Results tagged “arts” from Raincross Square

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2012
Krinard-Cage House

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Old Riverside Foundation

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Old Riverside Foundation

Celebrating Riverside's citrus heritage is the theme of Old Riverside Foundation's 21st annual Vintage Home Tour, which takes place this Saturday, May 19.

The self-guided tour showcases four privately owned homes near Victoria Avenue in the city's historic orange greenbelt as well as a downtown church with strong citrus ties.

The four homes are the James and Jessie Shaw House (1899), Puffer-Lamar House (1900), Mazzetti Bungalow (1917) and Krinard-Cage House (1925). Each house will contain a docent assisting guests with questions and tour info.

As an added bonus, downtown Riverside's Calvary Presbyterian Church will be offering tours of its stained glass sanctuary. The church, which was the family church for citrus canal builder Matthew Gage, is celebrating its 125th anniversary and will have historic photos, documents and a timeline from 1887-1947 on display.

A big part of each year's home tour is the "Restoration Faire and Vintage Mercantile" at the Weber House featuring local vendors offering restoration tips and wares. Built by Riverside architect Peter J. Weber, the house -- located at 1510 University Avenue -- is noted for its eclectic architecture (one* | two*) and early eco-friendly designs and serves as headquarters for Old Riverside Foundation.

Also on hand at the Weber House will be samples from the recent Fox Theater architectural salvage sale as well as accumulated furniture and Old Riverside Foundation vintage salvage pieces.

The self-guided home tour runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., rain or shine. Tickets are $15 ($20 day of tour) and are available at: www.oldriverside.org. Proceeds will help benefit historic preservation efforts of Old Riverside Foundation.

Related

* Photos courtesy of Old Riverside Foundation


Out & About - 05/05/2012

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Saturday saw us at two events in Riverside.

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2012
Riverside ReStore

The first was at Habitat for Humanity's Riverside ReStore where items salvaged from the historic Fox Theater were made available for purchase. The once in a lifetime event drew dozens to Habitat's store early Saturday morning for first pick of the lot, with several pieces sold (one | two | three) within a few hours.

The items -- doors, windows and power switches -- were recently donated to the Old Riverside Foundation, which in cooperation with Riverside ReStore, is selling the items. Proceeds will help benefit historic preservation efforts of Old Riverside Foundation as well as support Riverside's Habitat for Humanity home ownership mission.

Perfect for just about any home and business -- or simply as a great accent for the garden -- these unique "art" pieces will remain on sale at Riverside ReStore until sold.

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2012
Show and Go

Later in the afternoon, we headed downtown to the 14th annual Show and Go classic car event. Over 1,000 cars -- mostly from the 1950s and 1960s -- were parked and open for close inspection for several blocks along downtown streets.

The event included a slow cruise down Market Street, allowing the cars to flex their muscles to curbside spectators. Noted designer Chip Foose was even on hand signing autographs.

The three-day car show also has numerous car product booths (including Riverside's K&N Filters and Wayne's Engine Rebuilders) as well as several food vendors (including a beer truck from Hanger 24 Brewery in Redlands).

The Show and Go continues on Sunday, May 6.

Related

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Old Riverside Foundation
Riverside ReStore

Want to own a piece of Riverside history? Here's your chance!

In cooperation with Habitat for Humanity Riverside, the Old Riverside Foundation is selling recently donated items salvaged from the historic Riverside Fox Theater. The items -- doors, windows and power switches -- were saved during the theater's 3-year, $32 million renovation that was completed in 2010.

We think the doors and windows would make a nice historic art piece for anyone's home or business. They could also be an interesting trellis or accent for any backyard garden. And the power switches would add interesting color to any mantle or wall.

The sale begins Saturday, May 5 at Habitat for Humanity's Riverside ReStore, located at 2180 Iowa Avenue (near Spruce Street). Proceeds will help benefit historic preservation efforts of Old Riverside Foundation as well as support Habitat for Humanity Riverside's home ownership mission.

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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


One of downtown Riverside's oldest buildings dating from the late 1800s will soon disappear as a plan for an arts school for Riverside Community College District moves forward.

