2008 Archives

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.


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2004
Central Fire Station
(aka Downtown Fire Station No. 1)

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2008
Rear view

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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


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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Riverside National Cemetery marks 30th year

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2008
Riverside National Cemetery

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2008
Ysmael R. Villegas

This Veterans Day marks thirty years since the opening of Riverside National Cemetery.

Located across the I-215 freeway from March ARB on the former grounds of Camp William G. Haan, the 921-acre cemetery is one of the nation's largest and busiest national cemeteries.

The initial phase included 96 acres and cost $5 million when opened on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 1978. The first interment was local WWII hero and Medal of Honor recipient, Ysmael R. Villegas.

Read more about the history of RNC in a previous post from earlier this year.

Photo Gallery: Riverside National Cemetery

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Sources: The Press-Enterprise


Photo pool spotlight - 11/02/2008

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GO - Citizens Business Bank Arena

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Oct. 2008
Southeast entrance

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Oct. 2008
Interior view

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Oct. 2008
East end

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Seating configuration - hockey

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After more than a decade since first envisioned, several years of planning, a few false starts and 18 months of construction, a new day in sports and entertainment for Inland Southern California began Saturday as Citizens Business Bank Arena opened its doors to the public for the first time.

Dubbed "Community Day," the grand opening event saw several thousand people take a peek inside the new $150 million, 11,000 seat arena in Ontario. Located near the I-10/I-15 interchange, the arena rests on a portion of the former site for Ontario Motor Speedway. Immediately to the east is Ontario Mills mall while across I-10 sits LA/Ontario International Airport.

The facility, which is managed by AEG (who also oversee LA's Staples Center), is Inland Southern California's first major-league caliber arena and will play host to everything from sporting events and concerts to children's shows and community events. The facility's first official event is an October 24 exhibition game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder (formerly Seattle SuperSonics). Carrie Underwood's November 9 date will be the venue's inaugural concert. But the real acoustical test is likely to come December 12 when an already sold-old appearance is made by Metallica.

In between concerts and other sporting events, the arena will be home to the Ontario Reign, the new Double-A affiliate ice hockey club of the Los Angeles Kings. The Reign will play in the 24-team ECHL as a member of the Pacific Division along with Las Vegas, Fresno, Stockton and Bakersfield (the new Anaheim Ducks affiliate).

Designed by Rossetti Associates, the 225,000 sq. ft. facility contains 9,500 fixed seats with expansion risers allowing 11,089 for concerts, 10,832 for basketball and 9,736 for ice hockey. There are also 36 luxury suites -- 24 Club suites and 12 Skybox suites -- both with their own VIP areas and outdoor patios. An open-ended concourse fills a portion of the arena's western end.

Our first impressions? Top-notch and first class; comfortably large and yet intimate. The seats offer excellent sightlines and feel close to the floor, even from above. No matter where one sits, there simply is not a bad seat in the house. Not even the single seat atop section 219.

At two-thirds the size of both Los Angeles' Staples Center and Anaheim's Honda Center, we think Citizens' "big, but intimate" atmosphere will make it one of Southern California's premier concert venues. (With sincere apologies to Long Beach Arena -- a long-time favorite of local music fans -- Ontario's new arena is poised to overtake it as the region's best mid-major concert venue.)

Indeed, it's been a long time coming, but Citizens Arena is a venue that both Ontario and Inland Southern California can be proud of.

Photos: Citizens Business Bank Arena

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Update

Sources: City of Ontario, AEG, Rossetti Associates, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, The Press-Enterprise


Out & About - 10/14/2008

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Flash: Out & About slideshow

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2008
Incorporating the old RIR logo

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2008
March Field Air Museum

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2008
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

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__________________


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.

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Photo pool spotlight - 10/08/2008

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Pedestrian mall renovation nearing halfway point

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Sept. 2008
Renovation details

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Sept. 2008
Fountain improvements
outside City Hall

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Sept. 2008
View north toward
University Avenue from Ninth Street

Work continues to move along on the $10 million renovation of the Main Street Pedestrian Mall in downtown Riverside. The project is the first major rehab of the mall, which opened in 1966* spanning the former "Main Street" between Tenth and Sixth streets.

Construction began this past Spring between Tenth Street and University Avenue as well as the sidewalks on Main Street between Sixth and Fifth streets. Completion is expected to be completed by Fall. Work on the remaining two sections (one | two) between University Avenue and Sixth Street will begin after the first of the year with completion not likely until mid-2009.

So far, we like what we see, especially the interlocking pavers, which helps give the newness a rustic feel. Though not 100% complete, the look and feel between Ninth and Tenth streets is clean and crisp (maybe too much so) and even compliments City Hall. However, we're a bit unsure how the style will look in the more historic areas, particularly adjacent to portions of the Mission Inn. Truth be told, this portion of the mall -- with the most mature trees and park-like feel -- is least in need of complete renovation.

