2010 Archives

Out & About - 12/29/2010

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Main Street
A trolley strolls along Main Street near City Hall on a rainy Wednesday
in downtown Riverside.

Bookshelf: Riverside's Invisible Past

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Riverside's Invisible Past
(Riverside Museum Press)

The latest book documenting Riverside's history has just hit the bookshelves. Written by fourth-generation resident of Riverside Joan H. Hall, "Riverside's Invisible Past" is the latest in several local history books by Joan, many of which are must-haves.

The 192-page book is chock full of interesting and informative histories surrounding 52 structures and sites from Riverside's past. Among the topics are long-gone historic homes, Riverside's Chinatown, the plunge and zoo at Fairmount Park, the classic Southern Sierras/California Electric headquarters and a demolished Spanish-Mission style mortuary designed by noted architect Robert L. Spurgeon.

Each narrative is illustrated with one or more photos, providing visual texture to the histories. The majority of the images come from the archives of the Riverside Metropolitan Museum and that of the author herself, including several old advertisements. Also in the book are a number of photos from the rich -- and not often seen -- Special Collections at UC Riverside.

One interesting tidbit found at the back of Joan's book was an unexpected discovery involving a church bell from Riverside's First Methodist Church. After changing owners and locations at least two times between 1882 and 1906, Joan says the "wayward bell" was eventually "ignored and forgotten" atop a now demolished downtown fire station. Forgotten, that is, until 100 years later when the bell was re-discovered atop Mount Rubidoux by Glenn Wenzel (author of "Anecdotes on Mount Rubidoux and Frank A. Miller, Her Promoter"). As Joan put it, serendipity indeed.

Joan has long been involved with local history, serving on the board of several local organizations, including the Riverside Museum Associates, which produced the book via its Riverside Museum Press. She will be signing copies of "Riverside's Invisible Past" at several locations in the month of December. So be sure to catch up with her at any one of the following dates:

  • Riverside Metropolitan Museum: Dec. 5 & 19 -- Noon to 4 p.m.
  • Barnes & Noble, Riverside: Dec. 11 -- 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Heritage House, Riverside: Dec. 12 -- Noon to 4 p.m.
  • Mission Inn Gift Shop: Dec 18 -- 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Related

Previous


18th Annual 'Festival of Lights'

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2009
Main Street near the Mission Inn

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2009
Pedestrian mall ice rink

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2009
Pedestrian mall
at Mission Inn Avenue

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

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

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

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

Related


Photo pool spotlight - 11/07/2010

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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.


Fox theater gets retro 'blade' signs

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October 2010
Retro 'blade' signs being added

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1930s
Original 'blade' signs

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

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

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

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

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

Update: Both blade signs installed: one | two

Previous


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


Sources: The Press-Enterprise, City of Riverside


Riverside's Galleria at Tyler mall turns 40

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1970
Press-Enterprise special section
RPL


In a fanfare of Spanish fashioned pageantry, Riverside's new Tyler Mall will be trumpeted to a formal opening tomorrow morning, the 64-acre shopping center adding $40 million stature to the city's retail sphere. It is the first mall-under-roof in the city.

That's how the local newspaper -- The Press-Enterprise -- described the city's new retail mecca 40 years ago in an October 11, 1970 special section highlighting the mall's grand opening.

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1976
GRCC

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1976
Tyler Mall
GRCC

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2006
Galleria at Tyler

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2010

At over 800,000 sq. ft., the indoor Tyler Mall (now Galleria at Tyler) was nearly double the size of the city's other major shopping center, the outdoor Riverside Plaza, which opened as the Inland area's first regional shopping center in 1956/57. The new mall's developer and general contractor was Ernest W. Hahn of Los Angeles. The architect was Jon Jerde of Burke, Kober, Nicolais and Archuleta, A.I.A., Los Angeles.

