2011 Archives

Photo pool spotlight - 12/23/2011

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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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2011
Hunter Hobby Park


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2011
New station

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2011
Arriving passengers

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2011
Riding the rails

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2011
New playground

Saturday morning marked the public reopening of Riverside's Hunter Hobby Park following nearly $7 million in renovations for one of the city's most unique parks. The reopening also means the public is once again invited to "ride the rails" with the Riverside Live Steamers.

Along with a new (and relocated) train station, the completely refurbished park includes two new lighted ballfields, basketball courts, children's playground, grassy knolls and walking paths, restroom facilities and expanded parking. We especially liked the train station fencing and the installation of two refurbished neon signs that were saved from the Magnolia Avenue railroad underpass project.

Located in northeast Riverside, the 40-acre park began life in the late 1950s as an adjunct "backyard" of sorts to local engineer -- and steam train enthusiast -- Joseph L. Hunter, who laid track down for a personal, small gauge steam engine. The track, which was initially 4,300 feet in length, soon began attracting other train enthusiasts.

Joseph and his brother Edwin started Hunter Engineering. The company was a pioneer of several key, industry-leading patents in the manufacturing of aluminum products (and is now part of worldwide Hunter-Douglas).

Following Joseph's death in 1965, the the park was donated to the city of Riverside, which set up a partnership with local train enthusiasts. Formed in 1966, this all-volunteer group -- Riverside Live Steamers -- immediately began operating, maintaining and expanding the facilities.

Today, with over 10,000 feet of track with several switchable configurations, the club includes both private- and city-owned, 7 1/2 gauge (1/8-sized) engines, with the overriding requirement being "steam-only." The club provides free rides on the 2nd and 4th Sundays each month.

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Sources: Riverside Live Steamers, The Press-Enterprise, City of Riverside


Out & About - 12/2/2011

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University of California at Riverside


A short visit to UC Riverside on Friday afforded us some time to take a few photos.

Initially established at the base of Mount Rubidoux in downtown Riverside in 1907, the seeds for present-day UCR began when the Citrus Experiment Station -- forerunner to UCR -- relocated a few miles east to the base of Box Springs Mountain in 1918.

In 1948, the University of California Regents voted to fund planning and designs for the formation of a liberal arts college in Riverside. In 1954, the new campus -- dubbed the "Swarthmore of the West" -- began accepting students. In 1959, its mission was expanded and UCR was declared a general campus of the UC system. In 1960, the University's Graduate Division was established.

In October 1966, UCR's signature "bell tower" was dedicated*. The 161-foot tower -- one of only five true carillons in California -- was designed by the noted architectural firm of A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons (one* | two*). The tower's 48 chromatically-tuned bells* located at the top were cast by Paccard Foundry of France.

Today, UCR hosts nearly 20,000 students in a park-like setting spread over 1,200 acres in northeastern Riverside.

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2011
Carillon Tower
and Rivera Library
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Pierce Hall and
Science Labs
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2011
Psychology


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2011
Sproul Hall
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2011
The "HUB"
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2011
Carillon Tower


* Courtesy of UC Riverside

Sources: UC Riverside


19th Annual 'Festival of Lights'

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2011
Final preparations for the
Mission Inn (top) and the ice rink

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2009
Main Street near the Mission Inn

The 19th Annual Festival of Lights is set to begin Friday afternoon (Nov. 25) in downtown Riverside, with the official "switch-on" ceremony & fireworks taking place just after 5:00 p.m. in front of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. (Be sure to arrive early for the opening night ceremony!)

Each year, thousands of visitors gather in and around the Mission Inn and along the downtown pedestrian mall for the daily festivities, which includes 3.6 million holiday lights, 400 animated figures -- one of the country's largest holiday displays.

Roving carolers, carriage rides, an ice rink, live entertainment, shopping, dining and -- of course -- photos with Santa round out the festivities.

This year's Festival runs daily from November 25 through January 8, 2012 (excepting Christmas).

As usual, free parking (street and garage) is available after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on the weekends and holidays. Your best bet is within five parking garages:

You can also check out activity via two city webcams: Mission Inn | Skating Rink

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Bookshelf: 'More Than a Place to Pitch a Tent'

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Hurkey Creek, Crestmore Manor, Lake Skinner, Idyllwild Park, Box Springs Mountain and Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Preserve -- six of the 20 varied parks, museums, recreational and nature centers of Riverside County covered in a new book by local historian Steve Lech.

The 150-page, hardcover book -- "More Than a Place to Pitch a Tent" -- tells the stories behind Riverside County's major regional parks, with background information on how they came to be and how they were named. Numerous color and B&W photos from the past and present help illustrate the histories. Steve also delves into the insights and backgrounds for the six directors of the county's Parks Department following its creation in 1960 (it was previously administered as part of the county's Road Department).