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@1900
Hotel Holyrood
3801 Market Street
(Courtesy of
Riverside Metropolitan Museum)


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Two postcard views of Hotel Plaza
(Courtesy of Steve Lech)

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2009
3801 Market Street

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2010
Southwest corner of
Market and University

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2011
Market Street at University Avenue

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1926
Riverside Finance Company
3855 Market Street

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1964
Sterling Savings
3855/45 Market Street*

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@1970
Market Street

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2010
3855/45 Market Street

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2010
3855 Market Street

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2011
3855 Market Street

Located at the southwest corner of Market Street and University Avenue, the building in question was originally built as a sanitarium by Dr. Clark Whittier, a wealthy Canadian who bought what was then a muddy marsh in 1881. Bounded by Market, Chestnut, Eighth (University) and Tenth streets, the unimproved land had been designated for public use following the removal of similar plans on land bounded by Market, Main, Seventh (Mission Inn) and Eighth (University) streets (where the California Tower stands today).

Whittier cleaned up and improved the land, creating the planned public park (which later became known as White Park). In exchange, Whittier was granted building rights on portions along Eighth (University) and Tenth streets, with the southwest corner of Eighth and Market becoming the location for his sanitarium in 1884. (A street separating the sanitarium site from White Park still bears Whittier's name to this day.)

Originally referred to as Park House, it appears Whittier's plan for a health spa/sanitarium never fully materialized as he soon allowed Frank Miller, then of the Glenwood Hotel (pre-Mission Inn era), to begin leasing out its 20 rooms and five large bathrooms. (It's also likely during Miller's managing of the building that its name was changed to Park Hotel, as is seen in at least one early photo.)

In 1894, Whittier's widow sold the building to David and Flora Cochrane for $12,000. The Cochranes, also of Canada, remodeled the rooms and renamed the building Hotel Holyrood in 1895. The new name was likely in reference to the Holyrood district of Edinburgh, Scotland (and a nod to David's Scottish roots).

In 1900, the Cochranes added large expansions along both Eighth and Market streets, increasing the hotel's size to accommodate 100 guests.

In 1924, new owner Pliny T. Evans -- son of early Riverside leader, Samuel C. Evans -- streamlined the original building's rustic, three-story mansard-style facade. Evans modernized the interior, converting 70 rooms and 5 bathrooms into 40 larger rooms and 15-20 baths. (Although city permits indicate the 1924 remodeling may have included a new corner building, it's unclear whether this was actually the case. Later newspaper accounts report it as being gutted and remodeled, which exterior photos seem to confer.)

Following the remodeling, the building was renamed Hotel Plaza -- a name that would last atop the building well into the 1990s (view back of sign @1970).

We're not certain when rooms stopped being rented, but a 1980 newspaper article about possible redevelopment for a "modern high-rise" indicates rooms were still occupied. More recently, we seem to recall upper spaces still in use during the mid- to late-1990s.

City permits show the various street level spaces housed several commercial entities over the years, including at least one restaurant (Chung King), two furniture stores (Riverside Home Appliance, Raymonds), a shoe store (Greenwood Shoe), a print shop (American Speedy Printing), a market and deli (Atlas Market), a development firm (Peri & Associates), a skateboard shop (Crooks) and a psychic reader (Psychic Experience).

Though not a particularly striking building in its own right, we've come to admire the old Hotel Plaza building more in recent years, mostly for its place in downtown Riverside's early history. But we've also come to appreciate its old-school "urbanity" -- fire escapes, cluttered backside -- not found much these days, particularly in predominately suburban towns like Riverside.

Along with the demolition of all three buildings that comprise the Hotel Holyrood/Plaza, an adjacent building along Market Street will also come down. Together, the four structures are to be replaced by a $24 million, 51,600 sq. ft. building that will house RCC's Culinary Arts Academy and administrative offices. The new three-story building will include a rooftop reception area. Completion is expected by April 2014.

Situated behind the new Culinary Arts building will be the focal point of the district's overall arts school plan -- the $63.2 million, 88,862 sq. ft. Henry W. and Alice Edna School for the Arts**, which received a $5 million grant from longtime local builder Henry Coil Jr. It will include two levels of underground parking and be situated on an existing parking lot behind the Market Street buildings. This later phase is expected to be completed by Fall 2015.

One exception to the overall demolition plans on the site is the restoration of the former Riverside Finance/Citrus Belt/Sterling Savings building. Located on Market Street adjacent to White Park, it will be remade into the $6.3 million, 11,000 sq. ft. Center for Social Justice and Civil Liberties.

Expected to open in June 2012, the center will contain two floors of gallery space and house the college's Mine Okubo archival collection. Riverside-native Okubo was a Japanese American civil rights advocate and alumnus of RCC. She bequeathed her collection to the college upon her death in February 2001.