Included in the overall project is the reopening of Ninth Street through the mall. As a result, the city uprooted one of the mall's long-standing art fixtures, the Riverside Tripod. Designed by noted artist James Rosati, the sculpture sat alongside City Hall since 1976 before being replanted at the city's recently-built Fire Station No. 5.

In a fitting tribute, the Tripod was rededicated earlier this month as part of Sept. 11th observances. The new location is meant to commemorate both Rosati -- whose famed "Ideogram"** sculpture was destroyed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center -- and Riverside Fire personnel who responded to New York City in the aftermath.

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* Photo courtesy of Ruhnau, Ruhnau, Clarke
** Photo courtesy of Mary Ann Sullivan at Bluffton University



Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise


Photo pool spotlight - 09/06/2008

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Road Trip: Fresno

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This entry kicks off a semi-occasional feature we'll be calling "Road Trip" -- a chance to explore other cities and areas within California, particularly those outside the three major metropolitan regions: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Everyone knows these places, but what about the likes of Fresno, Stockton and Bakersfield? The latter three are relatively large cities that in many states would be the largest and most dominant city. But in California, they are but one of at least a dozen cities in excess of 300,000 residents.

Our aim will be to spotlight these lesser-known, mid-major cities. In some cases, we'll toss in a smaller city (such as Visalia) or a larger city essentially hidden within one of the major metropolitan areas (such as Chula Vista). From a basic urban/civic planning perspective, we'll take a somewhat cursory look at their urban form, and in particular, their downtown cores -- if there is one -- and see what's there and what isn't. We'll then compare and contrast them relative to Riverside, looking for what makes them unique -- or not.

Our hope is to gain better appreciation for these somewhat overlooked places and possibly learn a thing or two along the way about how to improve and strengthen our own city.

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Road Trip: Fresno

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Flash: Road Trip: Fresno slideshow

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Flash: Fresno Fashion Fair Mall
(with interior views reminiscent of
The Broadway dept. store in Riverside)

For being a city located at the center of California's dusty, but agriculturally rich "Central Valley," Fresno belies expectations. Many Californian's simply assume the worst and never really give the place a chance, making it a good candidate in which to start this series.

First impression: Fresno is a big city -- 470,000 according to 2007 Census estimates -- that feels somewhat smaller than it is. The downtown core, though not overly large for a city of its size, is a mixture of old and new. And, as with every major California city, Fresno is surrounded by expansive, suburban housing tracts. Thanks to numerous trees lining many major streets, particularly those in the more recent developments and newer commercial areas, Fresno appears much greener than one might expect. Looming in the distance to the east is the Sierra Nevada mountain range, including Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks (with 14,494-foot Mt. Whitney on the backside). Located about an hour to the northeast is Yosemite.

How it's similar: Fresno and Riverside actually share much in common. Both support a major university and are seats of county government with the various civic and cultural institutions inherent therein. Physically, downtown Fresno also contains a classic street grid pattern and a 1960s-era pedestrian mall. Likewise, Fresno's post-war growth has taken on a predominantly suburban form -- partly to the detriment of downtown. Geographically, the metropolitan region is partially hemmed in by mountains. And, as with the majority of California's valleys, summers can get a bit toasty and the air does get somewhat stagnant at times.

How it's different: Unlike Riverside, Fresno is unquestionably the dominant city within the Fresno-Madera metropolitan region. As such, it has its own television market. Fresno's moderate skyline is dominated by mostly older and slightly taller buildings. Though both cities have modern convention centers, the latter also has a mid-sized arena and an adjacent concert hall/civic theater. And although Fresno has a passenger airport with an Air National Guard unit, the city does not have a major military base the likes of March Field near Riverside. Once outside Fresno, the landscape turns into mile upon mile of farmland.

Biggest surprise: Parts of downtown appear to be in a time warp of sorts, with a small, but impressive collection of pre-WWII "Renaissance Revival" styled towers (one | two | three | four). Arguably downtown's most unique aspect, the outdoor Fulton Mall (1964) offers a nice respite from California's car-dominated landscape. Though not overly vibrant, the pedestrian mall has a lot of potential. A recent addition is a minor league baseball stadium located at the mall's southern end. Interestingly, the landscape design of Fresno's Fulton Mall is very similar to the one in downtown Riverside, which opened two years after Fresno's. Both malls contain elements (Fresno | Riverside) designed by landscape architect Garrett Eckbo of Eckbo, Dean, Austin and Williams. One key difference is the amount of public art situated along Fresno's mall, at least double of that found at Riverside's version.

Biggest disappointment: As a predominantly low-rise campus (one | two) with several large parking lots and no overly distinctive buildings, the campus of California State University at Fresno felt more like an overgrown high school. In fact, one can easily drive past the campus without even realizing. However, the university is a major player in local sports and includes a football stadium, a recently built arena/rec center, and separate stadiums for both baseball and softball.