Joining anchors The Broadway* and JCPenney** were more than 80 stores (including a two-level, 61,000 sq. ft. Woolworth's) stretched along a 1,000 foot-long, single-level corridor. Parking for 5,000 cars surrounded the mall. The opening of the third major anchor, May Co.,*** was delayed until July 1973.

Some of the mall's initial tenants included standard national and regional chains of the time: Kinney Shoes, See's Candies, Singer Sewing Co., Weisfield's Jewelers, Swiss Colony, Fashion Conspiracy, Thom McAnn Shoes, The Show-Off, Ardens and Gallenkamp Shoes. Also present were a few smaller chains and local shops, including Tinder Box (which remains today), Jeanne's, Kirk Jewelers and Cheney's Music (which relocated from downtown Riverside where it had been since 1944).

The mall also included several outparcel pads, including JCP and Broadway tire centers, a gas station, Howard Johnson's Restaurant, United California Bank (currently Wells Fargo), Anaheim Savings, and United Artists Theaters, which originally opened as a twin theater before quickly doubling to four. It stood where Barnes & Noble is today.

Many of the original stores and chains have long since been replaced. Probably the most missed tenant of all, however, is Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour, which faced Magnolia Avenue** near where Yard House stands today. (Ordering "the Zoo" at Farrell's was standard practice during kids' birthday parties in the 1970s and early 1980s.)

In May 1990, work began on a major expansion that included a fourth department store (Nordstrom), second level of shops and two parking garages. When the grand reopening took place on October 17, 1991, the mall had a new name -- Galleria at Tyler. At the time, plans had been approved for up to two more department stores (for a total of six***), but the 1993 merger of J.W. Robinson's with May Co. -- forming Robinson's-May -- scuttled at least one of those. Subsequent mergers has seen Macy's replace both The Broadway (1996) and Robinson's-May (2006), the latter resulting in the vacancy of the former Broadway building.

Today, the Galleria at Tyler sports over 170 stores and 1.2 million leaseable space. Modest outparcel expansions took place in 2001 (Barnes & Noble) and 2006/2007 (AMC Theaters, Yard House, Cheesecake Factory, PF Chang's, Elephant Bar and Robbins Bros.). In 2008, the center's large, freeway-visible sign was replaced. It had last been updated in 1991, which was a replacement for the original 1970 version*). The sign was updated again in 2010 with the addition of the center's major anchors.

A more in-depth look at the mall and how it came about can be found here: Then & Now - Galleria at Tyler

Previous

Related


* Courtesy of Donahue-Schriber
** Courtesy of RPL
*** Courtesy of Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce
Sources: The Press-Enterprise, Riverside Public Library, Donahue-Schriber, General Growth Properties, Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce


UCR's Culver Center of the Arts opens

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Oct. 2010
UCR Culver Center of the Arts


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Architectural rendering
UCR

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2008
Project info

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

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1953
Rouse's Dept. Store
RCC yearbook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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2004

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2006
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2006
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2006


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2008
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2008
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2009


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2009
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2010
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2010


Related


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


From Treasury to Mervyn's to Kohl's

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Oct. 2010
3520 Tyler Street, Riverside


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1979
The Treasury

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2008
Side entrance for former Mervyn's

About 2 weeks back, a new Kohl's opened in Riverside, one of 21 stores the Wisconsin-based chain opened that week across the U.S. It is the second Kohl's in Riverside with the other store situated on Van Buren Boulevard in the Orangecrest area.

Located across from the Galleria at Tyler mall, the new Kohl's opened adjacent to Target in the space previously occupied by Mervyn's, which closed in early 2009. The entire building -- including the portion that currently includes Target -- opened in 1972 to house a store from the discount division of JCPenney known as The Treasury.

Shortly after the closing of The Treasury chain, the 185,000 sq. ft. building was divided for use by both Target and Mervyn's, with the latter occupying 79,000 sq. ft. when it opened in mid-1983.

During the recent renovation for Kohl's, we were surprised to see the uncovering of the iconic "squiggly roof" that The Treasury was known for. As expected, the kooky roofline was eventually replaced by a new facade. We can only hope some elements of the mid-century inspired roofline remain hidden for possible future re-discovery.

