Category: Historic
People, places and things of historic interest
Recent Entries:

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2012
Krinard-Cage House

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Old Riverside Foundation

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Old Riverside Foundation

Celebrating Riverside's citrus heritage is the theme of Old Riverside Foundation's 21st annual Vintage Home Tour, which takes place this Saturday, May 19.

The self-guided tour showcases four privately owned homes near Victoria Avenue in the city's historic orange greenbelt as well as a downtown church with strong citrus ties.

The four homes are the James and Jessie Shaw House (1899), Puffer-Lamar House (1900), Mazzetti Bungalow (1917) and Krinard-Cage House (1925). Each house will contain a docent assisting guests with questions and tour info.

As an added bonus, downtown Riverside's Calvary Presbyterian Church will be offering tours of its stained glass sanctuary. The church, which was the family church for citrus canal builder Matthew Gage, is celebrating its 125th anniversary and will have historic photos, documents and a timeline from 1887-1947 on display.

A big part of each year's home tour is the "Restoration Faire and Vintage Mercantile" at the Weber House featuring local vendors offering restoration tips and wares. Built by Riverside architect Peter J. Weber, the house -- located at 1510 University Avenue -- is noted for its eclectic architecture (one* | two*) and early eco-friendly designs and serves as headquarters for Old Riverside Foundation.

Also on hand at the Weber House will be samples from the recent Fox Theater architectural salvage sale as well as accumulated furniture and Old Riverside Foundation vintage salvage pieces.

The self-guided home tour runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., rain or shine. Tickets are $15 ($20 day of tour) and are available at: www.oldriverside.org. Proceeds will help benefit historic preservation efforts of Old Riverside Foundation.

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* Photos courtesy of Old Riverside Foundation


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Old Riverside Foundation
Riverside ReStore

Want to own a piece of Riverside history? Here's your chance!

In cooperation with Habitat for Humanity Riverside, the Old Riverside Foundation is selling recently donated items salvaged from the historic Riverside Fox Theater. The items -- doors, windows and power switches -- were saved during the theater's 3-year, $32 million renovation that was completed in 2010.

We think the doors and windows would make a nice historic art piece for anyone's home or business. They could also be an interesting trellis or accent for any backyard garden. And the power switches would add interesting color to any mantle or wall.

The sale begins Saturday, May 5 at Habitat for Humanity's Riverside ReStore, located at 2180 Iowa Avenue (near Spruce Street). Proceeds will help benefit historic preservation efforts of Old Riverside Foundation as well as support Habitat for Humanity Riverside's home ownership mission.

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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.

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2012
Numero Uno

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2012
Intersecting presidents

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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)


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From the eclectic Mission Inn and magnificent County Courthouse to the modern City Hall and mid-century public library, downtown Riverside is rich in architectural history and variety. Fortunately, many of these gems are within walking distance down a few adjoining streets. As such, we've created a few short circular, self-guided tours -- Mission Inn Avenue, University Avenue and Main Street.

The three tours, which we first produced for ThingsToDoInlandEmpire.com, can easily be completed within 1 to 2 hours each (depending, of course, on how fast you walk). So print out the articles, put on your walking shoes, grab a bottle of water and be sure to bring your camera!


TOUR: MISSION INN AVENUE | MAP: View a larger Google Maps of this tour




TOUR: UNIVERSITY AVENUE | MAP: View a larger Google Maps of this tour




TOUR: MAIN STREET | MAP: View a larger Google Maps of this tour


3900 Market Street - White Park Building

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1926
Newly-built Potter Hotel
(Courtesy of Peter Weber)


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c.1926
Potter Hotel postcard

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2008
White Park Building

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2010
Architectural details

Above is a 1926 photo of the then newly-built Potter Hotel located on the southeast corner of Market Street at Ninth Street in downtown Riverside.

The photo comes to us courtesy of Peter Weber, son of Peter J. Weber who was the chief designer for the Riverside architectural firm of G. Stanley Wilson. Both Weber and Wilson played a role in many of Riverside's significant buildings of the early- to mid-1900s, including portions of the Mission Inn. (We have a few other photos graciously supplied to us by Weber that we hope to spotlight in the coming months.)