What can Riverside learn? One aspect of Fresno that Riverside can take note of is that city's long-term commitment to the larger civic/regional entities, such as the sports arena, civic theater and even the new minor league baseball stadium. And although Riverside's own pedestrian mall is currently undergoing its first major renovation, the city should keep tabs on Fresno's similarly designed outdoor mall. In particular, Riverside should take note of the amount of public art dotting Fresno's mall.

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Local colleges receive high marks

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Four area colleges -- including three in Riverside -- received high marks in the latest college rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

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2001
Carillon Tower - UC Riverside

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2005
California Baptist University

UC Riverside, California Baptist University, La Sierra University, all located in Riverside, and the University of Redlands, were each ranked within their respective categories, including:

  • UC Riverside -- 86th in "Best National Universities" and 9th in "Up-and-Coming Schools"
  • Univ. of Redlands -- 8th "Best Universities -- Master's (West)" and 2nd "Great Schools, Great Prices, Universities -- Master's"
  • California Baptist Univ. -- 41st in "Best Universities -- Master's (West)"
  • La Sierra Univ. -- 1st in "Racial Diversity, Universities -- Master's (West)"

For UCR, the "Up-and-Coming" ranking validates what many on campus already know, but yet hasn't quite translated into off-campus circles. For example, the newly-appointed dean of UCR's College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Thomas Baldwin, told the following to The Press-Enterprise:

"I came and took a look and I met the faculty and I said, 'Holy camoly!' Man! This place is much, much stronger than it is perceived outside," he said.

"Perceptions trail reality by at least 10 years and I think this university is just about to burst onto the national radar screen as being a very, very good place to go to school. I think you're going to see a lot happen over the next five years."
Riverside Press-Enterprise - Aug. 22, 2008

Indeed, the ranking should come as no real surprise to those close to UCR, as the campus has consistently ranked among the top universities nationwide over the past decade in receiving Fellows from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the most distinguished honors in the scientific community. In several recent years, UCR has received the most appointments, beating out such stalwarts as MIT, Princeton, Yale, Harvard and UC Berkeley.

"This is a welcome confirmation of what faculty, students, staff and alumni know about the University of California, Riverside," said UCR's new chancellor, Timothy P. White. "It speaks to the quality of the people that we have and the programs that are established and being established. This is not a surprise. It's long overdue. The credit goes to those who worked hard in the past to get the university to where it is today."
UCR Newsroom - Aug. 22, 2008

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Photo pool spotlight - 08/19/2008

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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


Then & Now - Downtown Post Office

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Over the past 96 years, downtown Riverside has seen 2 main post offices built, the first in 1912 and the second in 1939.

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U.S. Post Office
Late 1950s - 2008
Flash: View photo overlay

First came the 1912 Federal Building located on Seventh Street (Mission Inn Avenue). Sporting Italian-Renaissance architecture, the building served as the city's main post office for nearly 30 years. Afterward, the building became the headquarters for the 4th Air Force during World War II. Later uses included housing the city's police department*, and currently, the Riverside Metropolitan Museum.

The second downtown post office, located a few blocks away on the northeast corner of Ninth and Orange streets, came online just as World War II was beginning. Built at a cost of $175,900, this later version sports Spanish-Mission architecture with Art Deco/Moderne-influenced designs inside.

Seen in photos approximately 50 years apart, this second post office remains an architectural gem in downtown today. Note in the 1950s photo the lack of trees but a hedge which still remains today. Note also that Orange Street is a two-way street as opposed to today's one-way between University Avenue and Fourteenth Street.

Finally, visible in the far right background of the earlier photo is the First Baptist Church. Located at the northeast corner of Ninth and Lemon, the church site today is home to a 5-story building constructed in the late 1980s.

Flash: Downtown Post Office - Late 1950s - 2008

* Photo courtesy of RPD Remembers

Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Metropolitan Museum, The Press-Enterprise, "Colony for California" (Tom Patterson)


Photo request: Post-1940 Riverside

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Time to rummage through those personal and family photo albums -- we're looking for photos!

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1966
Main Street Pedestrian Mall
Photo courtesy of RPD Remembers

In particular, 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. From downtown to Arlington and from UCR to La Sierra, think: buildings, shopping centers, street scenes, schools, homes, previously vacant lots -- just about anything and everything.

Tyler Mall and Riverside Plaza? Magnolia and University avenues? Mt. Rubidoux and Riverside International Raceway? March Air Force Base and Camp Haan? Main Street and the downtown pedestrian mall? Basically, if you've got it, we want to use it.

The photos can be of any size and either B&W or color, but the larger -- and higher quality -- the better. And of course, if we use it, you'll get photo credit.

If you have a photo you'd like to share, let us know: webmaster(at)raincrosssquare(dot)com.

And thanks!


Update: Regency Tower - July 2008

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Rendering
Silagi Development


Project site
Google

A drive past the site of the Regency Tower site in downtown Riverside shows work is well underway on the 3-level, underground parking garage for the $70 million office building.

The past few weeks has seen the arrival of an on-site crane used for the building's skeletal steel frame. Over the next several months, downtown visitors will see the steel frame, which is currently at ground level, rise up into the city's skyline.

