Results tagged “sign” from Raincross Square

Photos: Riverside's citrus legacy

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Two weeks back, we featured an item on the recent unveiling of a downtown statue honoring Riverside citrus pioneer Eliza L. Tibbets.

In the early 1870s, Eliza secured two small navel orange trees from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for test planting in Riverside. Originating as a mutation in Bahia, Brazil, these navel trees took well to Riverside's semi-arid climate, producing a sweet, succulent and seedless navel orange. California -- and in particular, Inland Southern California -- would never be the same.

The unveiling of the statue prompted us to dig through our image bank for photos associated with Riverside's citrus legacy. Of course, it also forced us to go out and take some new photos for items we didn't already have (and update some we did).

Though certainly not a complete collection of images related to Riverside's citrus past (nor does it include images from other local citrus-rich communities, namely Redlands, Corona and Upland), we feel the gallery still manages to show the wide-reaching importance the navel orange played in shaping both Riverside's landscape and its history -- a history that was dramatically changed with the arrival of two seemingly inconspicuous navel orange trees in 1873.

Photo Gallery: Riverside's Citrus Legacy

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Sources: "A Colony For California" (Tom Patterson), "Pursuing Eden - Matthew Gage: His Challenges, Conquests and Calamities" (Joan H. Hall), "A Citrus Legacy" (Joan H. Hall), "Adobes, Bungalows, and Mansions of Riverside, California Revisited" (Esther H. Klotz, Joan H. Hall), City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside Public Library


pc-riv-1950s-motel-003a-A-600.jpg
1950s
Town & Country

pc-riv-1960s-motel-004a-A-600.jpg
1960s
Sage & Sand

pc-riv-1960s-motel-007a-A-600.jpg
1960s
Caravan Inn

riv-2010c-university-1510-002-600.jpg
2010
Courtyard by Marriott

Prior to the building of the 60 Freeway through Riverside in the early 1960s, the main highway heading into downtown from the east was Eighth Street. Visitors traveling between Palm Springs and Los Angeles could grab some rest at any one of the half-dozen or so small, roadside motels scattered along a two-mile stretch between UC Riverside and downtown. As such, Eighth Street -- now University Avenue -- became the city's "motel row."

With its proximity to the city's early industrial areas, UC Riverside, March AFB and the now defunct Riverside International Raceway, the accumulation of motels, hotels and restaurants grew considerably during the 1960s and 1970s as national chains the likes of Ramada Inn and Holiday Inn began popping up. And by the 1990s, larger hotels, such as Days Inn (now Courtyard by Marriott), had sprung up as well.

However, as in many cities across the nation, when the newer and larger hotels arrived, the smaller motels began decaying, eventually leading to seedier surroundings. Likewise, the 1987 opening of downtown's 12-story Sheraton (now Marriott), the closing of Riverside International Raceway in 1989 and the 1993 reopening of downtown's historic Mission Inn dealt a tough blow to even the larger hotels. By the mid-1990s, control of the former Ramada and Holiday inns would be assumed by UC Riverside, which uses the adjacent properties for offices, classrooms and exchange student housing.

Since 2000, however, Riverside has invested millions of dollars in implementing the University Avenue specific plan that included refurbishing and/or phasing out the older, seedier motels and adding landscaping to the curb and street medians. More recently, several of the decaying motels have been demolished. A large, mixed-use apartment complex for UCR students replaced one, a retail center replaced another, while a few others have become empty lots awaiting redevelopment.

Over the ensuing months, we hope to spotlight a few of these motels and hotels and maybe even a couple of the eateries, some of which no longer exist. For now, below are a few photos from the three mid-century neon signs that remain from "motel row's" past.


riv-2010c-university-1393-005-400.jpg
2010
Farm House
riv-2010c-university-2140-005-400.jpg
2010
Skylark
riv-2010c-university-2711-006a-400.jpg
2010
Thunderbird
riv-2010c-university-2711-008ac-600.jpg
2010
Thunderbird
riv-2009c-university-2711-009-400.jpg
2009
Thunderbird


Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library


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