The most interesting aspect of the 85-year-old building's refurbishment is the uncovering of its original ornate facade, which appeared again this week after being hidden behind a false-front for the past 50 years. Designed by well-known Los Angeles architect Stiles O. Clements (Wiltern Theater, Mayan Theatre), a 1926 newspaper article described the building and its facade as follows:

Plans have been completed for the handsome new office building of the Riverside Finance Company, at Market Street and Whittier Place. ... (the building) emphasizes a classical architectural design ... with an arched entrance of distinctive metropolitan character. ... The ceiling will be unusually high, giving a dignified and attractive effect to the interior of the building.

Riverside Press - Aug. 1926

The classic facade was later hidden behind a flat stucco wall held up by steel beams added around the bank (and adjacent building). The wall was then partially shielded by thin, horizontal slats, giving the building a sleek and modern look popular at the time. City permits seem to indicate this took place in 1961 for then-tenant Citrus Belt Savings & Loan.

Through the years, at least two other banks -- Sterling Savings & Loan and Imperial Savings -- have also occupied the space (we also recall Provident Savings Bank may have had a branch there at some point as well).

A few years back, a hole was punched into the front stucco facade, revealing the still-existing, 1926 Spanish Baroque (Churrigueresque) facade. This revelation no doubt helped save the building as part of the upcoming arts school complex.

In a ground-breaking ceremony held last Thursday for the project, college officials finally unveiled the classic facade. Down came the stucco wall and portions of brick veneer on the side of the building. Also removed was some form of faux marble veneer at the base of the building, revealing brick underneath (which is likely a covering of some sorts as well).

Overall, the 1926 facade looks to be in relatively good shape, though there are portions that appear to have been damaged and possibly even shaved down during the 1961 covering. Hopefully, the refurbishment will be able to fully restore these portions.

Related


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2010
3801 Market
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2010
3801 Market
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2010
3801 Market
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2010
3801 Market
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2010
University


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2010
3845 Market
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2010
3855 Market
(rear)
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2010
3855 Market
(re-numbered)
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2011
3855 Market
(w/o marble)
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2011
3855/3845/3801
Market Street


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2011
3855 Market
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2011
3855 Market
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2011
3855 Market
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2011
3855 Market


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RCC School for the Arts**
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RCC School for the Arts**
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RCC School for the Arts**



* 1964 Poly High School yearbook
** Courtesy of Riverside Community College District

Sources: "Riverside's Invisible Past" (Joan Hall), The Press-Enterprise, City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library, "Riverside - 1870-1940" (Steve Lech), Old Riverside Foundation


Fox theater gets retro 'blade' signs

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October 2010
Retro 'blade' signs being added

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1930s
Original 'blade' signs

The first of two old-style neon signs went up this past week on the Fox Performing Arts Center in downtown Riverside. The signs are replicas of those that adorned the theater in the 1930s and 1940s.

According to The Press-Enterprise, the signs are 22 feet tall and weigh 900 pounds each. The cost to create and install them was $70,000. According to Fox personnel, the second 'blade' sign will be hung next week, at which time both signs should be operational.

The signs are among the final touches to the newly-renovated Fox theater, which reopened earlier this year as the city's long-awaited performing arts center. The 1929-era theater received an extensive rehab that began in 2007. City officials aren't sure what happened to the original 'blade' signs, but believe they were removed sometime during the 1950s.

Last month, workers began dismantling the interiors of twin buildings located adjacent to the Fox on Market Street as phase two of the Fox project. The facades of the twin buildings were saved and will be incorporated into an arcade that will partially shield sidewalks and a new outdoor plaza from the street.

Dubbed as Fox Entertainment Plaza, the development includes a 400-space parking garage, small "black box" theater, 12,000 square feet of commercial space and a 10,000 sq. ft. exhibit hall. Completion is expected in Spring of 2012.

Update: Both blade signs installed: one | two

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Nov. 2010
Retro signs
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Nov. 2010
Fox at night
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Nov. 2010
Neon
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Nov. 2010
Across Market St.
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Oct. 2010
3633 Market Street
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Oct. 2010
3633 Market Street
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Oct. 2010
3633 Market Street


Sources: The Press-Enterprise, City of Riverside


UCR's Culver Center of the Arts opens

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Oct. 2010
UCR Culver Center of the Arts


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Architectural rendering
UCR

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2008
Project info

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1906
Rouse's / Chapman Building***
(close-up view of awning)

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1953
Rouse's Dept. Store
RCC yearbook

This past week marked the opening of UC Riverside's Barbara & Art Culver Center of the Arts, adding another major arts facility to downtown.