Site preparation for the project began in April 2007 with actual construction starting on the subterranean parking this past February. Completion of the 10-story, 250,000 sq. ft. building is expected in late 2009.

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Jan. 2007
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Feb. 2008
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July 2008
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July 2008
Underground
parking

Medical school for UCR receives approval

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Final approval was given this past week by the University of California for what will become the state's sixth UC medical school. Set to open in 2012 at UC Riverside, the new school will be the first public medical school established in California in over 40 years and will build upon the current UCR/UCLA Thomas Haider Program in Biomedical Sciences established at UCR in 1974.


2007
UC Riverside

Approval of the school comes during the first week in office for new UCR Chancellor Timothy P. White, who is taking the reigns from acting chancellor Robert D. Grey. White says searching for a "highly regarded pioneer in the medical field" to lead the medical school will begin immediately.

Formerly the president of University of Idaho, White was hired in May by the UC Board of Regents to replace France A. Cordova, who became president at Purdue University last July. Cordova was instrumental in launching the initial planning for UCR's medical school in 2003.

The program will use existing facilities upon opening in 2012 with construction of a new medical school complex planned to begin in 2010. The complex will be located on 40 acres at the northeast corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Chicago Avenue at the western edge of the UCR campus. Completion and occupancy of the new complex is expected by 2015.

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Fairmount Park making a comeback

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2008
Main entrance

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2008
Fairmount Lake

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2008
Lake Evans

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2008
Plenty of shade

Arguably Riverside's most interesting park, Fairmount is staging a comeback. After several years of neglect, the city recently completed various park improvements, including new gazebos, picnic tables and playgrounds as well as refurbishing of the boathouse, itself a 1995 replica of the original 1911 boathouse.

One of the most expensive improvements was the dredging of both Lake Evans and Fairmount Lake, which were last dredged in 1983. The city spent $2 million to clean and remove 50,000 tons of silt that accumulated at the bottom of the lakes. Both lakes were then restocked with two tons of catfish.

Fairmount Park originated in smaller form as early as 1898 on land near the Santa Ana River on the northwest edge of downtown. But it wasn't until land donated in 1903 by longtime Riverside businessman S.C. Evans Sr. in which the park of today began to take shape. Evans' donation allowed for the creation of the park's first lake -- Fairmount Lake.

A major expansion in 1911 saw elements from an Olmsted Brothers plan added, including a boathouse and Japanese-style lotus garden with arched, wooden bridges (later replaced with cement versions). Although at least two bridges remain, damaging floods over the years have wiped out the lotus garden. It's too bad the city found neither the money -- nor the will -- to replace it.

A 1924 expansion added another 60 acres, this time donated from S.C. Evans Jr. The additional acreage allowed for the creation of the park's second lake -- the much larger Lake Evans. Future expansions would eventually give the 180-acre park its current landscape that now includes a third lake.

Hailing from a different era, Fairmount is chock full of old-school park features, including forest-like trees and foliage, a bandshell, rose garden, lawn bowling club, boathouse, and of course, the three rustic lakes. At various times, the park also sported a small petting zoo and amusement area -- with a carousel (1947) and later a tiny roller coaster -- but these have long-since been removed.

Today, the park is seeing a rebirth thanks in part to the recent improvements funded from the city's $1.8 billion, 5-year Riverside Renaissance plan.

We're glad to see the city's flagship park regaining back some of its former glory.

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2008
Park map
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2008
Boathouse
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2008
New paths
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2008
Resurfaced

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2008
Entrance
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2008
Rose Garden
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2008
Pier
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2008
Leisure time



Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise, "Colony for California" (Tom Patterson)


Committee finalizes expansion guidelines

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2006
Central Library

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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


Downtown Riverside at sunset

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2008
View looking east toward downtown Riverside from atop Mount Rubidoux just prior to sunset. In the immediate background is Box Springs Mountain with the San Bernardino Mountains looming in the distance.

Situated approximately 1 mile west of downtown Riverside is Mount Rubidoux, a small but impressive hill overlooking the city. Rising 1,364 feet above sea level, the rocky hill gets its name from Jurupa Rancho owner Louis Robidoux (note the different spelling) who settled in the area during the mid-1800s.

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2008
Mount Rubidoux

In 1906, Mount Rubidoux was acquired by Frank A. Miller of the Mission Inn. A year later, Miller and railroad magnate Henry E. Huntington partnered up to build two, single-lane roads allowing for motorized vehicles to traverse the summit.

Atop the summit sits the Serra Cross, placed in honor of Father Junipero Serra who is credited with founding the California Missions. The cross is the site of the nation's oldest continuing outdoor Easter Sunrise service, which began in 1909.

Also located on the mountain is the World Peace Tower and Friendship Bridge, erected in 1925 to honor Frank Miller. Miller, who co-founded the Institute of World Affairs (later to become the World Affairs Council), was a staunch advocate for world peace. As such, Miller's connections brought the likes of President Taft and social activist Booker T. Washington to Riverside, both of whom made the trek up Mount Rubidoux.