Previous

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


3633 Market Street - De Anza Chevrolet

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2010
3633 Market Street

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2009
3633 Market Street

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Forthcoming parking garage

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

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

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

Previous

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


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


Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Auto Dealers Association


'Undercovers' at the Mission Inn

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

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

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

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

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

From NBC:

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


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2010
Preparing for filming
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2010
Staging
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2010
Directions
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2010
Filming


Related

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





View a preview of the new series below:


Out & About - 08/07/2010

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Main Street pedestrian mall
Slideshow: Out & About


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

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

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

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

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

Slideshow: Out & About


University Avenue: TraveLodge

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As mentioned before, Eighth Street -- now University Avenue -- in Riverside's eastside was once the city's "motel row." In many ways, with several motels, hotels and eateries remaining, it still serves that purpose today.

One of the earliest major chain motels to pop up on the stretch between downtown and UC Riverside was the Riverside TraveLodge. Located at 1911 Eighth Street (University Avenue), city permits indicate the motel likely opened in late 1951 or early 1952. Aerial photos from 1948 confirm the hotel was not present.

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@1952
Riverside TraveLodge

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@1957
Riverside TraveLodge
with expansion, pool

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@1965
Riverside TraveLodge
with 'Sleepy Bear' motif

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2010
Budget Inn
with pool removed

To the right are 3 postcards from the 1950s and 1960s showing the TraveLodge. The back of the first postcard reads:

Riverside's Newest and Finest Close In Motor Hotel. 24 De-Luxe units. Beauty-rest beds, tile baths, wall-to-wall carpets.

In 1953/54, city permits were issued for an expansion that appears to have nearly doubled the number of rooms. And in 1955, a permit was issued for a swimming pool. Aerial photos indicate both the expansion and pool were in place by 1959. The second postcard -- from the mid- to late-1950s -- which shows the added rooms and pool, reads as follows:

Riverside's largest and finest close-in motor hotel. Heated pool, radio, TV and phone in rooms. Wall to wall carpeting. Tiled showers with Hollywood glass doors -- Beauty Rest beds -- refrigerated air -- kitchenettes. AAA approved.

The last postcard, which has a 1966 postmark on the back, shows new signage and the addition of TraveLodge's "Sleepy Bear" mascot to the motel's exterior. It also appears the previously pinkish-hued motel received a lighter shade of paint but with brightly painted doors added for accent. The back of this card reads:

Heated Pool -- New TVs -- Radio & Phone in Rooms -- REDECORATED! -- Beauty Rest beds, Kitchenettes, Air-Conditioned

Today, the former TraveLodge is known as the Budget Inn. We're not sure when the TraveLodge name was removed from the motel, but seem to recall it lasting into the early 1990s. However, a 1993 chamber publication lists the hotel simply as Riverside Motel while a 1996 permit to demo the pool (1965 | 2010) was issued under the current Budget Inn nameplate.

Related

Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library


Les Richter, former head of the now defunct Riverside International Raceway, passed away this weekend in Riverside. He was 79.

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Les Richter
(NASCAR.com)

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RIR logo

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Post-1969 track configuration
(wikipedia)

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1970s
Richard Petty, Bobby Allison


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Winston Cup Series

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1982
Winston Cup Series

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@1990
RIR control tower
(AP)

Probably no one else is more responsible for putting both Riverside International Raceway on the map as well as expanding stock car racing beyond its southeastern U.S. environs in the early days of NASCAR than Richter.

From 1963 to 1984, Richter ran the famed Riverside road course, one of the most challenging stops on the NASCAR circuit. For several years, RIR hosted either the first or final race on the NASCAR schedule as well as various other major races, including the Los Angeles Times Grand Prix.