Located adjacent to the existing UCR/CMP (California Museum of Photography), the Culver Center expands UCR's ARTSblock presence on the main street pedestrian mall. In addition to hosting its own arts programs, including dance, music and film, the three-level Culver Center is also the new home for the university's Sweeney Art Galley. It also houses -- via seismically safe storage cases -- the CMP's world-renown Keystone-Mast collection of stereoscopic glass negatives.

The center resides within the former Rouse's department store*, which dates to 1895 as the Chapman Building, one of the oldest on the downtown mall. The current configuration actually takes in two sections, 3834 and 3850 Main Street. According to city permits, the latter (and smaller portion) was built in 1917.

Various renovations and refurbishments have been made to the building over the years, including some exterior upgrades in the early- to mid-1950s (metal canopy and touches of stonework). But the most extensive makeover came around 1925 (though some reports indicate 1924 or 1927), when Rouse's expanded onto the second floor. Noted architect G. Stanley Wilson added a grand staircase inside and re-faced the exterior facade with Spanish-influenced tiles, bas-relief and iron work, much of which remains today.

Known for high-end clothing, the original Rouse's lasted until 1957 before being leased out (in name) to other interests. By 1964, just two years before the opening of the pedestrian mall, the store had closed. With a few exceptions, including Casual Gourmet Restaurant, Spanky's Cafe and The Tamale Factory, the building has remained mostly vacant since.

Old images highlight the building's central atrium, which has been restored**. The new center also has a spot for a yet-to-be filled indoor-outdoor cafe, which would be a nice addition to this portion of the pedestrian mall.

The Culver Center follows the recent opening of the Fox Performing Arts Center and adds to the city's growing collection of arts-related facilities and institutions, including among others, the California-Riverside Ballet of Arts, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Mission Inn Museum, Riverside Community Arts Association, Performance Riverside, Division Nine Gallery and The People's Gallery.

Another planned downtown arts facility -- Riverside Community College's "Henry W. and Alice Edna Coil School for the Arts" -- is tentatively scheduled for a 2014 opening.



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2004

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2006
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2006
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2006


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2008
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2008
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2009


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2009
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2010
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2010


Related


* 1953 RCC yearbook
** Courtesy of UCR
*** 1906 RFD souvenir booklet
Sources: The Press-Enterprise, UCR, City of Riverside


3633 Market Street - De Anza Chevrolet

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2010
3633 Market Street

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2009
3633 Market Street

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Forthcoming parking garage

While driving down Market Street last month, we stumbled upon a bit of local history. Standing alongside downtown's Fox Performing Arts Center was an uncovered facade revealing what once was the former home of long-time Riverside car dealer De Anza Chevrolet (one | two). City permits indicate the building (and its adjacent twin) housed a number of businesses over the years, including automotive, printing and antiques. A 1924 building permit gave the two buildings an estimated value of $35,000.

Currently, the buildings are undergoing demolition as part of the next phase in the Fox Performing Arts Center development. This past week, workers began dismantling the interiors of the twin buildings. Their facades are being secured (one | two) for use as an arcade that will partially shield sidewalks and a new outdoor plaza from the street. Once completed, the project will include a 400-space parking garage, small "black box" theater and a few commercial spaces.

Back to De Anza Chevrolet ... we're not exactly sure when the dealer opened shop within the Market Street building, but city permits show them at the location by the late 1940s. In the early 1960s, however, 7 new car dealers downtown -- including De Anza -- came together to build the Riverside Auto Center. When it opened alongside the 91 Freeway at Adams Street in 1965, this new "auto center" was the first of its kind in the U.S., garnering attention even from Detroit's automakers. Though it remains today, De Anza Chevrolet is now known as Singh Chevrolet.

Previous

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2009
3633 Market
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2010
3633 Market
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2010
3633 Market
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2010
3633 Market
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2010
3633 Market


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2010
View south
from Sixth Street
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2009
3605 Market
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2009
3605 Market
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2010
3633 / 3605
Market


Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Auto Dealers Association


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


Inside the Fox Performing Arts Center

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2010
Main lobby

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2010
Balcony

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Flash: Fox: May 2007 - Jan. 2010

Crowds flocked to the new Fox Performing Arts Center in downtown Riverside this past weekend to catch an inside look at the newly-renovated facility following a 3-year, $32 million renovation.