In 1955, the Miller family deeded the entire park to Riverside. The original wooden cross was replaced with a cement version in 1963.

Although severe rains during the 1990s washed out parts of both roads forcing their closure, the granite outcropping remains a favorite recreational activity for pedestrians, joggers and cyclists alike.

Related


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2008
World Peace Tower
& Friendship Bridge
pc-riv-mtrub-001-600.jpg
@1940s
Downtown Riverside
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2008
Colorful hues


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2008
Serra Cross
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2008
Vista point
riv-2008f-dt-mtrubidoux-001a-600.jpg
2008
View southwest
over Riverside

Out & About - 06/15/2008

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The past two weekends saw us at opposite ends of Riverside. Last weekend, we had the chance to take in the reopened Arlington Branch Library. While there, we took a few photos of the nearby Arlington Village commercial area. This weekend, we spent some time downtown checking in on the refurbishing of the Main Street Pedestrian Mall.

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Flash: Out & About slideshow

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1907
Riverside & Arlington Railway
1962 Interurbans Magazine

1907-riv-randa-railway-002-600.jpg
1907
Riverside & Arlington Railway
1962 Interurbans Magazine

About 5 miles southwest of downtown Riverside sits Arlington Village. Located at the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Van Buren Boulevard, the village hails from what was originally known as the Town of Arlington. Founded in 1877 by prominent Riversiders S.C. Evans and William Sayward, Arlington was in many ways Riverside's first suburb, with streetcars* running between the two towns. As such, it was included within Riverside's boundaries upon official incorporation in 1883.

By the early 1900s, the area contained a library, fire station, newspaper office, two-story commercial building, local schools, churches and several businesses. The commercial area thrived well into the 1960s, partly on account of being the nearby home to Riverside County General Hospital, a place where it would remain for 100 years before a new county hospital opened in Moreno Valley in 1998.

About a mile south of Arlington Village is the land that sprouted much of Riverside's famous Washington Navel orange groves. Today, the area still includes large swaths of groves thanks in part to the Arlington Heights Greenbelt citrus preserve. It also includes the 377-acre California Citrus State Historic Park -- an actual working citrus grove, museum and park.

Fifty years after the Riverside Freeway and nearly 40 years after the nearby Galleria at Tyler reduced the importance of the area as a major commercial center, Arlington Village is staging a comeback. Recent street and sidewalk improvements and refurbished storefronts have given the neighborhood new life. Besides the newly-expanded library, a recent addition to the village is a large wall mural composed from photographs depicting Magnolia Avenue at Van Buren Boulevard during the 1940s.

With a bit of vision and planning -- and a small residential townhome/condo component -- the village could easily sprout into a nice, semi-urban landscape consisting of more restaurants and shops all within easy walking distance.

Elsewhere in Riverside, work is progressing on the makeover of the Main Street Pedestrian Mall in downtown. New low-lying retaining walls have sprung up on the mall between Ninth Street and University Avenue as has framework for a new fountain. The next phase will include the blocks between University Avenue and Sixth Street. The $10 million project began in March and is expected to be completed in spring 2009

Concurrent work also continues on the old Rouse Building -- the soon-to-be UCR/Culver Center of the Arts -- as well as the reopening of Ninth Street through the mall adjacent to City Hall. Nearby, foundation work is moving along at the Regency Tower site, located at Tenth and Orange streets.

Flash: Out & About slideshow

Related

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* Copyright 1962 Interurbans Magazine

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


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

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2006
Riverside Metropolitan Museum

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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

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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

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2008
New addition

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

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



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


Riverside National Cemetery

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2008
Riverside National Cemetery

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2004
National Medal of Honor

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2008
National POW/MIA Memorial

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2008
Memorial Day weekend

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2008
Recent burials

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Riverside National Cemetery, one of the nation's largest national cemeteries. It is also one of the busiest.

Located along I-215 just west of March Air Reserve Base in southeastern Riverside, the 921-acre cemetery is the final resting place for nearly 180,000 veterans, former service members and their spouses from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Currently, the cemetery averages 150 services per week, totaling about 8,000 per year.

Riverside National sits on the former grounds of Camp William G. Haan, which served as an anti-aircraft training facility during WWII. In 1946, Camp Haan was absorbed into March Air Force Base and remained part of the base's sprawling western landscape before being transferred to the VA in 1976 for the then-planned 740-acre national cemetery.

The initial phase of 96 acres cost $5 million and opened on Veterans Day, Nov. 11th 1978. The first interment was local WWII hero and Medal of Honor recipient, Ysmael R. Villegas, whose family allowed re-burial from Riverside's Olivewood Cemetery to the newly-christened national cemetery. Within the first month of operation, the facility performed 355 interments, 163 of which were re-burials.