Through the years, the track proved its versatility by hosting nearly every form of racing, including CART, IMSA, INDY, F1, Can-Am, Trans-Am, SCORE and IROC (one | two; whom Richter was a co-creator). Its proximity to Los Angeles also made it a prime location for advertising, television and movies. It also served as a testing track for automotive (one | two | three | four) and motorcycle companies.

RIR, which sat on the eastern edge of Riverside, was sold to Texas-based developer Fritz Duda in 1984 with the last major race in late 1988 and the track officially closing in early 1989.

Today, the 600-plus acres of the former racetrack include homes, apartments, parks and retail uses as part of Moreno Valley's master-planned Towngate development. The largest parcel, on which both the grandstands along Highway 60 and the famed "esses" (one | two | three) were once located, has been home to Moreno Valley Mall since 1992 (view overlay image here). The track's southern end, where the sweeping Turn 9 once was, is now comprised mostly of single-family residential.

Prior to managing the raceway, Richter was a football star at both UC Berkeley and the NFL's Los Angeles Rams for nine seasons, where he was a first-team, all-pro linebacker. After RIR, Richter went on to be a NASCAR executive for nearly 10 years until the early 1990s, when he was tapped by Roger Penske to oversee the development of California Speedway (now Auto Club Speedway) in Fontana, which opened in 1997.

Richter's influence went beyond the race track, however. He was a long-time Riverside resident and was involved in several civic organizations, including the city's influential Monday Morning Group.

Photos: Riverside International Raceway

Related

Previous

RIR_1963_cscc_cover.jpg
1963
SCCA magazine cover
(view overlay image here)
RIR_1970_AD_can_am.jpg
1970
Advertisement
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1988
After the last major race
(Earlier view | 2002 view | 2003 view)


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1963
Riverside 500
RIR_1965_MT_riv_GP_cover.jpg
1965
Riverside 500
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1969
LA Times
Grand Prix
RIR_1970_LATimes_GP_cover.jpg
1970
LA Times
Grand Prix
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1980
LA Times
Grand Prix

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1950s
Town & Country

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1960s
Sage & Sand

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1960s
Caravan Inn

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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.


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2010
Farm House
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2010
Skylark
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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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May 2010
3520 Tyler Street, Riverside
treasury-001-200.jpg

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1979 advertisement
Greater Riverside
Chambers of Commerce


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1991
Target (on left) & Mervyn's

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2010
Unhidden squiggly

riv-2010c-tyler-3520-017-600.jpg
2010
Kohl's incoming

This past weekend, we stumbled upon a bit of retail archeology when we noticed the false-front of a now-shuttered Mervyn's had been removed to reveal the zig-zag roofline of the building's original occupant -- The Treasury. (The removal is part of refurbishing the former Mervyn's space for an incoming Kohl's, expected to open in September 2010.)

For those who don't remember, The Treasury was the discount division of JCPenney, which acquired the small chain (also known as Treasure Island in some parts of the U.S.) from General Merchandise Co. in 1962. Many of the stores sported a zig-zag roofline above the main entrance, which became part of the chain's advertising slogan of "Under the squiggly roof."

The stores were quite large, often in excess of 150,000 sq. feet. Permits from 1971 show the Riverside location at just under 185,000 sq. ft. (plus an 11,600 sq. ft. basement). To help patrons navigate the expansive sales floor, several colored lines designating the major departments (housewares, electronics, toys, womens' clothing, etc.) fanned out on the floor from the main entrance leading shoppers toward the desired department.

The Riverside store, located at 3520 Tyler Street, opened in 1972 and closed in 1981 when JCP shut down the then money-losing discount chain. Permits indicate the Riverside location was developed by Ernest W. Hahn, who also opened the then Tyler Mall (Galleria at Tyler) across the street in 1970.

In early 1983, Minneapolis-based Dayton-Hudson purchased the former Treasury site in Riverside, partitioning the large building for use as both a Target and Mervyn's. A Press-Enterprise article from July 1983 indicates Mervyn's spent $7.7 million over 4 months to refurbish its portion of the building (approximately 79,000 sq. ft.). (Interesting to note, the article also states Mervyn's had been looking for a site in the city since 1975 -- prior to the chain's 1978 acquisition by Dayton-Hudson -- but was unable to find a suitable location.)