In the book are several Riverside-area parks, including Box Springs Mountain Preserve, Hidden Valley Wildlife & Nature Center and Martha McLean - Anza Narrows Park. Steve points out that all three had been threatened by development pressures before becoming incorporated into the county's parks system.

Of particular interest to us is the background of Hidden Valley. The park, which straddles the Santa Ana River in northwestern Riverside near Norco, had been an upscale gun/hunt club from about 1957 until the early 1970s. Members included Clark Gable, Ernie Kovacs, Roy Rogers, Lawrence Welk, Les Richter and Jimmy Doolittle. Today, the old clubhouse serves as the park's nature center.

We also found intriguing the stories behind Lake Skinner near Temecula, Bogart Park in Beaumont, Lawler Lodge near Idyllwild and Crestmore Manor in Jurupa Valley. Crestmore, with its stately home,* was built for Los Angeles restauranteur and thoroughbred horse breeder Tiny Naylor (yes, of Googie coffee shop** fame). Unknown to us prior to reading the book was that noted Riverside architect Herman O. Ruhnau (Riverside City Hall) was the designer of Crestmore.

Steve is the president of the Riverside Historical Society and author of several local history books, including "Riverside: 1870-1940" and "Riverside in Vintage Postcards," both from Arcadia Publishing. Most impressive is "Along the Old Roads," Steve's in-depth book on early Riverside County history and the factors behind its formation. The book is a must-have reference for local historians.

Most of Steve's books can be found at local museums and some bookstores. You can also visit his history blog for contact info on purchasing the books.

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* Courtesy of Riverside County Regional Park and Open Space District
** Courtesy of Yesteryear Remembered

Sources: "More Than a Place to Pitch a Tent" (Steve Lech)


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2011
Forever 21 - Galleria at Tyler, Riverside
Photo Gallery: The Broadway / Macy's / Forever 21


Following 5 years of vacancy -- and several months of renovation work -- the former Broadway / Macy's department store at Riverside's Galleria at Tyler mall is once again occupied.

Last weekend, the doors to the distinctive building reopened as Forever 21 relocated its smaller inline mall store into the much larger pad located at the north end of the enclosed center.

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October 1970
The Broadway
(Courtesy of Jim Van Schaak)

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2006
Macy's

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2011
Mall entrance

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First level

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Second level

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North entrance

We're glad to see the building back in use. As we've previously stated, the building's cantilevered (one | two)* style of architecture showcases department store design from a now bygone era. Designed by Los Angeles-based architectural firm of Charles Luckman & Associates, the 164,000 sq. ft. store originally opened as The Broadway in 1970 as part of the then newly-built Tyler Mall.

For 26 years, The Broadway nameplate remained atop the iconic 3-story building. It was replaced by Macy's in 1996 after Federated Department Stores acquired Carter Hawley Hale Stores (parent company of The Broadway). In 2006, Federated again acquired a competing chain, this time May Department Stores. The acquisition resulted in Macy's relocating into the Galleria's freeway-friendly Robinson's-May building, leaving the former Broadway pad vacant -- until last Saturday.

This past July, Los Angeles-based Forever 21 began remodeling the vacant building. After seeing a similar move two years earlier by F21 into the former Harris' / Gottschalks department store at Riverside Plaza, we were a bit unsure what to expect. That particular "remodel" appeared to be not much more than carpet cleaning, a few splashes of paint and some signage. Passable, but certainly not a full makeover.

However, results at the Galleria remodel are remarkably different. On the outside, the building looks as good as ever. All three exterior entrances were remade, including a sleek makeover of the north entrance, which essentially turned the space into a large window display (something sorely missing in today's retail environment).

The interior remodel includes a clean and crisp design with touches of old-school department store flair. Though somewhat sparse in the middle sales floor areas, the makeover retained much of the former Broadway's "department store" partitions, particularly on the second floor.

Overall, we're pleasantly surprised with the makeover. The most jarring aspect was the remodeling of the escalator bank. The new look completely opened up the space by removing interior walls that had partially enclosed the escalators. Gone is the overhead lighting and interesting 1970s tiling that once lined the escalator walls. But more interesting is the disappearance of the escalators to the third floor. Published reports indicate F21 is occupying 106,000 of the building's 164,000 square feet, which begs the question -- what's going on up on level three?

Also unclear is how space for the former California Room restaurant that was part of the original Broadway store (and for which exterior windows are still visible) is being used. It's possible it may have been gutted under Macy's reign, but we're not sure.