Friday night was the grand opening, fund-raising gala while Saturday and Sunday were open house days. Judging by the looks on the faces of those who attended, no one walked away disappointed. This coming weekend will be the center's first official event -- two nights of Sheryl Crow.

Make no mistake, this was an extensive -- and expensive -- top-to-bottom, inside-and-out renovation. No detail was left undone. And as a result, the Fox is now a first-class music and Broadway-caliber venue. And one that Riverside -- and Inland Southern California as a whole -- can indeed be proud of.

So get out there and enjoy the new Fox.

Flash: Fox: May 2007 - Jan. 2010

Update: A recent entry on the LA Times "Culture Monster" blog digs into some of the renovation's details: A Riverside movie palace is reborn (Jan. 26)

Related

Previous

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2010
Box office
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2010
Main lobby
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2010
Balcony
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2010
Back stage


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2010
Lobby
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2010
Theater
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2010
Upper lobby
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2010
Ceiling



Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise


Get into the Fox

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After nearly 3 years of renovation -- and several years of planning -- downtown Riverside's Fox Theater is ready to make its debut as the Fox Performing Arts Center.

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2010
Fox Performing Arts Center

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1930s
Fox Riverside

Located at the intersection of Mission Inn Avenue and Market Street, the 1,642-seat Fox Center is the crown jewel of Riverside's 5-year, $1.6 billion "renaissance" public works plan. At just over $32 million, the complete renovation -- including Broadway-caliber staging -- of the 1929-era Fox is also one of the most expensive projects in the 5-year plan, which began in late 2006.

Friday evening Jan. 15 marks the official opening of the new center with the "Fox Foundation Inaugural Gala," a $150-ticket special event intended to show off the Fox as well as begin the process of establishing a community endowment to assist in maintaining and operating the new performance center.

(For those unable to attend the gala, free tours are scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 16-17.)

Update

Related

Previous

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2010
From Mission Inn Avenue
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2010
Opening Gala
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2010
Sheryl Crow
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2010
Exterior details


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2010
Along Mission Inn Avenue
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2010
Main entry
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2010
Main entry
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2010
Exterior details



Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise


Long-time Riverside photographer, Michael J. Elderman, has spent nearly 3 years photographing the restoration of downtown Riverside's Fox Theater as it transforms into the 1,600 seat Fox Performing Arts Center.

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Riverside's Fox Theater:
An Intimate Portrait

Michael J. Elderman

Hired by the restoration's project manager to visually capture the massive renovation of the Fox, Elderman soon realized he had the makings for a book. As such, he began planning "Riverside's Fox Theater: An Intimate Portrait," a new, self-published book of his that is expected to become available in mid-December (just in time for January's debut of the new Fox).

On Monday night, Nov. 9th, a photographic exhibit based upon the book will open at La Sierra University with a reception at the university's Brandstater Gallery beginning at 6 p.m. In addition to Elderman's exhibit, the reception will include related discussions and presentations.

Admission to both the reception and exhibit, which runs through December 10th, is free. The university is located at 4500 Riverwalk Parkway, about a mile north of the 91 Freeway in southwestern Riverside.

In mid-December, Elderman's exhibit will shift to the Riverside Art Museum in downtown Riverside, where Elderman plans to offer the Fox book for sale during a special book signing event.

The nearly $30 million renovation of the Fox Theater is part of the city's $1.68 billion "Riverside Renaissance" plan, which includes everything from railroad grade separations and general city infrastructure (roads, sewers, etc.) to new/refurbished parks and cultural amenities.

Update

Related

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Fox Theater restoration moving along

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With an expected completion date later this year, work continues on the $30 million restoration of the historic Fox Theater in downtown Riverside.

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Feb. 2009
Fox Theater

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Oct. 2008
Renaissance

The renovation of the soon-to-be, 1,600-seat Fox Performing Arts Center includes a complete overhaul of the 1929 theater -- everything from new ventilation systems, theater seats and extensive seismic upgrades to a modern (and larger) stage house. Specialized artisans were hired to replicate the theater's original ornate tiles and painted ceilings.

Recently, the city inked a 5-year deal with the Nederlander Organization, which owns/manages nine Broadway theaters and produces several touring shows, some that will now make stops in Riverside. The new entity -- Broadway in Riverside -- joins the company's existing local management groups, Broadway/San Diego and Broadway/LA.

Grand opening festivities are slated for January 2010.