Around 1992, Target enlarged their portion of the building slightly by expanding outward along the store's Diana Avenue (freeway side) frontage.

In mid 2008, Mervyn's -- now no longer part of Target Corp. (formerly Dayton-Hudson) -- filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, eventually leading to the shuttering of the chain by early 2009. The Riverside location remained vacant until the recent renovation by Kohl's.

Related


riv-2008c-galleria-tyler-024-400.jpg
2008
Mervyn's
signage
riv-2008c-galleria-tyler-027ac-600.jpg
2008
Concealed zig-zags
riv-2008c-galleria-tyler-017-600.jpg
2008
Tyler street facade


riv-2010c-tyler-3520-029ac-400.jpg
2010
Post
Mervyn's
riv-2010c-tyler-3520-001-600.jpg
2010
Zig-zags revealed
riv-2010c-tyler-3520-020-600.jpg
2010
Tyler street facade


Sources: The Press-Enterprise, City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library, WikiPedia


Postcard: Harvest House at the Tyler Mall

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pc-1970-riv-tylermall-001-A-1200.jpg
Harvest House Cafeteria
3535 Tyler Mall
Riverside, Calif. 92503
We invite you to visit other Harvest House locations throughout the United States and Canada


This October will mark the 40th anniversary of the Tyler Mall in Riverside. Previously, we did an overview of how the mall came into existence and how it came to be as it's known today -- Galleria at Tyler. In the coming months, we'll add a few more posts about various aspects of the mall. For now, we begin with one of the few postcards we can find associated with the mall itself -- Harvest House cafeteria.

... in 1954, (F.W. Woolworth) began setting up its own chain of cafeterias and restaurants, named Harvest House. Located near, usually adjoining, Woolworth stores, the new Harvest House restaurants, with their cornucopia insignia, were not intended to take the place of the in-house lunch counters and soda fountains, but to supply more leisurely settings for customer dining."
F.W. Woolworth and the American Five and Dime
(2003, Jean Maddern Pitrone)

The Tyler Mall Harvest House opened with the mall in October 1970. It was situated on the mall's southeastern side halfway between anchors JCPenney and May Co. (though May Co. would not open until 1973). Immediately adjacent to Harvest House was a 61,000 sq. ft., 2-story Woolworth's (today, the former Woolworth's basement serves as a Tuesday Morning outlet).

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1970
Grand Opening

riv_tylermall_fww_1970_002ac_500.jpg
1970
Harvest House

According to a Press-Enterprise article on the mall's grand opening, the general manager of the new Woolworth's was Larry G. Shappart while the manager for Harvest House was Francis A. Costanzo.

One variation of Harvest House's "Colonial" theme (as seen in the postcard above) gave the cafeteria style restaurant a down-home "Americana" feel. But the wood brown paneling with red carpet and green-hued walls also made it feel dated and dreary (at least to us kids). And when the dining room was near empty, as it often seemed at the Tyler Mall location, it felt more like a mausoleum than a restaurant. Only the occasional kitchen noise and faint sounds of shopping activity drifting in through the entrance from Woolworth's would break the eerie silence.

Moreover, one of the strangest aspects of Harvest House was the indoor mall entrance itself, which consisted of an elaborate blue, mansard-style facade with a large cornucopia underneath as part of the "Harvest House" signage. (As a kid, nothing says mystery food better than a strange looking cornucopia. There was also a larger, much creepier version adorning a dining room wall.)

Once past the semi-formal entryway, patrons encountered a long narrow hallway -- separated from the dining area -- leading back to the cafeteria service. (Again, as a kid, this is where the trepidation, wondering what kind of awful food is actually served here, would begin -- assuming you hadn't already begged your parents to go to McDonald's instead).