In addition to the "missing" third floor, one other missing aspect left us scratching our heads. As part of its grand opening in 1970, The Broadway had placed a time capsule just outside the north entrance. For years, shoppers walked atop a metal plaque exclaiming that it was to be opened in 100 years (2070). However, as part of the remodeling of the north entrance, the time capsule is now gone. Where did it go? And what was in it?

Finally, yet to be answered is what will become of the Forever 21 currently at the Riverside Plaza. Speculation has F21 not renewing their lease for the former Harris' / Gottschalks building across town, which is said to expire in September 2012. And based upon the much more permanent makeover given to the Galleria store, that outcome seems likely.

And if so, what would happen to the Plaza building? Relocating Riverside's stand-alone Sears could be one option (though that could then leave the Charles Luckman & Associates designed Sears building in peril). But with fewer traditional department stores around these days, other options -- including demolition -- are possible.

However, we suppose the building's 204,000 square feet could entice a large, non-department store retailer the likes of Ikea, which could be a good fit. The Swedish retailer has no Inland locations and has previously refurbished a former 3-story department store at a Carson mall in Los Angeles County. So maybe doing the same at Riverside Plaza is indeed plausible?

Photo Gallery: The Broadway / Macy's / Forever 21

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* Courtesy of Jim Van Schaak

Sources: Riverside Public Library, The Press-Enterprise, Los Angeles Times, General Growth Properties, WikiPedia


Photo pool spotlight - 10/09/2011

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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.


3333 Arlington Avenue - Gemco / Target

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@1975
3333 Arlington Avenue
(Courtesy of Daniel Balboa / Riverside Fire Dept.)


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Gemco advertisement
(Courtesy of Gemco-Memco)

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A typical late 1960s / early 1970s
Gemco storefront
(Courtesy of Gemco-Memco)

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@2010
3333 Arlington Avenue
(Google Maps)

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Sept. 2011
3333 Arlington Avenue

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Nov. 2011
3333 Arlington Avenue

Currently undergoing an extensive remodel, 3333 Arlington Avenue is one of three Riverside locations for retail giant Target.

City permits indicate the building was originally built in 1970 for Gemco membership department stores. The value for the original 99,200 square-foot building was listed as $950,000. The architect was listed as Maxwell & Starkman Associates and the contractor as Ernest W. Hahn (who also built Riverside's original Tyler Mall).

A 4,365 square-foot gas station valued at $40,000 was also permitted in 1970. Located at the western edge of the property next to McMahon Street, the address for the station was listed as 3335/7 Arlington Avenue. A city permit was issued in 1995 to demolish the station. (The site is now used for parking.)

City permits indicate the adjacent retail strip -- Arlington Square -- on the eastern edge of the Arlington Avenue property was built in 1977.

Established in Anaheim in 1959, Gemco was acquired by Lucky (grocery) Stores in 1962, which expanded the chain throughout California, Nevada, Arizona and into Houston, Texas. The company also opened stores under the Memco banner in the Washington D.C. and Chicago areas.

In October 1986, Lucky Stores closed its Gemco division, selling 54 of the chain's 80 stores to Dayton-Hudson (Target Corp.). In 1987, Dayton-Hudson used the acquisition of the former Gemco stores -- including the Arlington Avenue building -- to expand its Target chain.

The Arlington Avenue Target was the second Riverside location for the Minneapolis-based chain. The first, located at 3520 Tyler Street, opened in 1983 (along with its then sister store, Mervyn's) in the former Treasury discount store building. The third location -- a newly constructed building located at 2755 Canyon Springs Parkway -- opened in 2003.

In 1979, a second Gemco location in Riverside opened at 10471 Magnolia Avenue near Tyler Street. A smaller attached building housed various other businesses, including a Nautilus Health Club and an Army-Navy-Air Force recruitment office.

After Gemco closed the Magnolia Avenue store, the main building was divided up for use as a Lucky's grocery store and Kids R Us clothing store. More recently, it had remained mostly vacant. A demolition permit was issued in 2008 and, excepting the parking lot and a small strip center at the western edge, the lot remains empty (one | two).

Nov. 2011 Update: Remodeling work has finished at the Arlington Avenue store. Besides the addition of a "Fresh Grocery" section, the store has been completely updated and reconfigured. And judging by these swanky ceiling lamps, someone at Target obviously understands the importance of design aesthetics. Also new is a Starbucks Coffee cafe area. View an updated photo gallery.