Built by Sidney E. Potter of Stahlman and Potter Construction Company, the Potter Hotel was one of several similarly-sized hotels built in downtown during the early 1900s. Its architecture appears to be a mixture of Spanish and Italian Renaissance with a hint of Beaux Arts thrown in for good measure. An excerpt from the book "Riverside in Vintage Postcards," states "it is more like a home than a hotel ... every room [has] a bath, fine light, and ventilation." And indeed, as the postcard to the right suggests, "Air Cooled" was a big selling point for the hotel.

Over the years, the building also housed various businesses, beginning with the Citrus Belt Building and Loan Association in 1926 (which may have been an early forerunner to Citrus Belt Savings & Loan). And according to the 1955-56 Criss-Cross directory for Riverside, the building had already been renamed as the White Park Building. Tenants at the time included Watts-Laivell General Insurance and attorneys S. Thomas Bucciarelli, Rex Estudillo (3900 Market), L.B. Mathis Realtor (3910 Market), Fox Beauty Salon (3930 Market), Potter Hotel (3940 Market), David Miller Realtor (3942 Market), First Thrift of California (3944 Market) and Fairman & Company Brokers (3946 Market).

By 1967, the building's southern portion had been replaced with a small parking lot (we're uncertain as to when and unclear as to why). Today, the remaining building is still known as White Park Building with Riverside Mission Florist as its primary (and longtime) tenant.

Sources: Riverside Public Library, "Riverside in Vintage Postcards" (Steve Lech), "Riverside - Then & Now" (Glenn Edward Freeman), 1955-56 Criss-Cross City Directory


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2010
3750 Main Street - former Franzen / Westbrook's / Imperial hardware stores


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c.1936
Westbrook's Hardware

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1966
Pedestrian Mall

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2002
Imperial Hardware

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2007
Removal of Imperial false-front

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2011
Preparing to enter

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2011
Level one

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2011
Rickety stairs to level two

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2011
Level two

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2011
Damaged ceilings

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2011
Ladies' lounge wallpaper

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2011
"Westbrook's"

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2011
Basement

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2011
Freight elevator

What does one find upon entering a building that's been out of public use for much of the past 40 years? A few weeks back, we were lucky enough to find out as we ventured along with fellow Old Riverside Foundation members into the long-shuttered Franzen / Westbrook's / Imperial hardware building at 3750 Main Street. Allowing us access and helping lead the tour were several officials with the city of Riverside, including Carl Carey, Emilio Ramirez, Robert Wise, Erin Gettis and councilmen Mike Gardner and Andy Melendrez.

The structure itself dates back to at least 1900 when Franzen Hardware opened its doors. Owned by Henry and Chris Franzen, the store was later sold in 1921 to R.H. Westbrook, whose family had become partners with the Franzen's in 1908. Following a 1935 fire that wiped out most of the stock, the building was refurbished, restocked and renamed Westbrook's Hardware. Part of the post-fire remodeling included the Art Deco façade visible today.

In September 1959, Westbrook's was sold to El Centro-based Imperial Hardware Co., a small chain of 14 hardware and housewares stores in Southern California, this according to an article in the Riverside Press. City permits indicate Imperial covered up the Westbrook's façade in 1964 with a modern false-front -- a common practice at the time. Imperial remained until 1972 before relocating to the then relatively new Tyler Mall (where it lasted for a short period).

For whatever reason, a replacement tenant for the old building never materialized. As such, Imperial's sleek metal front remained intact until June 2007, when its removal re-exposed the impressive 1930s Art Deco façade.

Upon signing waivers, grabbing flashlights and donning hard hats, it was time for us to explore the dark and mysterious interior. What would we find? How bad was its condition? Was anything salvageable?