By 1976, there were 50 Harvest House cafeterias in existence, with even more lunch counters/cafes still in operation inside many Woolworth's (including, at one time, a small cafe attached to the Tyler Mall store). Surprisingly, Harvest House lasted well into the 1980s, with the last one closing in the mid-1990s (we seem to recall the Tyler Mall HH had closed by 1990). Woolworth's itself would succumb in 1997, though the parent company lives on in the form of its most successful division -- Foot Locker.

Photo Gallery: Galleria at Tyler

Previous

Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library, The Press-Enterprise, WikiPedia


Photo pool spotlight - 03/21/2010

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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.


Pecuiliar post-war commercial add-ons

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Scattered around downtown Riverside one will find a few remaining commercial "add-on" oddities from the post-war years. Here are two of the more obvious ones we've noticed.

riv-2010c-dt-10th-3833-002c-900.jpg riv-2010c-dt-10th-3833-003-900.jpg
2010
Tenth Street

First up is this house located on Tenth Street. We're not sure of the original home's date, but city permits show an addition valued at approximately $5,000 was built around 1947. Though the permits do not indicate what it was used for, they do indicate the expansion was permitted as a "business" addition.

It's readily apparent the 1947 addition did not make any real attempt to complement the Cape-Cod style motif of the original structure, but a recent makeover does help it blend in better.

__________

riv-2010c-dt-main-4353-001-900.jpg riv-2010c-dt-main-4353-002-900.jpg
2010
Main Street

Next up is this house located at the south end of Main Street. City permits show minor alterations taking place on portions of the house in 1947 for use as a "cafe." Later, in 1955/56, a permit was issued for a front addition valued at approximately $11,000. The permit indicates "store" as the intended use for the expansion (though we presume it could have easily been an expansion for the cafe as well).

Although the addition's roof line offers subtle reference to the home's traditional architecture, the flagstone and basic cinder block construction adds a bit of mid-century flair (unintended as it may have been at the time).

__________

Today, design codes are simply too strict to allow such non-conforming additions. And as much as they tend to ruin the architectural motif of the original structure, there's no doubt seeing these "grand-fathered" oddities does add a bit of interest and character to what might otherwise be a monotonous streetscape. It's also one aspect that make parts of Southern California's older established cities -- such as Riverside, Redlands, Fullerton and Pasadena -- a bit more unique than newer master-planned cities and neighborhoods.


Old clock returns to downtown mall

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riv-2010c-dt-mall-044ac-400.jpg
2010
1908 Seth Thomas clock

Earlier this month, the 102-year-old Seth Thomas pedestal clock, which was damaged last year during the refurbishing of the pedestrian mall, made its way back to downtown Riverside. Though the clock itself dates back to 1908, it didn't appear in Riverside until the 1920s when it was planted outside a jeweler's store on Main Street.

The clock's current location near the corner of Main Street and Mission Inn Avenue (near Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf), sits across the mall and about a half-block north from its previous spot near the former Westbrook's/Imperial Hardware building.

We're not certain when the clock was placed in front of Westbrook's. Some say it was moved there from its original spot elsewhere on Main Street. But a postcard from the 1940s indicates it had been in front of Westbrook's for several decades before being damaged last year by a contractor -- who paid for the repair -- and eventually moving to its current location near Mission Inn Avenue.

Interestingly, based upon old photos, it appears the clock had also been moved several feet toward University Avenue and placed a bit closer to the center of the pedestrian mall at some point while located near Westbrook's.