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Sources: City of Riverside, Los Angeles Times, WikiPedia, Groceteria.com


Photos: Riverside's citrus legacy

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

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

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

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

Photo Gallery: Riverside's Citrus Legacy

Related

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


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2011
Downtown pedestrian mall

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2011
Eliza Lovell Tibbets

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2011
Dedication plaque

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2011
Pedestal
(Patricia P. Ortlieb is
Eliza's great-great granddaughter)

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Eliza and Luther Tibbets

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2001
State Historic Landmark

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2008
Parent Navel
(w/ Eliza's historical marker)

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2008
Eliza's marker

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2009
Original location of trees
(w/ Luther's historical marker)

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2009
Luther's marker

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2011
Riverside orange grove

After 14 years of planning, a long-awaited statue honoring Riverside citrus pioneer Eliza Tibbets was unveiled last week in downtown.

Spearheaded by Kathryn Gage (a distant relative of Eliza through marriage) and created by artist/sculptor (and former Corona resident) Guy A. Wilson, the 11-foot statue rises above the outdoor pedestrian mall at Sixth Street near the Mission Inn. Entitled "Sower's Dream," it commemorates Eliza and her role in originating California's highly successful navel orange industry.

The 1,100 pound bronze statue depicts Eliza with outstretched arms and billowing dress. It is meant to portray a young Eliza as opposed to the older "Queen Victoria" Eliza most associate with Mrs. Tibbets' time living in Riverside.

Included on the statue are etchings of navel oranges and a replica of a "Woman's Relief Corps" medal, no doubt a nod to Eliza's women's suffrage activism. Several tiles surrounding the statue include the names of those who helped make it a reality. Planted nearby are two navel orange trees.

The statue honors not only Eliza the navel orange matriarch, but also Eliza the spiritualist, abolitionist and activist. Though quite impressive, our only real complaint is that its homage to Riverside's navel orange is maybe a bit too subtle and not instantly recognizable by casual passers-by. (Holding an orange in her outstretched hands may have easily done the trick.) Regardless, we give the statue a positive thumbs up.

For those not familiar with local history, Eliza (along with husband Luther) was a pioneer in California's multi-million dollar navel orange industry. In fact, if not for Eliza, Riverside -- and California in general -- certainly would have been much different.

In 1873 (or 1875, the exact year is a bit unclear), she secured two small navel orange trees from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for test planting in Riverside (some had been previously -- and again later -- shipped to Florida, where they failed). Originating as a mutation in Bahia, Brazil, these navel trees took well to Riverside's semi-arid climate, producing a sweet, succulent and seedless navel orange. (It has been said that Eliza used dishwater to sustain the original trees during dry periods.)

With the first fruits shown to local residents in 1878, and much more widely in 1879 at Riverside's first formal Citrus Fair, this new citrus variety -- sometimes referred to as the "Riverside Navel" but officially known as the "Washington Navel" -- quickly became the star attraction. Its taste and texture was found to be far superior than the seeded Valencia variety grown in California's coastal areas, including nearby Orange County. (In general, Valencia's are used for juicing while navels are considered much tastier for eating.)

As word of Riverside's new thick-skinned and sun-kissed orange spread, local growers began requesting -- and obtaining -- budstock grafted straight from the Tibbets' two original trees (grafting was required due to the oranges' lack of seeds). As such, these "parent navel" trees eventually propagated California's entire navel orange industry, making them one of the most successful fruit introductions in U.S. history.

By 1882, there were more than half a million citrus trees in California, with nearly half planted in the Riverside area alone. Within a short time, a powerful growing/marketing cooperative (California Fruit Growers Exchange, later known as Sunkist) was born and advances in picking and packaging (FMC Corp.) combined with improvements in shipping (refrigerated rail cars) led to a second California "gold rush" of sorts. Soon, wealthy easterners began flocking to Inland Southern California, buying large tracts of land for groves and building impressive homes. As a result, Riverside was the richest city per capita in the U.S. in 1895.

Today, reminders of the city's citrus legacy are still present, two of which directly credit Eliza and Luther Tibbets. Interestingly, a late fracture in the Tibbets' family ended up creating two distinct historical markers, both with the same planting year of 1873, but each crediting either Eliza or Luther independently for the trees and their eventual success.

At any rate, the most significant of these two reminders is located at the corner of Magnolia and Arlington avenues where one of the two original parent navel orange trees still stands bearing fruit. Over the years, "grafting" budstock from it remained popular enough that the city eventually needed to protect the remaining parent navel by securing it behind a fence. A plaque placed here in 1920 credits Eliza.

The other significant item directly related to the parent navels is a tiny marker located at the corner of Central Avenue and Navel Court, near where the two trees originally stood at the former Tibbets' home (long since paved over). This marker, placed in 1935 by Luther's daughter Minnie Tibbets Mills, credits Luther.

Both parent navel trees were later replanted, one in 1902 at the fenced-off city corner previously mentioned and the other in 1903 (during a visit by President Theodore Roosevelt) to a courtyard inside the Mission Inn, where it died in 1921.

