Results tagged “museum” from Raincross Square


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, 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

UCR's Culver Center of the Arts opens

Oct. 2010
UCR Culver Center of the Arts

Architectural rendering

Project info

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

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.






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

Photo pool spotlight - 03/21/2010


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.

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.

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.




Central Fire Station
(aka Downtown Fire Station No. 1)

Rear view

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.


* Photos courtesy of Daniel Balboa

Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise

Out & About - 10/14/2008

Flash: Out & About slideshow

Incorporating the old RIR logo

March Field Air Museum

An original WWI-era plane
traced back to March Field

This past weekend saw us check the status on a few ongoing projects in downtown Riverside, including Regency Tower and Main Street Pedestrian Mall as both projects continue moving along. We also managed to take a nice snapshot overlooking downtown as well as take in two local museums.

First up was a visit to the Riverside International Automotive Museum in Riverside. Located in a business park near Hunter Park, the museum pays homage to the former Riverside International Raceway, which hosted major races on the eastern edge of town from 1957 - 1988. On display are posters, videos and various RIR memorabilia -- including a refrigerator from the driver's lounge. The museum also houses 3 Indy Eagle cars from the track's most prolific racer, Dan Gurney.

But more than just honoring RIR, the museum has a small collection of memorabilia from the former Ontario Motor Speedway (which held races from 1970 to 1980 on land where the new arena now stands). Likewise, several sports cars are on display, ranging from Ferrari and Maserati to Indy cars. It's also a working museum with race car restoration projects in the works.

Photos: Riverside International Raceway



Next was a stop at March Field Air Museum adjacent to I-215 in southeastern Riverside. Located on the western edge of March Air Reserve Base, the museum is comprised of a few hangar-like structures and several outdoor aircraft displays.

An interior exhibit area offers historical displays on March Field -- which celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2008 -- as well as the nation's major wars. Several other displays include the Tuskegee Airmen, Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, SAC Commander Gen. Curtis LeMay and the International Combat Camera Association. The museum also includes a short film on the history of March Field -- the oldest Air Force base on the west coast -- and it's involvement within the nation's modern military.

Outside on the museum's flightline are over 50 aircraft, including an SR-71 Blackbird, B-17 Flying Fortress, B-29 Superfortress, B-52D Stratofortress, F-4 Phantom, F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle and KC-135 Stratotanker. Also on display are 4 Soviet MiG planes and a small hanger dedicated to the P-38.

The museum is also a working museum, with several hangers set up for ongoing restoration projects. Future plans at the museum include expansion for more interior exhibit space and a re-working of the exterior flightline.

When visiting March Field Air Museum, be sure to make time for a few solemn moments across the freeway at Riverside National Cemetery, which was the former site of Camp Haan during World War II.


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.


Sources: The Press-Enterprise

Central Library

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.


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.

Central Library

Riverside Metropolitan Museum

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.


Sources: The Press-Enterprise

Library-museum task force convenes

Shared-space proposal
Pfeiffer Partners

Central Library
1967 RNB calendar

Central Library

U.S. Post Office

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.




Sources: The Press-Enterprise, City of Riverside

'Off The Wall' at RAM


Have you ever walked through an art museum and said to yourself, "Wow, I wish I could purchase that right off the wall." Well, this week you can during the annual "Off The Wall" fundraiser at the Riverside Art Museum.

Flash: RAM slideshow

Designed as both an exhibit and a fundraiser, the event showcases over 1,200 pieces from local artists in various mediums, ranging from the eclectic to the traditional. See something you like? Simply take it off the wall for purchase. Best of all, the pricing is simple -- and very affordable: $100, $200 or $300. New pieces go up as sales are made, thus new items are added each day. The event runs through Saturday, November 10.

While you're perusing the art, imagine stepping back in time when the Julia Morgan-designed facility served as the downtown home for the YWCA. Built in 1929, the building once sported an indoor pool (a.k.a., "the plunge") as well as a gymnasium, both of which were converted into separate gallery spaces shortly after the building was acquired for the museum in 1967.

Finally, before heading out, you'll want to browse the museum's gift store for crafts and other items of local interest.

The museum is located at 3245 Mission Inn Avenue in downtown Riverside and is open Mon - Sat, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (until 9 p.m. during "Riverside Arts Walk" on the first Thursday of each month).