By 2003, when the Air Force transferred an additional 181 acres to the cemetery, the total overall acreage reached 921, with current development covering approximately 300 of those acres. With future development, the total number of interments is projected to reach well over 1 million.

Among those buried at Riverside National are two other Medal of Honor recipients -- Com. John H. Balch, WWI; and Col. Mitchell Paige, WWII / Korea -- as well as several distinguished persons, including Col. Aaron Bank (the father of the Army's Green Berets) and Capt. Lillian Kinkela Keil (an Air Force Flight Nurse Pioneer, who's one of the military's most decorated women). Also of note are several members of the Tuskegee Airmen; Ofc. James F. Van Pelt Jr., navigator during the dropping of the atomic bomb over Nagasaki; and Thomas Ross Bond Sr., best known as "Butch" in the 'Little Rascals' comedies.

Two lakes, an administration building, a small amphitheater and several monuments are scattered about the grounds, which ranges from gently rolling hills to wide open spaces. (Unfortunately, the newest portions tend to be a bit thin with regards to mature trees, a condition that with increased VA support, we hope changes sooner rather than later.)

Among the memorials is one of four nationally recognized National Medal of Honor sites, which was built in 1999. Other monuments include a Veteran's Memorial and the National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Memorial. On the immediate horizon is a replica of the Vietnam Wall Memorial with several others representing the Civil War, WWI, WWII and Korea planned for the future.

Though far from being the "Arlington of the West" as first envisioned by its chief proponent and longtime civic activist David Goldware, Riverside National Cemetery has come a long way in a short 30 years. With the right guidance, diligent local support -- and kind Congressional budgets -- the cemetery may very well become the Arlington for a new generation of veterans.

Photo Gallery: Riverside National Cemetery

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2004
Amphitheater
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2004
Medal of Honor
riv-2004-rnc-021-600.jpg
2004
Lake "B"

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2008
Ground
breaking
(June 1976)
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2008
Dedication
(Nov. 1978)
Camp_Haan_Aerial_View_3_18.jpg
WWII
Camp Haan*
Camp_Haan_Inspection_3_21b.jpg
WWII
Camp Haan*



*Photo courtesy of Robert F. Gallagher

Sources: Riverside National Cemetery, March Air Reserve Base, March Field Museum, U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, The Press-Enterprise, WikiPedia


Relocation of Marcy Branch likely

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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
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2008
Crisp
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2008
Colorful



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


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This colorful "Empire" extends into the San Bernardino, Riverside,
and Los Angeles counties.


Color Photo by Luis and Virginia Kay / Columbia Wholesale Supply, N. Hollywood, Calif.

We're not certain of the exact year, but this postcard appears to be sometime during the 1950s. Based upon "Int'l Airport" being used for notating Ontario Airport, it's likely post-1946 -- the year Ontario Municipal Airport was re-named Ontario International Airport. Likewise, the lack of Lake Perris means it's pre-1974.

Note also the current-day routes for the I-15 and I-215 freeways are signed as 71 and 395 respectively and the 60 Freeway between Riverside and Pomona appears to follow the old Mission Blvd. route, which again, likely dates the card to the 1950s.

At any rate, the postcard hails from a time when Inland Southern California was better known for its orange groves and outdoor recreation rather than for explosive, suburban growth.


March Field AirFest 2008

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This weekend, the skies over Inland Southern California will reverberate with the thundering sounds of the USAF Thunderbirds as the team performs during "AirFest 2008" at March Air Reserve Base.

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2004
AirFest 2004

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1920s
March Field

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1940
March Field
USAF

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2008
Aerial view
(note the outline of
the base's original quad)
MS Virtual Earth

The base, celebrating its 90th year, will once again open up the gates to the public during its annual open house/air show. The event, which attracts upwards of 250,000 people, has become the largest such air show in Southern California.

In addition to the Thunderbirds, flyovers will include the F-22, F-18, KC-135, C-130 as well an impressive short runway landing/takeoff demo performed by a March ARB-based Globemaster C-17. Also scheduled are precision parachute teams from the US Army "Golden Knights" and Canadian Skyhawks, a Red Bull MiG-17 aerial demonstration and several stunt pilots and vintage aircraft. On the tarmac will be over 50 aircraft available for up-close inspection, including several open for "walk-thrus."

Gates will be open 8:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m., Sat. May 3 and Sun. May, 4. Free parking is available on base grounds.

March ARB was initially established in 1918 during World War I as Alessandro Flying Training Field under the command of the fledgling Army Air Service (later to become the Army Air Corps.) The base, which is the oldest Air Force base west of the Mississippi, immediately took the name March Field in honor of 2nd Lt. Peyton C. March Jr.

Through the years, the base was home to many of the nation's most celebrated pilots and commanders, including Hoyt Vandenberg, Curtis LeMay, Nathan Twining and Henry "Hap" Arnold. With its close proximity to Hollywood, March also played host to Bob Hope's first major USO show in May 1941.