Elsewhere around Riverside are other reminders, including citrus exchange buildings (Arlington Heights / Sunkist | Riverside Navel Growers Assoc.), citrus packinghouses (Sutherland Fruit Co. | E.T. Wall), citrus machinery and shipping facilities, the Gage Canal irrigation system and large swaths of orange groves along Victoria and Dufferin avenues. And of course, there's the California Citrus State Historic Park, which includes a museum with interpretive exhibits, lush picnic areas, walking paths and working citrus groves.

And although several structures, such as the Mission Inn, Riverside County Courthouse and numerous homes, owe their opulence to the once mighty citrus industry, probably the most significant entity stemming from Riverside's citrus legacy is the University of California at Riverside (UCR) campus.

What began in 1907 as the Citrus Experiment Station (at the base* of Mount Rubidoux), eventually transformed into a general campus of the University of California system in 1959 (at the base* of Box Springs Mountain -- 3 miles to the east).

Today, UCR's "Citrus Variety Collection" is among the most extensive of its kind in the world. The campus, home to nearly 20,000 students, has greatly expanded beyond its initial focus of citrus research and plays a major role within Inland Southern California's economy.

And to think, it all began with two, seemingly inconspicuous navel orange trees planted in a fledgling Riverside garden by Eliza Lovell Tibbets.

Photo Gallery: Riverside's Citrus Legacy

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2011
Eliza Tibbets
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2011
About Eliza
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2011
'Sower's
Dream'
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2011
Orange homage
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2011
Shadow
figure


* Courtesy of UC Riverside

Sources: "A Colony For California" (Tom Patterson), City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside Public Library, "Riverside's Invisible Past" (Joan H. Hall), Sunkist, WikiPedia.


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July 2011
Renovation work

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July 2011
Mall entrance

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October 1970
The Broadway
(Courtesy of Jim Van Schaak)

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2006
Macy's

After nearly 5 years of being vacant, renovation work has begun on the former Broadway/Macy's department store at the Galleria at Tyler in Riverside. Unofficial reports have clothing retailer Forever 21 relocating from a smaller store elsewhere in the mall into the much larger, 3-story building.

Opening with the then-Tyler Mall in 1970, the 164,000 sq. ft. store for The Broadway was designed by Los Angeles-based architectural firm of Charles Luckman & Assoc. The building's cantilevered (one | two)* style of architecture showcases department store design from a now bygone era.

Also of note was the store's original interior, which had a bit of late 1960s flair. Designed by Jim Van Schaak, it was honored as "Department Store of the Year" in the national "Store Interior Design" competition.

In 1996, The Broadway chain -- and its sister stores, Emporium and Weinstock's -- was purchased by Federated Department Stores, becoming part of Federated's Macy's West division. As with most stores in the newly-acquired chain, the Riverside location was re-branded as a Macy's.

In 2005, Federated purchased May Department Stores, parent of several regional chains, including Robinson's-May, Marshall Field's, Foley's, Filene's and Caldor. This resulted in duplicate properties at several malls, including at Riverside's Galleria at Tyler. As such, the Riverside Macy's relocated in late 2006 across the mall into the Robinson's-May building (2000 | 2006), leaving the former Broadway building vacant.

Recently, work began on renovating the vacant Broadway space. Associates at the mall have indicated the building is being spruced up for Forever 21, which currently occupies a much smaller store within the mall.

Established in 1984, Forever 21 has been on a major expansion the past few years. The Los Angeles-based clothing chain has been gobbling up several vacant department stores, a departure from its typical small-store format.

One such large store is the former Harris' / Gottschalks building at Riverside Plaza (one | two | three). With three floors (plus basement) and 204,000 total square feet, it's one of the largest buildings in the Forever 21 chain. However, only two of the building's three above-ground floors are currently in use (one | two | three | four).

Which begs the question -- will Forever 21 keep both large-format stores open?

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1973
Tyler Mall
The Broadway**
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2006
Vacant Macy's
(former Broadway)
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2007
Vacant Macy's
(former Broadway)


* Courtesy of Jim Van Schaak
** Courtesy of Patricksmercy

Sources: Riverside Public Library, The Press-Enterprise, Wikipedia, Jim Van Schaak


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

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


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

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2009
3801 Market Street

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2010
Southwest corner of
Market and University

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2011
Market Street at University Avenue

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1926
Riverside Finance Company
3855 Market Street

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1964
Sterling Savings
3855/45 Market Street*

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@1970
Market Street

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2010
3855/45 Market Street

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2010
3855 Market Street

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2011
3855 Market Street

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riverside Press - Aug. 1926

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

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

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

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

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

Related


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


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


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


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



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

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


Relocated Marcy Branch Library opens

| | Comments (1)
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2011
New Marcy Branch
6927 Magnolia Avenue

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2011
New Marcy Branch

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2011
New Marcy Branch

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Former Marcy Branch
3723 Central Avenue
(Ruhnau, Ruhnau, Clarke)

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2011
Former Marcy Branch

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2011
Former Marcy Branch

After about three years of planning, renovation and moving, Riverside's Marcy Branch Library has reopened. The new location, near the intersection of Magnolia and Arlington avenues, is about 1 mile from its former spot on Central Avenue near the Riverside Plaza.