Sources: Riverside Art Museum

Library should remain downtown


There's been some chatter recently of moving Riverside's "Central Library" from its current downtown site on Mission Inn Avenue to a location east of the 91 Freeway. We feel this would be a big mistake.

Central Library

w/ original fountains
1967 RNB calendar

Pre-Chinese Pavilion

w/ rose garden
1985 / GRCC

Carnegie Library

The notion began with a seemingly innocuous letter to the editor that appeared in the June 19th edition of The Press-Enterprise. Initially, the letter received a smattering of support (one, two).

Although we agree the Eastside indeed could use an expanded library, moving the downtown branch is not the answer. Simply put, the Central Library plays a vital role in the city's reemerging downtown arts & culture community. And as the main branch of the citywide system -- as well as being a primary governmental repository for Riverside County and the Inland region as a whole -- the Central Library should remain downtown where it is both expected and belongs.

Moreover, the library is probably the best entity in drawing folks of all neighborhoods and of all classes to the downtown area, some of whom their only semi-regular exposure to downtown may in fact come from visiting the Central Library. And with a reemerging downtown, such wide-ranging exposure is critical for long-term stability.

Fortunately, it appears many others share our view, including the Riverside Downtown Partnership, the president of the Riverside Public Library Foundation and even Duane Roberts, owner of the Mission Inn, who no doubt might be easily tempted in viewing the adjacent library property for expansion of the popular Mission Inn hotel. However, he too understands the importance of having the library at his doorstep:

As the owner of the Mission Inn, there is no person more interested in an economically vibrant downtown, but not at the cost of losing an important center of arts and culture...

The Press-Enterprise

But, we must confess, this post goes beyond the relocation factor. We're about to broach a subject that has touched many a nerve since the "new" library replaced the old Carnegie in 1965.

First off, we wholeheartedly agree it was a shame to lose the 1903 Carnegie to the wrecking ball during the mid-1960s. However, as painful as that might have been, it is now in the past and there's nothing we can do to reverse that particular decision -- but we can keep from repeating it. With that said, we believe the current building has its own architectural merits, and thus, should not meet a similar fate. In fact, we're even willing to say we like it. (There, we said it.)

Although we agree its placement in the midst of historic architecture -- ranging from the eclectic Mission Inn to the ornate First Congretional Church -- is indeed a bit jarring, we also believe the building itself offers some of the best representation of mid-century, "new formalism" architecture within the entire Inland region. Such architecture may not be fully appreciated by older generations, but recent generations have grown up among such striking, modern architecture -- only to see it now quickly disappearing from the landscape. Moreover, though subjective as it is, who's to say such isn't the next "historic" architecture worth preserving?

If anything can be said about losing the historic Carnegie and its eventual replacement with the modern facility, it is that it proved to be the catalyst which brought historic preservation to the forefront in Riverside. In fact, we have heard it said that it was the reason for the coalescence of historic preservation efforts during the 1960s, which played a pivotal role in preserving the Mission Inn in the 1970s and early 1980s. To lose such a real-life, existing reminder for future generations to see with their own eyes, in all its juxtapositional glory, we feel will only increase the likelihood of repeating similar mistakes.

Finally, why not make the current Metropolitan Museum the "new" Central Library and the current Central Library the "new" Metropolitan Museum? Architecturally, the current library looks more like a museum of modern art while the current museum looks more like an historic library.

There, it's settled.

All kidding aside, we believe the city's main library branch belongs downtown -- and nowhere else.


Entry ramp

Mid-century entrance


Mid-century designs

"dove" screen

Chinese Pavilion

Sources: The Press-Enterprise, City of Riverside

Find recent content on the RXSQ Main Index or look in the Master Archives to find all content.

Follow Us

Make Custom Gifts at CafePress

Powered by Movable Type 4.35-en
version: 4.35-en
  • Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feeds: Atom




Recent Comments



Got Riverside? RaincrossSquare is now on CafePress! We are offering a limited number of products -- such as framed prints, postcards and calendars -- using locally-themed images and graphics. Please feel free to browse our online shop.

Photo Request: We're looking for iconic shots and city views taken between 1940 - 1990 in and around Riverside, especially those where the landscape has significantly changed. Read more...


Photo Galleries
Downtown | City

Photo Pool
items in Raincross Square View/add photos: Raincross Square photo pool

Of Interest

Local Links