Still to be decided is an adjacent, 300/400-space parking garage. The city, which recently acquired the remaining properties, says the garage is vital to the overall success of the Fox project. Unfortunately, the garage means partial (or full) demolition of a few older buildings, most of which contain antique stores (one | two). However, a 1920s-era building on Fairmount Avenue is expected to remain, possibly as a storage house for the Fox.

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Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise


riv-2004-dt-fire-001-500.jpg
2004
Central Fire Station
(aka Downtown Fire Station No. 1)

riv-2008c-dt-rfd-central-004-600.jpg
2008
Rear view

rfd-balboa-Stations-n-Apparatus--045-600.jpg
circa 1980
Central Fire Station*
Courtesy of Daniel Balboa

Last month, California's State Historical Resources Commission added Riverside's downtown Central Fire Station to the state's Register of Historic Resources. Entering its sixth decade of operation, plans are underway for a replacement fire station on the block directly behind the current station.

We've always had an eye for the building's simplistic, yet unique exterior, which is an excellent example of "form follows function" design. However, it wasn't until recent in-depth research in which our appreciation for the edifice was cemented.

Designed by local architect Bolton C. Moise, Jr., the structure came online in 1957 as a replacement for a station* located around the corner at Eighth (University) and Lemon streets. The layout of the new building incorporated the stacking of the dormitory quarters atop the ground-level offices -- while still maintaining immediate access to the engines -- thereby allowing for an adjacent, column-free engine bay* (a necessity for modern fire equipment). The new building also included modern fire communication equipment and updated living amenities.

During its early years, the station's design was heralded by city leaders and architects alike. But, as with many Mid-Century Modern buildings, the building has seen its share of indifference over the years as well.

Recently, the site has seen at least two mixed-use proposals, both of which included the demolition of the existing fire station. We're unsure as to the current status of the latest plan, which in light of current economic conditions, may have stalled.

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* Photos courtesy of Daniel Balboa

Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise


Last Tuesday, the Riverside City Council approved in concept the recommendations for the future expansions of downtown's Main Library and Riverside Metropolitan Museum as outlined by a community task force.

The recommendations, which have also been endorsed by the governing boards of both institutions, call for the library to double in size to 120,000 square feet and the museum expansion to total 70,000 square feet. The task force also recommended the final proposal should provide adequate parking facilities and retain the Chinese Pavilion in its current spot.

The approvals come after several months of public hearings that began following a public meeting held in January on the original joint-use expansion proposal. Public opposition to the plan led to the formation of a 22-member task force that was given the job of revising the original proposal.

Next up will be two workshops -- an October meeting to formalize actual space needs and a second set for November to discuss design and funding aspects.

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Sources: The Press-Enterprise


riv-2006-dt-library-017ac-600.jpg
2006
Central Library

riv-2004-dt-museum-009a-600.jpg
2004
Riverside Metropolitan Museum

After several months of public meetings, the 22-member Library/Museum task force held its final session this past week, producing what it calls "guiding principles" for the planned expansions of downtown's Central Library and Riverside Metropolitan Museum. The key recommendation calls for separate expansions of both facilities, with enough space for each to meet their needs.

As part of the recommendation, the panel urged the city to expedite funding and approval of the expansions and also emphasized its desire to see the Chinese Memorial Pavilion remain in its current spot, which we're glad to see.

The city's Board of Library Trustees has already endorsed the guidelines with the museum board set to vote on the matter July 8. The guidelines will then go before the City Council for review on August 12.

Recently, two opposing viewpoints concerning the existing library building appeared in The Press-Enterprise (one | two). Though both articles make good points, it should be no surprise that we agree with Steve Lech in that demolishing the current building would be akin to demolishing the original Carnegie back in 1965. It shouldn't have been done then -- and it shouldn't be done now.

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Sources: The Press-Enterprise


A City Council-appointed task force assigned with revising Riverside's library-museum expansion plans issued its draft recommendation this week calling for separate expansions for both institutions. The recommendation, which would reverse the city's earlier combined expansion proposal, comes after several recent public meetings on the issue.


2006
Central Library

riv-2006-dt-museum-010-600.jpg
2006
Riverside Metropolitan Museum

riv-2007f-dt-museum-011a-450.jpg
2007
Museum exhibit

Most critics of the original $25 million proposal -- part of the city's Riverside Renaissance Initiative -- feared joint expansion would shortchange both entities. That plan called for an approximately 35,000 sq. ft. expansion: 9,500 sq. ft. children's section, 10,500 sq. ft. community/office space (with 250-seat auditorium) and up to 15,000 sq. ft. exhibition/flex space. Drawn up by Pfeiffer Partners Architects, Inc., the plan expanded outward in front of the current library, including displacement of the Chinese Memorial Pavilion.