The relocated Marcy Branch occupies the bottom floor of an 18,000 sq. ft., two-story building on Magnolia Avenue (with the city's Parks, Recreation and Community Services taking the top floor). The building was built in 1972 to house district offices for the Automobile Club of Southern California. The architect was well-known Riverside architectural firm, Ruhnau, Evans & Steinmann.

The Auto Club remained in the building until 1998 when a new office building opened at 3700 Central Avenue on the site of the former Southern California Gas Co. district headquarters. (Ironically, the new Auto Club building sits directly across the street from the old Marcy Branch library.) Prior to becoming the new Marcy Branch, the former Auto Club building housed offices for Realty Executives (until about 2009).

Completely refurbished to the tune of $7.9 million, the new Marcy Branch comprises 9,000 square feet of space (about double the previous location). The roomier location includes over 30 computer stations, WiFi access, a study room, self-checkout stations -- and indoor restrooms (which were located outside at the old branch).

The expanded children's section contains an environmentally-themed mural, a story-time gathering area, children's computers, and a life-size "interactive tree" that houses a memory game and puppet theater.

Adjacent to the building is a small outdoor area with a bench, grass and shade trees. Directly across the street is tiny, but inviting, Low Park.

Still unclear is the fate of the former Marcy Branch, which originally began in 1951 as the Magnolia Center Branch located at Palm School (now Riverside Adult School).

In 1958, the branch moved into a newly-constructed building on Central Avenue. The branch was renamed Marcy Branch in honor of longtime Riverside resident Charles F. Marcy whose bequest helped provide funding for the building. Its fanciful, mid-century design by noted Riverside architect Herman O. Ruhnau (of Ruhnau, Evans & Steinmann) includes elements of post and beam construction that was popular during the 1950s and 1960s.

At least one proposal calls for the nearby Lucky Greek fast food restaurant -- impacted by the Magnolia Avenue railroad underpass project -- to take up residence in the old Central Avenue library building.

Reuse plans may have stalled recently, but whatever the outcome, we hope a viable reuse -- one that doesn't overly damage the original character of the mid-century building -- can be found for the old Marcy Branch.

Previous


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2011
Signage
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2011
Environmental mural
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2011
Computer stations


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2011
Ceiling
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2011
Story time
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2011
Navel mural
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2011
View toward Low Park


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2011
Former Marcy
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2011
Former Marcy
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2011
Former Marcy
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2011
Former Marcy

B&W photo of Marcy Library courtesy of Ruhnau, Ruhnau, Clarke

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


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March 2011
499 Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
Chase Bank (originally Coachella Valley Savings & Loan #3)


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1960
Coachella Valley Savings & Loan
Palm Springs

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1963
Central Library
Riverside

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2011
303 Building
San Bernardino

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2011
Provident Bank
Redlands

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2011
Riverside

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2011
Wesley United Methodist Church
Riverside

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2011
Rivera Library
UC Riverside

A recent trip to Palm Springs reminded us of that city's sizable collection of mid-century modern architecture, including the former Coachella Valley Savings & Loan building pictured above. Designed by E. Stewart Williams, the building is an excellent example of modern bank design from the 1960s.

We'll explore some of these desert gems at a later date. But the two-day visit also reminded us of a number of modern gems closer to home as well, a few of which we will share now.

The building that probably best resembles the style of the one pictured above is Riverside's main library (aka, Central Library). Located on Mission Inn Avenue in downtown Riverside, the building's striking appearance stands out among its Spanish-influenced neighbors. As such, it has suffered from harsh criticism through most of its existence. And though better appreciated these days by younger generations, the structure is currently in danger of being demolished to make way for what's expected to be a new library building. (For what it's worth, we actually admire the current library building.)

As with the Coachella Valley Savings & Loan, the Riverside library's "floating" walkway, large overhang, symmetrical "screens" and rigid, box-like appearance are all trademarks of mid-century modern architecture. Both buildings are in the vein of the New Formalism style of modern architecture, which was popular for public, institutional and financial buildings during the 1960s.

