Category: Then & Now
Comparing and constrasting the same building, street or block from one time period to another
Recent Entries:

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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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2011
First level

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2011
Second level

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2011
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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Related

* Courtesy of Jim Van Schaak

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


3333 Arlington Avenue - Gemco / Target

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


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@1970
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.


Related


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


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


William Lee Gates - 3770 Elizabeth Street

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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)


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)


From Treasury to Mervyn's to Kohl's

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Oct. 2010
3520 Tyler Street, Riverside


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1979
The Treasury

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2008
Side entrance for former Mervyn's

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

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

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

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

Previous

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


University Avenue: TraveLodge

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

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

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@1952
Riverside TraveLodge

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@1957
Riverside TraveLodge
with expansion, pool

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@1965
Riverside TraveLodge
with 'Sleepy Bear' motif

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2010
Budget Inn
with pool removed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related

Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library


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

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Les Richter
(NASCAR.com)

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RIR logo

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Post-1969 track configuration
(wikipedia)

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1970s
Richard Petty, Bobby Allison


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Winston Cup Series

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1982
Winston Cup Series

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@1990
RIR control tower
(AP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos: Riverside International Raceway

Related

Previous

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


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1963
Riverside 500
RIR_1965_MT_riv_GP_cover.jpg
1965
Riverside 500
RIR_1969_LATimes_GP_cover.jpg
1969
LA Times
Grand Prix
RIR_1970_LATimes_GP_cover.jpg
1970
LA Times
Grand Prix
RIR_1980_LATimes_GP_cover.jpg
1980
LA Times
Grand Prix

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1950s
Town & Country

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1960s
Sage & Sand

pc-riv-1960s-motel-007a-A-600.jpg
1960s
Caravan Inn

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2010
Courtyard by Marriott

Prior to the building of the 60 Freeway through Riverside in the early 1960s, the main highway heading into downtown from the east was Eighth Street. Visitors traveling between Palm Springs and Los Angeles could grab some rest at any one of the half-dozen or so small, roadside motels scattered along a two-mile stretch between UC Riverside and downtown. As such, Eighth Street -- now University Avenue -- became the city's "motel row."

With its proximity to the city's early industrial areas, UC Riverside, March AFB and the now defunct Riverside International Raceway, the accumulation of motels, hotels and restaurants grew considerably during the 1960s and 1970s as national chains the likes of Ramada Inn and Holiday Inn began popping up. And by the 1990s, larger hotels, such as Days Inn (now Courtyard by Marriott), had sprung up as well.

However, as in many cities across the nation, when the newer and larger hotels arrived, the smaller motels began decaying, eventually leading to seedier surroundings. Likewise, the 1987 opening of downtown's 12-story Sheraton (now Marriott), the closing of Riverside International Raceway in 1989 and the 1993 reopening of downtown's historic Mission Inn dealt a tough blow to even the larger hotels. By the mid-1990s, control of the former Ramada and Holiday inns would be assumed by UC Riverside, which uses the adjacent properties for offices, classrooms and exchange student housing.

Since 2000, however, Riverside has invested millions of dollars in implementing the University Avenue specific plan that included refurbishing and/or phasing out the older, seedier motels and adding landscaping to the curb and street medians. More recently, several of the decaying motels have been demolished. A large, mixed-use apartment complex for UCR students replaced one, a retail center replaced another, while a few others have become empty lots awaiting redevelopment.

Over the ensuing months, we hope to spotlight a few of these motels and hotels and maybe even a couple of the eateries, some of which no longer exist. For now, below are a few photos from the three mid-century neon signs that remain from "motel row's" past.


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2010
Farm House
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2010
Skylark
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2010
Thunderbird
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2010
Thunderbird
riv-2009c-university-2711-009-400.jpg
2009
Thunderbird


Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library


riv-2010c-tyler-3520-012-800.jpg
May 2010
3520 Tyler Street, Riverside
treasury-001-200.jpg

grcc-1979c_0015-800.jpg
1979 advertisement
Greater Riverside
Chambers of Commerce


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1991
Target (on left) & Mervyn's

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2010
Unhidden squiggly

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2010
Kohl's incoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related


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


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


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


Inside the Fox Performing Arts Center

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2010
Main lobby

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2010
Balcony

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Flash: Fox: May 2007 - Jan. 2010

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

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

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

So get out there and enjoy the new Fox.

Flash: Fox: May 2007 - Jan. 2010

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

Related

Previous

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


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



Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise


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