The True History of Riverside, CaliforniaFounded by John North in collaboration with a team of Easterners in 1870, Riverside lies in a location that once served as a Spanish Rancho. The founders aimed at establishing a colony that would push for the advancement of culture and education. The entry of investors from Canada and England led to the introduction of activities and traditions that wealthy citizens adopted. For instance, Riverside marked the location of Southern California’s first polo field and golf course. Although the cultivation of the first orange trees was in 1871, Riverside’s citrus industry started two years later following the receipt of new orange trees from Washington-based Department of Agriculture. The climate in Southern California was conducive for the growth of these trees, which led to a rapid expansion of the new orange industry.
California Gold Rush
Another aspect worth noting when it comes to the history of Riverside, California is the gold rush experienced following the successful thriving of the newly discovered citrus fruit. The rush in question started with the inception of a citrus industry, with the Citrus State’s Historic Park commemorating it in its exhibits and landscapes. California had up to 500,000 thousand citrus trees by 1882 with approximately half of the trees located in Riverside. By 1895, Riverside was the richest city per capita following the development of innovative irrigation systems and refrigerated railroad vehicles.
Further prospering of the city led to the designing of a guest hotel that grew into the globally acknowledged Mission Inn, frequented by royalty, movie stars, and presidents. Entrepreneurs and vacationers flood the place, thanks to its magnificent homes, swimming pools, and lush orange groves. Most of these visitors eventually relocated to the region because of its favorable climate that contradicts the Eastern winters. Victoria Avenue, famous for its landmark homes is a perfect commemoration of the early European investors who later settled here.
Careful planning tradition
The citizens of Riverside appreciate the unique character of the city originating from a culture that emphasized on careful planning. The historic Mile Square and Civic Center are an excellent representation of detailed planning. Interestingly, these structures have the same planner, San Francisco native, Charles Cheney. There is a commitment to using history as a strong base for the future, and this is the primary objective of California’s Historic Preservation Office. The City Council has selected more than 100 City Landmarks, 2 National Landmarks and twenty National Register Sites to offer education and enjoyment to visitors and residents.
The city has numerous buildings and sites that serve as a link between the history of Riverside, California, and the present. This connection comes about because of the careful planning and hard work of the Historic Preservation Program, created in 1969 by California’s City Council. The program aims at identifying and advancing the preservation of historic neighborhoods as well as commercial and civic resources in Riverside.
Examples of Riverside’s historic buildings
Some of the notable buildings include the Chinatown site, the Mission Inn, Citrus Experiment Station, National Packing House, and engineering sites such as the Gage Canal. The Historic District of Downtown Mission Inn is the location of most of the mentioned landmarks. Throughout the city, you will notice the Revival style of California’s Mission that originated from Riverside. The design is most prominent in the Municipal Auditorium, Fox Theater, and the Mission Inn.
The Mission Inn originated from Glenwood Tavern, which was under the ownership of Captain Christopher Columbus, who relocated to Riverside in the year 1874 to search for Gage Canal land. The captain’s son, Frank had a keen interest and the arts and culture, which prompted him to take over the work of expanding the Inn. A few years later, he managed to embellish and develop the structure into an extraordinary globally known resort. It has hosted several musicians, movie stars, and even the heads of states. Ronald Reagan and his wife had their honeymoon in the Inn while Pat and Richard Nixon held their wedding on the Inn’s grounds. The Inn’s collection has a special chair, custom made for a president, William Howard Taft during his visit to the place. There is even a tree that Teddy Roosevelt planted in the Inn’s courtyard.
The majority of the historic buildings of Riverside are open to public viewership, and they include Catherine Bettner home, which has since been renovated and named Heritage House. The most successful female architect in America, Julia Morgan designed Riverside’s Art Museum. She is also famous for designing San Simeon-based Hearst’s Castle. This castle was an initial establishment for YWCA on a piece of land that was given by Frank Miller. Benedict Castle was originally meant to be a private home, with Henry Jekel being the chief architect. It currently houses the Teen Challenge and is often used for filming and special events. The same applies to most of the historic neighborhoods and homes of Riverside.
The Raincross Symbol
This unique symbol is a part and parcel of the vast history of Riverside, California. It originates from a combination of a mass bell replica utilized by the priest and California Missions’ founder, Father Junipero Serra and the cross used by Central American Indians to pray for rain. Originally designed for Mission Inn, the Raincross Symbol was given by Frank Miller. This unique structure has been a property of Riverside since 1907. Symbol variations are used widely throughout the city in the form of street signs, lighting standards, architecture as well as the City’s flag.
The Spanish heritage of the state, as well as romanticized images of Indians and missions depicted in Helen Jackson’s novels, has led to the marketing of the city as a Mediterranean Mecca of Spanish origin. Notable marketers include the Sunkist Cooperative, Mathew Gage, Miller, Santa Fe Railroad, among other city boosters. This Mediterranean paradise is further evident by Riverside’s landscapes and climate. The community strongly supports the city’s historic preservation, in addition to immensely appreciating its past and used it to build a firm foundation.
The information presented illuminates on the fact that the history of Riverside, California is impressive and vast. The fact that the residents appreciate their culture and past is a clear indication that the city will continue to thrive and attract numerous visitors.