Elsewhere, one of the Inland region's best mid-century office buildings can be found in downtown San Bernardino. Built for the State of California in 1966, the 303 Building housed state offices for over 30 years until a new building opened a few blocks away in 1998.

In 2007, after sitting vacant for several years, the building reopened following a $25 million renovation by the County of San Bernardino. The refurbishment included removal of asbestos and lead paint, but the building's exterior retained its mid-century designs, including the slender vertical screens.

Another local gem is Provident Bank in downtown Redlands. Designed by Riverside architect Clinton Marr, the building's tall, rigid walls project strength and security -- an architectural trait sought by banks during the mid-century era. Its undulating, rippled roofline adds a futuristic touch to the structure.

Though certainly not as prevalent as in Palm Springs, the local region does have its fair share of modern residences, with the majority of these found in Redlands and Riverside.

The region also has a number of mid-century churches, including the fanciful chapel at Wesley United Methodist Church located on Arlington Avenue in Riverside. Another Clinton Marr design, the 1959/60 hat-box looking chapel was built using "a thin shell form finished in gunited concrete."

Finally, one of the best collections of local modern architecture can be found at UC Riverside, where several buildings were constructed during the 1950s and 1960s. Of particular interest are the Rivera Library, Olmsted Hall and University Theater buildings, each unified via the use of an archway motif.

Also noteworthy at UCR is the 161-foot-tall Carillon Tower. Designed by the firm of A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons -- one of America's best-known modern architectural firms -- the 48-bell carillon was officially dedicated in October 1966.

We hope to explore these and others modern gems in more detail in the coming months. As usual, be sure to use the comment section to tell us of your own favorite modern building(s) scattered about Inland Southern California (particularly those hidden gems we may not know about).

Photos: (coming soon)

Sources: UC Riverside, Clinton Marr & Associates (1964 booklet), The Press-Enterprise, City of Riverside


3521 Central Avenue - Jack in the Box

| | Comments (5)
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March 2011
3521 Central Avenue, Riverside


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2010
3521 Central Avenue
(Google Maps)

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1951
Jack in the Box, San Diego
(Jack in the Box, Inc.)

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1950s
Jack in the Box, Mark I
(ModernSanDiego.com)

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1960s
Jack in the Box, Mark II
(ModernSanDiego.com)

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1960s
Jack in the Box, Mark III
(ModernSanDiego.com)

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March 2011
3521 Central Avenue

Dating from the late 1960s, one of the oldest Jack in the Box fast food restaurants in Riverside is no more. Though certainly not a structure worthy of historic merit, we thought we'd take this opportunity to look back at the whimsical designs of the original Jack in the Box (JITB) restaurants.

According to the company's website, the first JITB was opened by Robert Oscar Peterson in San Diego in 1951. An outgrowth of Peterson's earlier "drive-in" diners called Topsy's and later Oscar's, JITB is said to have pioneered the use of drive-thru service using an intercom ordering system. (Those who lived in Southern California prior to 1980, may remember placing orders at JITB via a "talking clown.")

By 1966, the chain had grown to 180 locations, mostly in California and the Southwestern U.S. In 1968, Peterson -- whose Foodmaker, Inc. ran the restaurants -- sold the chain to Ralston Purina Co., who remained the owner until 1985.

It was during Ralston Purina's ownership in which "Jack" -- the clown atop the drive-thru menus -- was "blown up" as part of an extensive television campaign in 1980. The makeover was an effort to broaden the chain's appeal with adults. In 1994, after several years in isolation, "Jack" returned as the chain's spokesperson during the "Jack's back" advertising campaign, a role he retains to this day.

Back to the two oldest Riverside locations. The city's planning database indicates permits for 3521 Central Avenue (near the Riverside Plaza) and 3434 Fourteenth Street (downtown) were issued in 1968. According to the permits, both locations were two stories in height with 1175 and 1776 square feet respectively (though they look to be the same size) and a value of $24,000 each.

The architect listed on the permit for the downtown location (and presumably, the Plaza location as well) is Donald D. Goertz. A quick search of the Internet found an American Institute of Architects (AIA) entry for Donald Dean Goertz, who's also listed in the AIA's archives as being a staff architect for Foodmaker, Inc. beginning in 1967.

Based upon what we've found, the earlier JITBs offered both walk-up and drive-thru service, but no interior dining. The exterior designs used bright colors and fonts popular during the 1950s and 1960s to emphasize the drive-thru and overall "box" aspect of the JITB name. A San Diego website specializing in mid-century architecture lists Russell Forester as the architect for these early designs.

We're not clear on whether the two Riverside locations built in 1968 sported these original whimsical designs. It's likely they didn't, primarily due to the different architects used. However, it's possible they may have sported at least some form of the earlier designs -- particularly that of the Mark III concept -- as their current "mansard" look conforms to that found on many early SoCal JITB locations since remodeled (Chula Vista, San Clemente, San Diego). Maybe someone can confirm what the original designs for the two Riverside locations were like?

