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Overview of Riverside,  California

"Some information from Wikipedia"

Riverside California Overview

Riverside, California

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Riverside is the county seat of Riverside County, California, United States, it is also a focus city of the Greater Los Angeles Area. As of the 2005 census, the city had a total population of 305,255. Making it the largest city in the Inland Empire Region, the 12th largest municipality in the state of California, and among the 50 largest cities in the United States.


Riverside's downtown area is known as the "Mission Inn District", after the Mission Inn, a hotel that was modeled after the missions left along the California coast by Franciscan friars in the 18th century. However, no missionaries of the era actually came as far inland as Riverside. After secularization of the missions, the land was designated Rancho Jurupa and was granted to Juan Bandini, who later divided the rancho into two parts and sold them to two Yankee-turned ranchéros, Benjamin D. "Benito" Wilson and Abel Stearns.

The city was founded in the the early 1870s beside the Santa Ana River by John W. North, a staunch temperance-minded abolitionist from Tennessee, who had previously founded Northfield, Minnesota. A few years after, the navel orange was planted and found to be such a success that full-scale planting started. Riverside was temperance minded (few saloons if any were allowed in Riverside proper), and Republican. Investors from England and Canada transplanted traditions and activities adopted by prosperous citizens. As a result, the first golf course and polo field in Southern California were built in Riverside.

The first orange trees were planted in 1871, but the citrus industry Riverside is famous for began two years later when Eliza Tibbets received two Brazilian navel orange trees sent to her by a friend at the Department of Agriculture in Washington. The trees thrived in the Southern California climate and the navel orange industry grew rapidly. Within a few years, the successful cultivation of the newly discovered navel orange led to a California Gold Rush of a different kind: the establishment of the citrus industry, which is commemorated in the landscapes and exhibits of the California Citrus State Historic Park and the restored packing houses in the Downtown's Marketplace district. By 1882, there were more than half a million citrus trees in California, almost half of which were in Riverside. The development of refrigerated railroad cars and innovative irrigation systems established Riverside as the wealthiest city per capita by 1895.

As the city prospered, a small guest hotel designed in the popular Mission Revival style grew to become the world famous Mission Inn, favored by presidents, royalty and movie stars. Inside was housed a special chair made for the sizeable President Taft. Postcards of lush orange groves, swimming pools and magnificent homes have attracted vacationers and entrepreneurs throughout the years. Many relocated to the warm, dry climate for reasons of health and to escape Eastern winters. Victoria Avenue with its landmark homes serves as a reminder of European investors who settled here.

In 1915 a Japanese immigrant named Jukichi Harada, proprietor for many years of a local restaurant, purchased a home in Riverside in the names of his American-born children in order to provide access for them to the public school system. Neighbors formed a committee and charged him with violating the California Alien Land Law of 1913, which barred aliens ineligible for citizenship from owning land. The case, The People of the State of California v. Jukichi Harada, became a test of the constitutionality of the law and progressed to the state Supreme Court, where the Haradas won. The Metropolitan Museum of Riverside now owns the house, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

At the entrance to Riverside from the 60 freeway sits Fairmount Park. This extensive urban oasis was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Slightly fraying around the edges, it still has a lovely, stocked pond, and many species of birds. Nearby, on private land, is the former site of Spring Rancheria, a Cahuilla village.

Downtown Riverside used to boast one of the largest Chinatowns in California, but the last resident, Mr. Wong, died in the 1970s and the remaining (decrepit) buildings were razed. Extensive archaeological excavation took place in the 1980s, and many artifacts are housed at the (newly re-named) Metropolitan Museum across from the Mission Inn Hotel.

To the east of downtown is the originally named "Eastside" which grew out of a colonia inhabited by Mexican immigrant workers in the Orange groves. That tradition continues today, with Oaxacan workers in the place of Spanish speakers. Michael Kearney, an anthropologist at University of California, Riverside, refers to this vast transnational labor space as "Oaxacalifornia."

Settlements of Japanese and Korean immigrants used to exist along the railroad tracks, which would fill with thousands of workers during the citrus harvest. None of these remain, but the Santa Fe depot, like several others in the Inland Empire, has been restored to its turn-of-the-century glory.

At the intersection of Howard and 12th sits the last remnants of a formerly thriving African-American neighborhood. The old Wiley Grocery store now houses the activities of 'Black' Elks club members. Nearby is the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a pilgrimage site complete with shrine. Built and destroyed three times, the current incarnation dates from the 1920s.

Riverside was the home of the Riverside International Raceway, which has long been defunct.


Riverside is home of the historic Mission Inn, the Historic Riverside County Courthouse (based on the Petit Palais in Paris, France), and the Fox Theater (where the first showing of Gone with the Wind took place).

Also, it is the home of the World's Largest Paper Cup which is over three stories. There is a warehouse/manufacturing building right behind it. It is made of painted concrete.
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