Since then, several community members, residents and various civic groups have voiced opinions on the matter. The "Committee to Renew the Library" and "The Raincross Group" have both considered plans of their own, the latter recommending a 60,000 sq. ft. library expansion (basement plus two stories) in front of the current library (sparing the Chinese Pavilion); and, a 30,000 sq. ft. museum expansion (3 stories) behind the current museum. Estimates for both expansions are $38 million -- approximately $13 million more than the original joint-expansion project.

The task force's draft recommendation of separate expansions now moves ahead for a public hearing scheduled for June 18, after which a final task force meeting on June 25 will address any changes before forwarding the panel's final recommendation to the City Council (scheduled for August 12).

Whatever the final outcome, we agree both institutions should remain downtown at their current locations. Likewise, we'd prefer to see neither building's architecture severely compromised with any future expansions. Though many may say the current architecture of the library does not fit its immediate surroundings, we believe it has its own architectural merits (one | two | three) on which to stand, and thus, should not be significantly altered.

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Sources: The Press-Enterprise


Arlington Branch Library reopens

|

After nearly 2 years of construction and renovation, Riverside's Arlington Branch Library reopened to the public this past week following an 8,000 sq. ft. addition to the 99-year-old building. The new wing nearly triples the size of the current library to 13,000 sq. ft.

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2008
Original building

riv-2008f-lib-arlington-004a-600.jpg
2008
New addition

riv-2008f-lib-arlington-053a-450.jpg
2008
Shades of the past

The new addition mimics the original building's Greek Revival styling, which was designed by local architect Seeley L. Pillar. When it first opened on June 1, 1909, the new library was the city's first "branch" library and was built to serve the southern and western portions of Riverside.

Though not technically a Carnegie library, the city built the Arlington Branch after obtaining $7,500 from the Carnegie Foundation for expanding the downtown library. The grant used for the downtown expansion freed up $7,500 for the new Arlington library, which also included a fire station attached to the back of the building.

A year-long, $8,000 renovation began in 1927 to upgrade the library after it was declared structurally unsafe, causing a temporary closure. Subsequent renovations and expansions over the years included an extensive rehab during the late 1950s; the re-use of the space housing the former fire station in 1968 (which had relocated to a separate building about a quarter-mile east on Magnolia Avenue in 1938); and another renovation in 1996.

Today, the new wing houses the majority of the library's collection of 45,000 titles. An expanded children's section, lower shelving heights and several seating areas help give the new addition a bookstore atmosphere, while natural lighting provided by expansive windows and skylights gives the library an open-air feel. Thirty-four computers and 2 self-checkout stations round out the expanded facility.

The former main room in the original building is now a 110-seat community room. Historic photographs of Riverside's past act as translucent shades on the windows that surround the room.

In a nod to the building's past, the library's new entrance uses the old stable building from the days when the structure housed the fire station. Located in this new foyer are two glass cases housing both fire- and citrus-related memorabilia from the city's past.

The reopening of the Arlington Branch is the latest improvement made to the city's 7-branch library system, which is in the midst of its largest building and renovation campaign in its history. Other projects include the soon-to-open Orange Terrace Branch Library, the relocation of the Marcy Branch Library and the expansion/renovation of downtown's Central Library. It also comes on the heels of the recent expansions/renovations at the Eastside Library/Cybrary and the La Sierra Branch Library as well as the opening of the Casa Blanca Library & Family Learning Center a few years back.

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Previous

riv-2006-lib-arlng-013-600.jpg
2006
Former stable
riv-2008f-lib-arlington-024-600.jpg
2008
New foyer
riv-2008f-lib-arlington-070-600.jpg
2008
New wing

riv-2008f-lib-arlington-041-600.jpg
2008
Computer stations
riv-2008f-lib-arlington-071-600.jpg
2008
Stylish seating
riv-2008f-lib-arlington-049a-600.jpg
2008
Community room



Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library, The Press-Enterprise, "Colony for California" (Tom Patterson), "Arlington" (Georgia Gordon Sercl)


Relocation of Marcy Branch likely

|

In the midst of planning an expansion for the downtown branch, news surfaced recently regarding the future of another branch within Riverside's library system, this time involving the possible relocation of the tiny, but unique, Marcy Branch.