As for the Central Avenue location, we were unable to confirm that a new JITB will replace the now-demolished structure. However, the demolition permit seems to indicate a new JITB is indeed on its way. Browsing the company's website, we found what appears to be the latest prototype (notice the use of "Santee" indicating the restaurant's location -- could this be a future JITB motif?).

Update 04/16: Construction of a new JITB is well underway.

Update 08/06: The new JITB reopened in late July.

logo-jackinthebox.jpg
Change in logo
(Jack in the Box)
jackinthebox-menu-01.jpg
Old school
menu*


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March 2011
3521 Central Avenue
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April 2011
3521 Central Avenue


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April 2011
3521 Central Avenue
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April 2011
3521 Central Avenue


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May 2011
3521 Central Avenue
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May 2011
3521 Central Avenue


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June 2011
3521 Central Avenue
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June 2011
3521 Central Avenue


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July 2011
3521 Central Avenue
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July 2011
3521 Central Avenue


* Courtesy of www.burningsettlerscabin.com

Sources: Jack in the Box Inc., City of Riverside, ModernSanDiego.com, Wikipedia, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Los Angeles Times


William Lee Gates - 3770 Elizabeth Street

| | Comments (2)
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R.P. Small Building
3770 Elizabeth Street, Riverside
(William Lee Gates)


Tucked away on a side street off Magnolia Avenue near the Riverside Plaza is the R.P. Small Building, a stylish, mid-century modern building designed by local Riverside architect William Lee Gates. City permits from 1956 show Russell E. Walling as the contractor with an estimated value of $40,000.

A quick web search on William Lee Gates finds he was born in 1926 in Portland, Oregon. According to a December 2002 obit in The Press-Enterprise newspaper, Gates served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and Korea. He received his M.A. in Architecture from UC Berkeley in 1952 before running his own practice in Riverside until retiring in 1975. After 29 years in Riverside, he relocated back to Portland in 1986.

Gates designed all types of buildings, including residential, commercial, educational and governmental. Among his works locally are the Victoria United Presbyterian Church, 6833 Brockton Avenue and Riverside fire stations #3 (1962), #4 (1962), #7 (1967). He was a member of the American Institute of Architects (A.I.A.) from 1956-1988.

Until recently, one of the Small Building's primary tenants was Salon Siner. According to their Facebook page, Salon Siner had been in the Wall Building since 1964. The salon relocated around the corner at 6056 Magnolia Avenue in early 2010.

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2008
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2008
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2008

Sources: The Press-Enterprise, American Institute of Architects, City of Riverside, William Lee Gates - A.I.A. (1964 booklet)


Out & About - 01/29/2011

| | Comments (0)
2011p-riv-dt-lunarfest-001-500.jpg
Lunar Festival
Visitors stroll Mission Inn Avenue in downtown Riverside during Saturday's celebration marking the Chinese New Year.

Postcard: Downtown civic buildings

| | Comments (2)
pc-riv-1950s-dt-002ac-A-800.jpg
Late 1950s
Top: Carnegie Library and Riverside County Courthouse
Bottom: Municipal Auditorium and U.S. Post Office


We thought we'd start the new year off with an old postcard showing a few of downtown Riverside's civic buildings.

Dating from the late 1950s / early 1960s, the images show the 1903 Carnegie Library, the 1903 Riverside County Courthouse, the 1927 Municipal Auditorium, and the 1939 U.S. Post Office. Three of the four buildings remain standing today (the Carnegie Library met the wrecking ball in 1964).

At least one of the photos (and maybe all) were taken by Max Mahon, whose images of downtown Riverside from that era have been used on several postcards distributed by Columbia Wholesale Supply.

Mailed from Riverside in December 1962, the personal note on the back of the postcard indicates it was sent to a locale of cold and bitter weather, which reminds us how lucky we are to reside in sunny Southern California (especially during those mild January days of 76 degrees and bright blue skies we often have):

Glad to hear you (have?) (gone?) into the house. Weather out here is nice and cool but no 12 (degrees) below thank goodness. Hope you are feeling fine and have a nice Christmas.

In the coming year, we're planning to continue our efforts at spotlighting Riverside's history, with more postcards, images and tidbits from the past. In particular, we're hoping to gather more from the post-World War II era of Riverside (which are surprisingly difficult to track down). So if you have suggestions -- and even better, images -- be sure to send them to us!

Postcard courtesy of Columbia Wholesale Supply, North Hollywood, California

Sources: "Riverside - 1870-1940" (Steve Lech)


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