima, Peru where an assassination plot has been orchestrated against the president-elect." Check out the episode, "Assassin" below:





View a preview of the new series below:


Out & About - 08/07/2010

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Main Street pedestrian mall
Slideshow: Out & About


This past weekend saw us out and about downtown on both Friday and Saturday.

On Friday evening, downtown was relatively busy as a special screening of "Gone With the Wind" brought a sold-out audience to the newly-restored Fox Performing Arts Center. The showing included appearances from 4 of the 7 surviving cast members at a special gala held before Friday's re-screening.

While downtown, we took an impromptu tour of the Mission Inn, following it up with a bite to eat at one of the hotel's unique eateries. Later, we strolled along the Main Street pedestrian mall, which was alive with other downtown patrons.

Saturday morning found the pedestrian mall and weekly farmer's market busy with both shoppers and walkers alike. A re-opened Simple Simon's helped keep the outdoor dining area filled with folks taking advantage of the mild summer temperatures.

Nearby, we spotted the emergence of the former De Anza Chevrolet behind a recently-removed facade on Market Street (one | two). In the early 1960s, 7 new car dealers downtown -- including De Anza -- came together to build the Riverside Auto Center, which was the first auto center of its kind when it opened in 1965 alongside the 91 Freeway at Adams Street. Today, De Anza Chevrolet, one of the seven original auto center dealers, is known as Singh Chevrolet.

Slideshow: Out & About


Out & About - 12/19/2009

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Festive decorations at every corner during downtown Riverside's yearly 'Festival of Lights'
Slideshow: Out & About


On Saturday evening, we spent a couple hours browsing and shopping during the annual 'Festival of Lights' in downtown Riverside, snapping a few photos -- and finding a few nice surprises along the way.

First, it was great to once again see the storefront windows -- decorated and lit up for the holidays -- for the long-shuttered Westbrook's / Imperial Hardware building. We're hoping the windows remain on display following the holidays (possibly for historical/museum displays ... ?).

Second, the newly opened 3rd floor for Mission Galleria offered sweeping views of the pedestrian mall below.

And finally, it was nice to see fresh art sculptures (one | two) along the pedestrian mall near UCR/California Museum of Photography.

We found the newly refurbished pedestrian mall to work quite well with the large crowds, particularly alongside the Mission Inn. The new layout allowed for a larger ice rink and a larger events stage.

The Festival of Lights includes an ice rink, carriage rides, carolers, shopping, food, entertainment -- and Santa Claus. Oh, and of course, the centerpiece is the historic Mission Inn decorated with over 3.5 million lights and hundreds of animated displays.

The event runs daily (excepting Christmas) through January 3.

Slideshow: Out & About

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Anne Rice and the Mission Inn

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Angel Time
Random House

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Mission Inn
West facade

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Mission Inn
Main lobby

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Mission Inn
Interior courtyard architecture

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Mission Inn
International Rotunda

With a hotel as unique and eclectic as the Mission Inn, it's no wonder many actors, artists and writers have found the place invigorating and inspiring. Among them include Will Rogers, Paul Newman, Jack Lemmon, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Zona Gale and Carrie Jacobs Bonds. On Saturday, yet another name was added to the list: best-selling author Anne Rice.

Best known for her Vampire Chronicles books, which includes "Interview with the Vampire," Rice used the Mission Inn as a backdrop for her latest book, "Angel Time." The book is the first in a new series entitled, "Songs of the Seraphim." (Book two, which is yet to be published, is also set at the Mission Inn.)

Rice, who hails from New Orleans but now resides in nearby Rancho Mirage (Palm Springs), first visited the Mission Inn shortly after moving to Southern California in 2006. It was on her first visit to the Inn in which the author says she "fell in love" with the hotel and decided to use it as a setting for her upcoming series.

As part of the book's recent release, Rice returned to the Mission Inn on Saturday to sign copies of the new book. While there, the Inn's Amistad Suite (aka the "Bridal Suite") -- a key location in both the book's writing and its setting -- was dedicated to Rice, who now shares the distinction with author Anne Cameron. (Btw, the Amistad Suite was also actor Paul Newman's favorite room while staying at the Mission Inn whenever he raced or visited the now-gone Riverside International Raceway.)

On the Mission Inn as inspiration, Rice had this to say:

"I just fell in love with the place and I stayed in the Amistad Suite, which they've renamed the Anne Rice suite. So this became a big part of the book for me. And I think loving New Orleans as I do, it was natural for me to fall in love with this place. It has history, it's charming and excessive and all that."
The Press-Enterprise

Which reminds us of similar sentiments written by Will Rogers after staying at the Mission Inn for several days in 1934:

"It is the most unique hotel in America. It's a monastery, a museum, a fine hotel, a home, a boardinghouse, a mission, an art gallery and an aviator's shrine. It combines the best features of all of the above. If you are ever in any part of California, don't miss this famous Mission Inn in Riverside."