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2008
Current Marcy Branch

riv-2008f-lib-marcy-mag-007-600.jpg
2008
Future Marcy Branch?

Located on Central Avenue just west of the Riverside Plaza, the Marcy Branch opened in 1958 replacing the temporary Magnolia Center Branch established nearby in late 1951. The branch was named after longtime Riverside resident Charles F. Marcy, whose bequest helped provide funding for the new building.

The fanciful design of the circular, single-story library includes elements of post and beam construction that was popular at the time and is yet another fine example of mid-century architecture by noted Riverside architect Herman O. Ruhnau. The interior looks to be mostly intact, including what appears to be original lighting above the central reference desk.

The relocation proposal shifts the contents of the Marcy Branch into the former Auto Club building located about a mile away near the intersection of Magnolia and Arlington avenues. The plan calls for the library to occupy the first floor of the two-story, 18,000 sq. ft. building while city officials say offices for the city's Parks Department could occupy the second level.

Overall, we like the relocation plan. There's no doubt the Marcy Branch is severely cramped. The proposed move would nearly double the floor space over the existing Central Avenue location and even allow the possibility for future expansion upstairs. But what's to become of the current Marcy building? That's a question not yet answered.

Although easy to overlook and under appreciate in its current setting, we feel the existing Marcy building deserves to be preserved. Surely, the city can find an internal use for it, one that doesn't entail significant modification or costs. In fact, one such possibility comes from our friend Tanya at ModernRiverside.com. She has an excellent idea for reusing the Marcy building to house the library's Local History Resource Center, which is currently located in the basement of the downtown branch. Not only would this save the iconic Ruhnau-designed building, it would also allow greater access to more of the library's extensive local history collection.

Related

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2008
Clean
riv-2008f-lib-marcy-024ac-450.jpg
2008
Crisp
riv-2008f-lib-marcy-022a-600.jpg
2008
Colorful



Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library, The Press-Enterprise, ModernRiverside.com


Library-museum task force convenes

|
2008-rivlibrary-400.jpg
Shared-space proposal
Pfeiffer Partners


1966
Central Library
1967 RNB calendar


2006
Central Library

1915-pc-riv-museum-001ac-600.jpg
1915
U.S. Post Office

riv-2004-dt-museum-002ac-600.jpg
2004
Riverside Metropolitan Museum

This past week saw the first meeting of the city's newly-formed "blue ribbon" task force for the combined downtown library-museum expansion project, which stalled in recent months following public comments questioning the viability of joint-use expansion.

Members of the committee, comprised of seasoned Riverside civic leaders, have been given the task of formulating a plan, namely whether the project should encompass a shared-space expansion as originally proposed or separate expansions. Although there are benefits of a combined expansion -- shared overall costs, efficient use of flexible space and even natural synergies -- the plan, as first proposed, fails to provide enough independent space for each entity.

As it stands now, the city's main branch library -- aka, the "Central Library" -- is housed within a 61,000 sq. ft. building that opened in 1964/65. According to a study by a citizen's group, Riverside's current main library ranks 19th in space per capita (.21) when compared against 24 other Southern California cities with populations between 100,000 and 500,000. The study concluded the city's main library would need to double in size just to reach the per capita median (.42) -- a figure the combined library-museum expansion of 30,000 sq. ft. would clearly fail to meet.

Across from the main library sits the Riverside Metropolitan Museum. Located within a building originally constructed in 1912 by the U.S. Postal Service, the museum initially occupied the basement beginning in 1948 (with the city's police department taking up the remainder). Full occupancy by the museum came in 1965 upon completion of a new police headquarters nearby. Museum officials say the current building lacks the space and amenities needed for hosting major exhibits. They also cite the need for more storage space. Thus, the reasons for expansion.

Finally, regardless of the final outcome -- whether joint or independent expansion -- our hope is that neither building's exterior gets extensively altered, particularly the library's striking mid-century modern architecture. Though ridiculed for most of its 44-year existence, the building's exterior is in fact an excellent example of the New Formalism style of architecture (a style beginning to receive its due props elsewhere). Of course, we've gone on record before stating our admiration for the building's style. And it appears others are beginning to appreciate it as well (one, two, three).

Upcoming meetings for the blue ribbon committee are scheduled for City Hall on April 23, May 19, and June 6 and 7.

Update

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Previous

Sources: The Press-Enterprise, City of Riverside


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