City News: October 2010 Archives

Fox theater gets retro 'blade' signs

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October 2010
Retro 'blade' signs being added

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


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

Sources: The Press-Enterprise, City of Riverside

Riverside's Galleria at Tyler mall turns 40

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Press-Enterprise special section

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.


Tyler Mall

Galleria at Tyler


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



* 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

Architectural rendering

Project info

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

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.






* 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

The Treasury

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.


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

More - City News: October 2010:
April 2012 | March 2012 | December 2011 | November 2011 | August 2011 | July 2011 | June 2011 | May 2011 | March 2011 | December 2010 | November 2010 | October 2010 | September 2010 | June 2010 | May 2010 | February 2010 | January 2010 | November 2009 | September 2009 | August 2009 | July 2009 | June 2009 | May 2009 | April 2009 | February 2009 | January 2009 | December 2008 | November 2008 | September 2008 | August 2008 | July 2008 | June 2008 | May 2008 | April 2008 | March 2008 | February 2008 | December 2007 | October 2007 | July 2007 | June 2007 | May 2007 | April 2007 | March 2007 | February 2007 | November 2006 | September 2006 | August 2006 | July 2006 | June 2006 | May 2006 | December 2005 | October 2004 | January 2004 | December 2003 | November 2003 |

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