Following World War II, March became part of the newly-formed Tactical Air Command (TAC), housing the 1st Fighter Wing for the Army Air Force. Upon establishment of the US Air Force as an independent branch in 1948, the base was renamed March Air Force Base, becoming a major Strategic Air Command (SAC) bomber base and headquarters for the 15th Air Force. For several years, B-29s, B-52s and KC-135s dominated the tarmac -- and the overhead skies.

In 1982, KC-10s replaced the last of March's B-52s as the primary mission changed from bombardment to air refueling and support. In 1996, as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, the base was renamed March Air Reserve Base.

Today, as the largest air reserve base in the nation, March ARB supports all branches of the US military. The base is home to the 4th Air Force HQ and several other units, including the 4th Combat Camera Squadron, the 163d Reconnaissance Wing, the American Forces Radio and Television Service, the Southwest Interdiction Unit of U.S. Customs as well as an air wing of Homeland Security.

With Southern California's longest paved runway, the now joint-use facility includes March GlobalPort, which serves as the West Coast hub for cargo shipper DHL.

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Sources: March Air Reserve Base, March Field Museum, USAF, WikiPedia


Library-museum task force convenes

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


1966
Central Library
1967 RNB calendar


2006
Central Library

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1915
U.S. Post Office

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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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Sources: The Press-Enterprise, City of Riverside


Pedestrian mall renovation begins

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Last week saw the beginning of the multi-phase renovation of the Main Street Pedestrian Mall in downtown Riverside. The nearly $10 million dollar project, which is currently underway on two blocks between Tenth Street and University Avenue, is the first overall makeover in the 42-year history of the pedestrian mall. Completion of the 4-block project is expected in mid-2009.

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March 2008
View south from University Avenue
toward City Hall

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March 2008
View north toward University Avenue
from City Hall

The project includes extensive underground infrastructure improvements that will require re-surfacing of the mall's walkways, many of which have suffered from patchwork fixes over the years. Although such extensive resurfacing will no doubt be a bit of an inconvenience, we think the resurfacing is long-overdue regardless of the need for underground work.

Plans also call for a 5,000 square foot "civic plaza" between University and Mission Inn avenues with an overhead tensile fabric roof providing shade during the summer months. The area would allow for larger gatherings as well as better accommodate the ice rink for the annual Festival of Lights. New benches, lighting, speakers, additional electronic surveillance and better access for the disabled round out the project.

Probably the most controversial aspect of the renovation has been with regards to the landscaping, and in particular, the proposed removal of a number of large, mature trees. Fortunately, the project's landscape architect -- Riverside-based Ian Davidson -- has since revised the number of mature trees being removed. In the end, Davidson says the renovated mall will have more trees than it did prior to the makeover.

Another part of the plan includes the re-opening of Ninth Street through the mall near City Hall. Though we have some reservations about this particular aspect, we're glad the design calls for a smaller, two-lane roadway with limited parking as opposed to a wide, four-lane arterial.

Built in 1966, the mall is one of the few remaining, original "pedestrian malls" developed by cities during the 1960s as a way to help stem the outflow of retail to suburban malls. Although many such malls have since disappeared -- including a similar mall in nearby Burbank -- Riverside's has managed to weather the lean years and is now poised to thrive as a new era begins taking shape downtown.

We're glad to see the pedestrian mall get the much needed upgrades and repairs. But more importantly, we're glad to see the mall still in existence and that a growing number of residents, businesses and visitors alike are beginning to better appreciate this truly unique asset.

Photo Gallery: Main Street Pedestrian Mall

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Sources: City of Riverside, Ian Davidson Landscape Architecture, The Press-Enterprise


Mid-century makeover

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One of the best examples of mid-century modernism in Riverside is receiving a makeover. Though some -- or even many -- may not see this as a big deal, particularly on account it involves a parking garage, we feel otherwise.

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2008
Facelift of "north" garage underway

2008-riv-dt-parking-600.jpg
New facade
City of Riverside

riv-2004-dt-parking-001-600.jpg
2004
Pre-remodel

The garage in question is one of two, nearly identical parking structures that opened in 1961* one block apart on Orange Street in downtown. The first "parking terrace" (as they were initially called*) opened behind the then City Hall near Seventh Street (Mission Inn Avenue). The $400,000 structure originally held 202 cars (now 174). Terrace #2, which originally held 186 cars (now 159), opened about a month later one block south near Eighth Street (University Avenue), across from the post office.

The structures were the city's first multi-level parking garages and were primarily aimed at shoring up the downtown retail scene, which had begun feeling the effects of suburban exodus, particularly following the 1956/57 opening of the Riverside Plaza. As such, the garages also facilitated the 1966 opening of the Main Street Pedestrian Mall between Tenth and Sixth streets.

The makeover of the "north" garage near Mission Inn Avenue is well underway. The redesign of the facade incorporates mission flavored motifs while the interior refurbishment includes seismic upgrades, new lighting and a new elevator. Work on the "south" garage is expected to begin sometime following the completion of the first garage.

