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April 29, 2020 - Wednesday - There are several published walking tours for Riverside, CA, so we decided to start with the tour of the Mission Inn Avenue area.

The Fox Performing Arts Center (1929) was part of the Fox movie chain and was popular with Hollywood studios for hosting early screenings, including the first public showing of “Gone With the Wind.” Bing Crosby and Judy Garland both performed here as well.

The Loring Building (1890) is likely the oldest structure remaining on Main Street. It once served as Riverside’s first city hall, library, courts and even had a small jail. Originally designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, it was remodeled in 1918 to better reflect the Mission Revival style of nearby buildings (particularly the Mission Inn). Inside, the building still contains an ornate “birdcage” elevator.

The Mission Inn Hotel (1902-1932) exhibits a variety of styles and themes. With towers, domes, arches, grand stairways and flying buttresses, the Mission Inn is a remarkable showcase of early-Californian, Spanish, Moorish and even Oriental architecture. It is considered the largest Mission Revival structure in the United States. It occupies an entire city block.

Opposite the Mission Inn we noticed a tribute to Angela Gomez, the youngest victim in the Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy in Las Vegas.  A Riverside native, Angie was just 20 years old when she became one of 58 people untimely killed on October 1st, 2017, when she was gunned down during the three day country music festival.

The Chinese Memorial Pavilion (1987) pays tribute to the city’s early Chinese residents, who played an important role in the area’s citrus production.

The Central Library (1965) rests on a “floating” pedestal and is adorned with delicately woven “dove” screens. The building is a fine example of New Formalism architecture popular during the 1960s.

The Universalist Unitarian Church (1891) used Arizona red sandstone for this Gothic Revival-styled church, which resembles a medieval English parish church.

The First Church of Christ Scientist (1900) with its large, red-tiled dome and corner bell tower are fine examples of Mission Revival architecture. The church is noted as being an early pioneer in introducing “Christian science” to Southern California.

The Riverside Municipal Auditorium (1929) was dedicated as a memorial to local veterans of World War I.

The Riverside Art Museum (1929) was originally built for the YWCA. The Mediterranean Revival building with Spanish and Beaux Arts elements was designed by architect Julia Morgan (of Hearst Castle fame).

The Arlington Heights Citrus Exchange (1923) is a Spanish-influenced building that once served as the headquarters for the Sunkist Growers association.

The Sutherland Fruit Company Packinghouse (1912) is a Mission Revival style packinghouse and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Adjacent rail lines and stations once made this area of downtown attractive to citrus packinghouses.

The Santa Fe Depot (1924) is the only example of a Pueblo Revival style railroad depot in California.

North Park separates the Santa Fe Depot from the Union Pacific Depot.

The Union Pacific Depot (1904) is in the Mission Revival style and it saw its last passenger in 1971.

The Freeland Tractor Company (c.1929) is in the Mediterranean Revival style and the large arched windows were designed for displaying tractors and other large equipment.

The Preston-Simons Mortuary (1912, 1950) is a two-story Colonial Revival building of brick and concrete features a gable roof and pediment with an elliptical window. French-door style windows, tall pilasters, shutters and a wrought-iron balcony add southern charm. A decorative porte-cochere reaches out to the adjacent building.

The First Congregational Church (1913) features a mixture of Spanish Renaissance Revival and Churrigueresque architecture. A carillon in the ornate tower marks the various portions of each hour during the day. Seen from above, the church building forms a “Latin cross.”

The Riverside Metropolitan Museum (1912) was originally built as a federal post office with designs that are a mixture of Italian Renaissance, Neo-Classical and Mission Revival. The six fluted marble columns support seven arches, above which rest four seals reminding visitors of the building’s original use.

The Old City Hall (1924) is a Spanish Renaissance Revival building that served as Riverside’s first municipally-owned City Hall until 1975.

It was a very lovely way to learn about some of Riverside's history.

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Last modified: April 29, 2020