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A look at local history books

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A Colony for California
Riverside Museum Press

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Riverside 1870-1940
Arcadia Publishing

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Riverside in
Vintage Postcards

Arcadia Publishing

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Riverside - Then & Now
Arcadia Publishing

Recently, local historian Hal Durian's weekly "Riverside Recollections" column spotlighted several local history books, including the very popular photo history books from Arcadia Publishing.

The Arcadia series includes several topics, including Images of America, Postcard History Series, Then & Now, Black America Series, Images of Sports, and Campus History Series.

Locally, several communities have been profiled in the Arcadia series, including: Riverside, Corona, Norco, Jurupa, Rubidoux, Moreno Valley, Hemet, San Jacinto, Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula, Palm Springs, San Bernardino, Redlands, Loma Linda, Montclair, Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Crestline, Lake Arrowhead, and Big Bear.

Several cities, such as Riverside, even have multiple books: Riverside 1870-1940, Riverside in Vintage Postcards, Riverside - Then & Now, Riverside's Mission Inn, Riverside's Camp Anza & Arlanza, and Arlington.

There are also a number of single-topic books: Norconian Resort, March Air Force Base, Kaiser Steel, Fontana, The Harris' Company, Lake Mathews & Gavilan Hills, and Temecula Wine Country, and Route 66 in California.

Beyond the Arcadia books, which offer mostly a cursory review of local history in a quick, easy-to-digest visual format, there are several other local history books of Riverside to take note of.

In particular, local author Joan H. Hall has done great work documenting several aspects of Riverside. Her "Adobes, Bungalows and Mansions of Riverside, California - Revisited" (with co-author Esther H. Klotz) and "Cottages, Colonials and Community Places of Riverside California" are two of the best such works, offering insight on many of Riverside's homes, buildings and sites.

Hall has also wrote (and/or co-authored) several other important local histories, including "A Citrus Legacy," "Through the Doors of the Mission Inn," "Pursuing Eden," and "History of Citrus in the Riverside Area."

Along with Hall's many books, two other books are worth noting for their more in-depth look at local history: Steve Lech's, "Along the Old Roads -- A History of the Portion of Southern California that Became Riverside County, 1772-1893," which gives background information for communities of Riverside County; and the late Tom Patterson's, "A Colony for California," which is a loose collection of both factual and anecdotal accounts of Riverside's first one hundred years (1870-1970).

Most of these books are found at area museums and many local shops, plus Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. They can also be found on Amazon.com (click here for direct links to each book). And of course, the Arcadia books can also be found at Arcadia Publishing.


17th annual 'Festival of Lights'

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This week marks the beginning of the yearly "Festival of Lights" in downtown Riverside. Every night for 5 weeks between Nov. 27 and Jan. 3 (excepting Christmas), several blocks of the newly refurbished Main Street pedestrian mall come alive for the holidays.

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City of Riverside

The centerpiece of the Festival is the historic Mission Inn hotel, which will again be adorned with over 3.5 million holiday lights and hundreds of animated figures.
Along with the lights are an ice rink, carriage rides, carolers, shopping, food, entertainment -- and Santa Claus. Nearby shops and restaurants usually offer extended hours during the festival.

Friday, Nov. 27th is the event's official kick-off, which includes a special "switch on" ceremony and fireworks show that begins just after 6:00 p.m.

Parking for the nightly event is available in 4 municipal parking garages and on nearby streets (with free parking at all locations after 5 p.m. and all day on the weekends/holidays).

What originally began in 1993 as a hotel-only event has since grown to include city sponsorship, spreading to nearby shops and adjacent blocks. It has become one of America's largest holiday light displays.

Update

Related


Photo pool spotlight - 09/27/2009

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Flickr - Raincross Square photo pool

Got a great photo of downtown Riverside or the city in general? Add it to the Raincross Square photo pool. Or view what others have uploaded.


Photo pool spotlight - 12/29/2008

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Flickr - Raincross Square photo pool

Got a great photo of downtown Riverside or the city in general? Add it to the Raincross Square photo pool. Or view what others have uploaded.


2008 'Festival of Lights'

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2008
Festival of Lights

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2008
Mission Inn

In case you missed it, the 16th annual Festival of Lights began this past weekend in downtown Riverside. With 3.5 million lights and hundreds of animated figures, the crown jewel of the nightly festival is the historic Mission Inn hotel. As usual, Friday night's "lighting ceremony" incorporated extra festivities, including live music and fireworks.