Though we greatly appreciate the mission revival and Spanish-influenced style of architecture that populates much of the immediate area, we also greatly admire the few mid-century gems scattered around downtown, namely the Central Library and the Orange Street parking garages. And although we do agree with some degree of consistent architectural forms, we also feel that too much of one particular style and/or essentially disallowing "organic" architecture invariably results in a bland, overly homogenous landscape.

Moreover, it appears mid-century architecture is the new "Victorian" blight, likely to only be appreciated after much of the style has disappeared from the landscape. Indeed, each generation has its architectural legacies. Let's hope Riverside heeds past lessons and begins protecting its most notable, post-war "atomic era" buildings before it's too late.

riv-2005-dt-parking-019-450.jpg
2005
"South"
garage
riv-2004-dt-parking-002-450.jpg
2004
"North"
garage
riv-2007f-dt-parking-013-600.jpg
2007
Interior (pre-rehab)
riv-2008f-dt-parking-009a-450.jpg
2008
"North"
garage
riv-2008f-dt-parking-003a-450.jpg
2008
"North"
garage


*1961 / RPL

Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise


Out & About - 02/23/2008

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Trips to local malls this weekend brought evidence of renovation and change at two of the region's largest shopping centers.

First up, a quick stop at the Galleria at Tyler in Riverside saw the removal of the center's 1991 sign, itself a replacement for the orignial 1970 sign*.

With the recent additions to the mall of an AMC theater complex and several restaurants, including Yard House and The Cheesecake Factory, new freeway signage is not completely unexpected. In fact, we spotted new signage recently at the newly expanded parking garage that hinted a new logo -- and new colors -- might be forthcoming.

Elsewhere, a trip to Montclair Plaza gave us a chance to see that mall's interior renovation currently underway. Meant to soften up the center's somewhat industrial look (as a result of a 1986 expansion), the design includes ceiling enhancements, accent lighting, glass railings and new furniture. The work is being done after hours and is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Also planned as part of Montclair's renovation is the demolition of the 1968 building that once housed The Broadway and later Macy's. The building sports classic 1960s modern design, a form that seems to be quickly disappearing from the local landscape. In fact, many of the iconic buildings that once housed The Broadway have met similar fates across Southern California over the last few years.

Finally, could the Montclair renovation provide a glimpse into possible future renovation at Montclair's sister mall in Riverside? Though we're not aware of any planned renovation of the interior for the Galleria at Tyler, both malls underwent similar expansions within five years of one another about 20 years ago. Likewise, both centers are owned by Chicago-based General Growth Properties.

Photo galleries: Montclair Plaza | Galleria at Tyler

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* Photo courtesy of RPD Remembers


Ground broken for downtown office building

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riv-2008f-dt-regency-005ac-450.jpg
Feb. 2008
Tenth at Orange streets

2008-riv-regency-tower-001-600.jpg
Rendering of Regency Tower
Silagi Development

Ground was broken recently on the largest, non-governmental office building to be built within downtown Riverside in over 15 years. When completed, the 10-story Regency Tower will also be the tallest structure built since the 12-story Marriott (Sheraton) Hotel opened in 1987.

Located at the corner of Tenth and Orange streets, the 250,000 sq. ft. building will include 3 levels of underground parking, which will be a nice change from the typical above-ground garage -- or worse, ground-level asphalt lots.

Our main question is why such a long dry spell between large, steel-framed high-rises? After an initial boom in the mid-1970s followed by mini-booms in both the mid-1980s and early-1990s, downtown had not seen a significant steel-framed structure built until the 150,000 sq. ft., 5-story Press-Enterprise building was completed in early 2007.

With having one of the few well-established and authentic downtowns within Southern California, it's difficult to fathom why Riverside has lagged recently in this regards.

Overall, our hope is that Regency Tower signals a new era of higher densities for downtown Riverside. The city (and the region) simply cannot continue building forever outward.

Photo Gallery: Downtown Riverside - Buildings & Skyline

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Sources: The Press-Enterprise


Out & About - 01/19/2008

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Saturday, January 19, 2008 - A bit of artistic flair filled the streets alongside the Mission Inn in downtown Riverside on Saturday as several artists showcased their skills during the the third annual "Paint Out Week." The week-long event was hosted by the Plein Air Artists of Riverside in affiliation with the Riverside Art Museum.

The final day included a contest in which artists had a limited timeframe to complete a street scene painting. Neither the artists nor scenic Mission Inn Avenue disappointed those lucky enough to witness the event. Several works from the event will be displayed at the Riverside Art Museum Jan. 26 through March 29, with a percentage of the proceeds from sales benefitting the Riverside Art Museum.

Elsewhere, downtown hummed with the weekly Saturday morning Farmers' Market on the pedestrian mall. Nearby, fencing surrounds the former Rouse Department Store as it begins its transformation into the UCR / Culver Center for the Arts. Likewise, it appears work is about to begin on the 10-story Regency Tower office building located at Tenth and Orange streets.

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