Previous

pc-riv-1940s-dt-main-001c-A-975.jpg
1940s
Near Westbrook's
(second clock in distance)
(view full postcard)
yb-1953-rcc_0004ac-800.jpg
1953
Near Westbrook's (prior to mall)
RCC yearbook
(view close-up)
rpl-yb-1967-north_0002ac-200.jpg
1967
On the Mall
North High School
yearbook


riv-2009c-dt-mall-097-600.jpg
2009
Former mall location
riv-2010c-dt-mall-043-400.jpg
2010
Current spot
riv-2010c-dt-mall-046-400.jpg
2010
Refurbished
riv_2007_dt_mall_010-400.jpg
2007
Slight differences



Sources: The Press-Enterprise


Popular downtown eatery catches fire

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riv-2010c-dt-simplesimons-009-400.jpg
2010
Simple Simon's Bakery & Bistro

riv-2010c-dt-simplesimons-005-600.jpg
2010
Closed

Simple Simon's, one of downtown's most popular eateries, caught fire around 2 a.m. this past Friday, causing what the owners hope will be only a temporary closure.

Initial reports point to an electrical fire as the possible cause, with damage estimates of roughly $175,000. No major damage was reported in adjacent stores and cleanup has already started on the restaurant.

Known for their gourmet deli sandwiches made with freshly-baked bread, the often crowded eatery and bakery opened on the Main Street pedestrian mall in 1996. It quickly became a favorite among the lunch time crowds, with patrons filling the outdoor tables located on the pedestrian mall between the restaurant and the Mission Inn.

Photos from the 1940s show "1905 Backstrand" stamped atop the building, indicating the building dates back at least 100 years.

According to a 1963 city permit issued for an aluminum facade, the building was still owned by the Backstrand family. It's likely the 1963 facade is the same mid-century style metal screen that adorns the building today.

Related



Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Metropolitan Museum, The Press-Enterprise


Out & About - 01/24/2010

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05-hgh-2010c-sapphire-010a-800.jpg
San Bernardino peak, one of the highest points in Southern California, as seen from an orange grove in east Highland
Slideshow: Out & About


Sunday was a postcard perfect day in Inland Southern California as a week-long sky full of heavy rain and dark clouds gave way to bright sunshine and snow-capped mountains.

The picturesque views evoked colorful scenes from the days when the navel orange industry -- and imagery made popular by Sunkist marketing -- dominated the region's landscape.

Slideshow: Out & About

orange-red-foothill-500.jpg
Redlands
orange-riv-idyllwid-500.jpg
Riverside

Inside the Fox Performing Arts Center

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riv-2010c-dt-fox-045-600.jpg
2010
Main lobby

riv-2010c-dt-fox-063-600.jpg
2010
Balcony

TN-fox-01-200.jpg
Flash: Fox: May 2007 - Jan. 2010

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

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

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

So get out there and enjoy the new Fox.

Flash: Fox: May 2007 - Jan. 2010

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

Related

Previous

riv-2010c-dt-fox-089-400.jpg
2010
Box office
riv-2010c-dt-fox-076-600.jpg
2010
Main lobby
riv-2010c-dt-fox-059-600.jpg
2010
Balcony
riv-2010c-dt-fox-102a-400.jpg
2010
Back stage


riv-2010c-dt-fox-087-400.jpg
2010
Lobby
riv-2010c-dt-fox-050ac-600.jpg
2010
Theater
riv-2010c-dt-fox-070-600.jpg
2010
Upper lobby
riv-2010c-dt-fox-078-400.jpg
2010
Ceiling



Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise


Get into the Fox

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

riv-2010c-dt-fox-021-400.jpg
2010
Fox Performing Arts Center

1930s-riverside-fox-theater.jpg
1930s
Fox Riverside

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

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

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

Update

Related

Previous

riv-2010c-dt-fox-011a-600.jpg
2010
From Mission Inn Avenue
riv-2010c-dt-fox-020-400.jpg
2010
Opening Gala
riv-2010c-dt-fox-019ac-400.jpg
2010
Sheryl Crow
riv-2010c-dt-fox-031-600.jpg
2010
Exterior details


riv-2010c-dt-fox-028-600.jpg
2010
Along Mission Inn Avenue
riv-2010c-dt-fox-029-400.jpg
2010
Main entry
riv-2010c-dt-fox-023a-400.jpg
2010
Main entry
riv-2010c-dt-fox-036a-600.jpg
2010
Exterior details



Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise


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