Also included are an ice skating rink, carriage rides and several vendors and shops along the Main Street Pedestrian Mall. Most stores have extended their hours during the festival (something we'd like to see more of them do at other times during the year).

The festival runs nightly through January 4th (excepting Christmas Day). We suggest parking in one of the two available Orange Street parking garages, particularly if you're visiting Friday, Saturday or Sunday evenings (parking is free after 5 p.m. and all day on the weekends). Another garage is also available off Market Street between Mission Inn and University avenues.

For those looking to make dinner plans (or simply grab a quick bite), several top-notch restaurants and eateries -- including Mario's, Restaurant Omakase, Duane's, Las Campanas, Cafe Sevilla, Old Spaghetti Factory, Simple Simons, Phood on Main, Pacific Stix and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf -- are all within a few blocks.

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Previous


Photo pool spotlight - 08/19/2008

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Flickr - Raincross Square photo pool

Got a great photo of downtown Riverside or the city in general? Add it to the Raincross Square photo pool. Or view what others have uploaded.


GMA does FOL

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Last Friday, weatherman Sam Champion of ABC-TV's Good Morning America paid a visit to downtown Riverside for a special broadcast highlighting the Mission Inn's "Festival of Lights." The live broadcast was part of GMA's weeklong, "Light up the Holidays" special, wherein 5 different holiday displays from across the U.S. were featured during the program's weather segments.


2007
GMA visits the "Festival of Lights"

For those who missed the broadcast, InstantRiverside.com has a report here. For those interested in visiting the FOL, the festival runs nightly through Jan. 1, 2008. We suggest parking in one of the three Orange Street parking garages in downtown, particularly if you're visiting Friday, Saturday or Sunday evenings (parking is free after 5 p.m. and all day on the weekends). A fourth garage is also available off Market Street between Mission Inn and University avenues.

This is the 15th year of the FOL, which began as a modest, hotel-only holiday lights event that has since grown to include over 3 million lights, animated figures, carolers, carriage rides and a small ice skating rink on the Main Street Pedestrian Mall.

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Previous


Out & About - 10/06/2007

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Saturday, October 6, 2007 - This past Saturday, if one ventured down to the weekly Farmers Market held on the pedestrian mall in downtown Riverside, they couldn't help but hear the sounds from a multicultural festival just two blocks away.

The 9th Annual "Multicultural Family Village Festival" took place in front of the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, located on Mission Inn Avenue at Orange Street. Sponsored by the city-run museum, the modest festival included music, dance, arts & crafts and food from a number of local community groups.

The event gave us an excuse to revisit a special exhibit inside the Metropolitan Museum itself. The exhibit is the first of a two-part exhibit, "The Mission Inn: Celebrating 30 Years as a National Historic Landmark," which is being shared with the nearby Mission Inn Museum.

Part one -- "Creating a Legacy (1875 - 1955)" -- showcases personal artifacts from the Miller family during the Inn's early days, including paintings, photographs and a few pieces of furniture. Also on display is the original sketch (and U.S. Patent) for the Raincross symbol. The exhibit ends its 3-month run on October 14.

Part two -- "Saving the Community's Heritage (1955 - present)" -- documents the Inn during rough times following the end of the Miller family stewardship, the subsequent ownership changes and selling off of some of the Inn's treasures, the eventual multi-million dollar refurbishment and recent revival. This second exhibit opened last month at the Mission Inn Museum and runs through January 5, 2008.

Admission to both museums is free (though a nominal donation of $2 is gladly accepted).

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Mixed-use projects picking up steam

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Activity has picked up recently at 2 of 3 mixed-use projects under development in downtown Riverside, which will be the first combined residential/commercial projects within the city in several decades.


2007
Raincross Promenade


2007
m sole'


Fox Plaza
MetroPacific

At Raincross Promenade, bounded by First, Third, Main and Market streets, site clearing is well under way. Situated across from the city's convention center at Raincross Square, the site had been home to assorted auto repair shops, used car lots (1, 2), an aging "rental" motel as well as a few dilapidated homes and a couple of empty parcels.

Planned by Los Angeles-based developer Mark Rubin, whom has developed various projects in Riverside, Raincross Promenade will add upwards of 250 urban-style residential units on 2-blocks that will essentially anchor the north end of the Main Street pedestrian mall. Although we have yet to see precise plans, our hope is the development is such that it "draws in" the existing pedestrian mall, which currently fizzles out at the convention center.

