The presidential streets of Riverside

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Beginning near Arlington Avenue in Riverside and stretching eight miles southwest along Magnolia Avenue into the Home Gardens community near Corona, 17 streets placed at half-mile intervals honor the nation's first presidents.

riv-2012c-victoria-004a-800.jpg
2012
Numero Uno

riv-2012c-presidential-017a-800.jpg
2012
Intersecting presidents

riv-2012c-sign-007a-800.jpg
2012
Monroe Park neighborhood

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1954-55
From Washington to Buchanan
(Pre Riverside (91) Freeway)

Laid out in 1876 by the Riverside Land & Irrigation Company, the streets -- with one notable exception and two later changes -- were named in the order of presidential office, starting with Washington and ending with Grant (who was president at the time).

The most notable exception is the slight re-ordering of the first five streets. Laid out as Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Adams and Monroe, the order of Adams and Madison had been swapped. It's likely that the need to use the Adams name again as street number six (for John Quincy Adams) caused the swap, resulting in a single Adams Street at position four equally honoring John Adams (our second president) and John Quincy Adams (our sixth president).

Continuing past Monroe from Jackson Street southwest to Grant Street in Home Gardens, the remaining 12 are in order with two more exceptions -- Taylor and Johnson streets. Local historian Steve Lech indicates that (Andrew) Johnson Street was renamed McKinley Street, likely to honor McKinley who was assassinated in 1901. And sometime after 1955, Taylor Street was renamed La Sierra Avenue.

Though we haven't been able to confirm why Taylor Street was changed to La Sierra Avenue, three possible reasons emerge. First, it aligned the street under a single name (Holden Avenue and Taylor Street were in use north and south of Magnolia Avenue respectively). Second, it gave the growing La Sierra area a more prominent identifier. Third, the 1957 opening of the Riverside (91) Freeway may have created confusion with having both Taylor and Tyler as consecutive freeway exits.

In addition to the original presidential streets along Magnolia Avenue, there are several other streets in Riverside that also use the names of presidents. And although some of these also intersect with Magnolia, they do not match up with the original order. These include Garfield, Cleveland and Lincoln (not to be confused with another Lincoln Street near Corona), Hayes, Taft, Roosevelt, Coolidge, Kennedy, Nixon, Harding and McKinley (not to be confused with the other McKinley Street in Corona).

One other street -- Hoover Street -- is also present. However, the late historian Tom Patterson indicates it may have been named after a property owner. Also, a small neighborhood along Washington Street just southeast of Magnolia Avenue contains streets related to Washington: Mt. Vernon, Potomac, and Delaware.

Regardless of the minor changes and later ancillary additions, the original presidential streets remain an interesting trait of Riverside.

Sources: The Press-Enterprise, Riverside Public Library, "Along The Old Roads" (Steve Lech), "A Colony For California" (Tom Patterson)



1 Comments

I always wondered about the President streets, thanks for the info :)

I love the Washington Street photo at the top & of course the old map photo as well.

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This page contains a single entry by RXSQ published on March 1, 2012 12:49 PM.

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