On level one, we immediately noticed lots of dust and debris and what appeared to be various amounts of stored items (more on this later). As we lumbered around, we saw that the 2-level plus basement structure was comprised of two buildings unified into a single store. A large central wall separated the two nearly-equal parts, with cutouts allowing passage between the northern and southern sections.

Along the main wall in the middle of the northern section was an L-shaped stairway to the basement. Nearby, a small passenger elevator waited patiently, call buttons still intact. Tucked in the corner at the back was a freight elevator. Another stairway, this one heading up to level two, stood crumbling close by. Its heavily soiled carpet indeed had seen better days.

The building contained two more stairways: a third in the northern section just inside the building's main entrance, which headed directly to the basement; and a fourth -- the only stairway in the southern section -- leading up to a small mezzanine level in the back. Decorative metal railing lined it and the mezzanine's balcony.

After our initial surprise of actually being inside the building wore off and our eyes gained traction in the dark, realization that the interior had suffered serious neglect over the past 40-plus years was quite evident.

Throughout, the floor was covered in dust and debris -- and yes, a fair amount of bird excrement. Hanging down in several spots was water damaged ceiling tiles. Front window casements on level two looked old and tired. A room on the same level had large holes in the roof exposing the sky above. And while some lighting fixtures were present, none appeared ready to illuminate our tour.

In general, both the basement and level two were free of large items. Support poles and crumbling debris -- particularly on level two -- provided much of the scenery. However, the ground level contained fair amounts of stored items. Everything from old office equipment, furniture and décor to aging bankers boxes stuffed with business records, some of which had escaped and now littered the floor.

An unexpected discovery was various items for Woodhaven Development (one | two), a once mighty Riverside home builder. (It's believed the building at one time had been owned by David Miller of Miller's Outpost fame and Woodhaven.)

Probably one of the most curious finds was a 12-inch, encircled "W" inlaid on the floor immediately in front of the passenger elevator on level two. No doubt this logo stood for Westbrook's.

Elsewhere, a few other surprises greeted us. On level two was what appeared to be the former "Appliance" section, with decorative mid-century lattice. Also on level two was the ladies lounge / restroom, which looked probably as it did 40 years earlier, with most fixtures and décor still in place including sinks, toilets and Victorian style wallpaper (one | two). (On a related note, remnants for at least seven styles of wallpaper were present in the building, including one | two | three.)

In the basement, we noticed blackened bricks along the southern wall, likely from the 1935 fire that destroyed much of what was then Franzen's Hardware. Next, we stumbled upon a Lamson pneumatic tube system likely dating from the 1930s. Attached to a support pole were two tubes that emptied into a metal basket. The tubes followed a ceiling beam toward the rear, possibly ending up in the southern section's mezzanine level.

Affixed to the same support pole next to the tube system, we found a typed phone listing with extensions for the once vibrant departments: Hardware, Appliances, Furniture, Carpet, Drapery, Housewares, China, Sporting Goods, Credit and Delivery. Scribbled nearby were a few old Riverside "OVerland" exchange phone numbers as well as the address for Lindgren's Hardware (which is still doing business on Brockton Ave.). Lastly, our flashlights spotted a near-mint price tag for Imperial Hardware Co. hanging from a nail, adding context to our other finds.

Overall, it seems the tour left most of us scratching our heads wondering why the building had been left to essentially rot for 40 years. Undoubtedly, lots of cleanup was needed. But was there anything worth grabbing? Yes indeed. And was the interior itself salvageable? Probably not.

And though we understand various redevelopment plans have been floated in recent years, we're hopeful the city -- which now owns the building -- will find a compatible re-use for it. Certainly, incorporating the building's shell into any new pedestrian mall friendly development seems plausible, and in fact, even warranted considering it's probably the best Art Deco façade remaining in Riverside.

Related

Previous

Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside Public Library, "Riverside in Postcards" (Steve Lech), "Riverside - Then & Now" (Glenn Edward Freeman)


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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Related


* 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)


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

Related


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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.


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


Postcard: Downtown civic buildings

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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)


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

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Historic category.

Civic Structures is the previous category.

Mid-Century is the next category.

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