Directly across Market Street, where developer Alan Mruvka is planning a similar mixed-use project, foundation work has begun on 10 live/work units as part of the first phase of m sole'. Mruvka plans upwards of 125 urban-style residential units in later phases, stretching along Market Street from Third to First streets (essentially mirroring Raincross Promenade).

Thus far, m sole' is the only one of the three to begin actual construction, let alone offer pre-sales (an information studio is currently housed within the historic Sante Fe depot located near Mission Inn Avenue and Vine Street).

Yet to break ground is the third mixed-use development planned for downtown, this one the eagerly anticipated Fox Plaza located at Mission Inn and Market. Included in the multi-phase plans are upwards of 500 urban-style residential units, 65,000 square feet of retail and a 130-room, full-service hotel. Currently, the site is occupied by the Stalder Building and various parking lots.

Situated near the heart of the pedestrian mall adjacent to restaurants, shops, museums and downtown offices -- not to mention some of the city's best historic architecture -- Fox Plaza will offer one of the few truly urban experiences within Inland Southern California. The one downside will be the loss of the historic Stalder, which once housed the city's first fire station.

Although all three projects are within a few blocks of one another and each will indeed strengthen the city's re-emerging urban core, we feel Fox Plaza has the greatest potential. Moreover, we're glad to see alternative options being added to the area's predominantly single-family residential landscape. And, we feel no place is better for such options than within a genuinely historic downtown setting, one which needn't be "manufactured" nor "created" as is the case with many similar mixed-use developments around Southern California.

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Then & Now - Main at Mission Inn

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Before there was a Main Street Pedestrian Mall in downtown Riverside there was, well, an actual Main Street, with actual cars -- and curbside parking.

Seen here in photos approximately 50 years apart is a view of Main Street looking north toward Mission Inn Avenue (formerly Seventh Street) from near University Avenue (formerly Eighth Street). On the far right is the historic Mission Inn and on the far left, with its pyramid-shaped, red-tiled roof (as seen in lower photo), is the Loring Building, which was built in 1890. Obviously, the scene has changed dramatically, but how and why? (To fully appreciate the change, check out the Flash overlay.)


Main Street at Mission Inn
looking north toward Mission Inn Ave. (Seventh St.)
Flash: View photo overlay

Following the 1956 opening of the nearby Riverside Plaza, downtown shopping began a slow but steady decline. In response, city leaders soon started working at remaking the city's civic center. Plans included a landscaped pedestrian mall with spruced-up storefronts. Eventually, it was envisioned the mall would be anchored by what officials hoped would be a new city hall, a convention center / hotel and a performing arts center. (Only city hall and the convention center / hotel would come to fruition.)

In late 1965, the city settled upon an initial plan and work began in May of 1966 at tearing out Main Street between Sixth and Tenth streets. On November 23, 1966, the mall was officially dedicated* and open for business. However, with its opening coinciding with America's growing appetite for suburban shopping centers, the pedestrian mall got off to a rocky start.

One major retailer (Sears*) had already relocated to a larger new store elsewhere in Riverside while two others (Montgomery Ward, JC Penney) would eventually follow suit. The flight of retail only got worse with the 1970 opening of Riverside's Tyler Mall** (now Galleria at Tyler), which was double the size of the earlier Riverside Plaza and -- more importantly at the time -- it was enclosed.

Although the loss of the major retailers was significant, the pedestrian mall's plight began stabilizing in the mid-1970s with the opening of the new city hall and convention center (anchoring opposite ends of the mall) as well as an 11-story Security Pacific National Bank building (seen here in 1976**: one | two), which replaced aging storefronts near the mall's center. But America's love affair with large enclosed shopping centers -- and free easy parking -- continued to erode the downtown retail market.

By the early 1980s, storefronts along the pedestrian mall consisted mostly of small local shops and empty spaces. The slow decline of the Mission Inn, which had transformed from an opulent hotel into rental/student apartments, certainly did not help. For a while, it appeared the mall's future was in doubt. One bright spot development-wise during this period was the 6-story Mission Square building, which in 1984 replaced another block of mostly empty and aging storefronts between Ninth and University.

In 1988, however, things began looking up as a refurbished Mission Inn hotel was set to reopen. Renovated over 3 years to the tune of $30 million (which would eventually approach $50 million), the newly christened Omni Mission Inn** was seen by civic officials as an important catalyst for reviving the floundering pedestrian mall. Yet just weeks before its official grand opening, the Inn's owner -- Carley Capital Group -- went bankrupt, forcing a takeover of the Inn by Chemical Bank of New York. The bankruptcy dealt a serious blow to both the mall and downtown in general. Moreover, it would be another 4 years before the Inn fully reopened.

Another significant event was the 1992 merger of Security Pacific National Bank into Bank of America, which saw the mall lose one of its primary anchors. Subsequent plans for re-using the bank's 11-story building included an option of reopening parts of the pedestrian mall to limited traffic. Fortunately, a second event later that year -- the purchase and reopening of the Mission Inn by local businessman Duane Roberts -- helped keep the pedestrian mall intact and free of cars.

Today, the downtown pedestrian mall stretches upwards of 7 blocks from Tenth to Third streets and remains one of Southern California's only true pedestrian plazas. Although it has taken 40 years to arrive at where it is today -- and indeed, a few rough spots remain -- thankfully, most residents simply could not imagine it reverting back to just another traffic-clogged street. In fact, the pedestrian mall is about to undergo a face-lift -- its first major rehab since being built in 1966.

Since the December 1992 reopening of the Mission Inn, the pedestrian mall has steadily picked up steam. The former Security Pacific Bank building has become a collection of offices mostly for the state of California while small independant shops throughout the mall coexist alongside a mixture of banks, eateries, service-related businesses and cultural arts establishments.

Recently, the mall has seen an influx of higher-end establishments such as Renuance Aesthetic Care and eateries Trilussa, Omakase and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. The most surprising empty spot remains the long-shuttered Imperial Hardware building, which in a strange twist has actually added a bit of flavor to the mall on account of its colorful art and mid-century facade, both seemingly frozen in time.

The one item still missing is a national retailer or major bookstore, which is likely to change within the next few years as the city's plans for 500-plus condos and lofts begin taking shape (see: m' sole and Fox Plaza). Our hope is that any potential influx of national chains, which could greatly increase out-of-area foot traffic, does so not at the expense of too many of the unique local shops -- a few of which have survived a number of lean years.

Indeed, the recent surge in activity, the upcoming face-lift, the soon-to-be Culver Center for the Arts and the planned residential/office development nearby promises to solidify the mall as downtown's cultural and civic plaza. Without a doubt, the pedestrian mall is a unique gem that Riverside is fortunate to have.

Flash: Main at Mission Inn: 1950s - 2007

Photo Gallery: Main Street Pedestrian Mall

P.S. -- For those curious, the back of the 1950s postcard, which incidentally misidentifies the intersection as Seventh at Orange (as opposed to Main at Seventh) reads as follows:

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA - Seventh Street near Orange. This is a city typical of California at its best. Its tree-lined streets, Mission architecture, groves of fragrant orange trees and its atmosphere of hospitality never fail to impress the visitor.

Update -- Though it has had some lean times, luckily Riverside's pedestrian mall did not suffer the fate of this one in St. Louis, which opened in 1977: Urban Review St. Louis: 14th Street Pedestrian Mall, Thirty Years Ago Today

Related

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1920s**
Main Street
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1940s
Main Street
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1966*
Main Street


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1976**
Main Street
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2006
Main Street


* Courtesy of RPD Remembers
** Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce

Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside Public Library, "Colony for California" (Tom Patterson), "Riverside in Postcards" (Steve Lech), "Riverside - 1870-1940" (Steve Lech), Riverside Chambers of Commerce, New York Times, WikiPedia


Festival of Lights

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This Friday marks the debut of an expanded Festival of Lights in downtown Riverside.

Along with the usual carolers, carriage rides, one-of-a-kind shopping/dining and millions of holiday lights, this year's FOL has grown to include a compact ice rink. Skating at the rink, located on the Main Street Pedestrian Mall between Mission Inn and University avenues, will cost $10 per hour with skate rentals running $3.


2006
Mission Inn

Of course, the centerpiece of the FOL is the Mission Inn Hotel itself, decorated to the hilt with millions of lights and several hundred animated figures (the assortment of holiday decorations grows each year).

The event is scheduled to kickoff with the "switch-on" ceremony at 6:15 p.m., Friday, Nov. 24.

Parking is free on weekends and holidays and after 5 p.m. weekdays, including within the 4 city-owned parking garages (we suggest using the Orange Square garage located at Ninth and Orange streets).

Reservations are recommended for the various horse-drawn carriages as well as dinner at any of the Mission Inn restaurants, Mario's Place or Cafe Sevilla -- particularly on weekends and days in and around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. And if you're planning an overnight stay, advanced reservations are highly recommended for either the Mission Inn or Marriott hotels.

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Update



Video: 2006 Festival of Lights


Audio Slideshow: 2006 Festival of Lights

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