City of Riverside
Riverside is a city in Riverside County, California, United States, located in the Inland Empire metropolitan area. Riverside is the county seat of the eponymous county and named for its location beside the Santa Ana River. It is the most populous city in the Inland Empire and in Riverside County, and is located about 60 miles (97 km) east of Los Angeles. It is also part of the Greater Los Angeles area. Riverside is the 59th most populous city in the United States and 12th most populous city in California. As of the 2010 Census, Riverside had a population of 303,871.
Riverside was founded in the early 1870s. It is the birthplace of the California citrus industry and home of the Mission Inn, the largest Mission Revival Style building in the United States. It is also home to the Riverside National Cemetery.
The University of California, Riverside, is located in the northeastern part of the city. The university also hosts the Riverside Sports Complex. Other attractions in Riverside include the Fox Performing Arts Center, Riverside Metropolitan Museum, which houses exhibits and artifacts of local history, the California Museum of Photography, the California Citrus State Historic Park, and the Parent Washington Navel Orange Tree, the last of the two original navel orange trees in California.
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, the area was inhabited by Cahuilla and the Serrano people. Californios such as Bernardo Yorba and Juan Bandini established ranches during the first half of the 19th century. In the 1860s, Louis Prevost launched the California Silk Center Association, a short-lived experiment in sericulture. In the wake of its failure, John W. North purchased some of its land and formed the Southern California Colony Association to promote the area’s development. In March 1870, North distributed posters announcing the formation of a colony in California. North, a staunch temperance-minded abolitionist from New York State, had formerly founded Northfield, Minnesota. A few years later, some navel orange trees were planted and found to be such a success that full-scale planting began. Riverside was temperance minded, and Republican. There were four saloons in Riverside when it was founded. The license fees were raised until the saloons moved out of Riverside. 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 beginning three years later (1874) when Eliza Tibbetts received three Brazilian navel orange trees sent to her by a personal friend, William Saunders who was a horticulturist at the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. The trees came from Bahia, Brazil. The Bahia orange did not thrive in Florida, but its success in southern California was phenomenal.
The three trees were planted on the Tibbetts’ property. One of the trees died after it was trampled by a cow during the first year it was planted. After the trampling, the two remaining trees were transplanted to property belonging to Sam McCoy to receive better care than L. C. Tibbetts, Eliza’s husband, could provide. Later, the trees were again transplanted, one at the Mission Inn property in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt (this tree died in 1922), and the other was placed at the intersection of Magnolia and Arlington Ave. Eliza Tibbetts was honored with a stone marker placed with the tree. That tree still stands to this day inside a protective fence abutting what is now a major intersection.
The trees thrived in the southern California climate and the navel orange industry grew rapidly. Many growers purchased bud wood and then grafted the cuttings to root stock. Within a few years, the successful cultivation of many thousands of the newly discovered Brazilian 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 richest city in the United States (in terms of income per capita) by 1895.
As the city prospered, a small guest hotel designed in the popular Mission Revival style, known as the Glenwood Tavern, eventually grew to become the Mission Inn, favored by presidents, royalty and movie stars. Inside was housed a special chair made for the sizable President William Howard Taft. The hotel was modeled after the missions left along the California coast by Franciscan friars in the 18th and 19th centuries. (Although Spanish missionaries came as far inland as San Bernardino (San Bernardino de Sena Estancia), east of Riverside, there was no actual Spanish mission in what is now Riverside.) 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 scattering of elegant turn-of-the-century homes, and citrus-lined paseo, serves as a reminder of European investors who settled here.
Riverside is the 59th largest city in the United States, 12th largest city in California, and the largest city in California’s Inland Empire metro area. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 81.4 square miles (210.8 km2), of which 81.1 square miles (210 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) (0.37%) is water. The elevation of downtown Riverside is 860 feet (260 m). Hills within the city limits include Mount Rubidoux, a city landmark and tourist attraction. Riverside is surrounded by small and large mountains, some of which get a dusting of winter snow. Many residents also enjoy the many beaches of southern California. Riverside is about a 47-mile drive to the Pacific Ocean.
Riverside is home to the historic Mission Inn, the Beaux-Arts style Riverside County Historic Courthouse (based on the Petit Palais in Paris, France), and the Riverside Fox Theater, where the first showing of the 1939 film Gone with the Wind took place. The theater was purchased by the city and refurbished as part of the Riverside Renaissance Initiative. The Fox Theater underwent extensive renovation and restoration, which was completed in 2009, to turn the old cinema into a performing arts theater. The building was expanded to hold 1,600 seats and the stage was enlarged to accommodate Broadway-style performances. In January 2010, singer Sheryl Crow opened the newly remodeled Fox Theater in a nearly sold-out show.
Riverside is also the home of the “World’s Largest Paper Cup” (actually made of concrete), which is over three stories (68.10 ft) tall. The “Dixie Cup” landmark is located on Iowa Street just north of Palmyrita, in front of what was once the Dixie Corporation’s manufacturing plant (now closed down).
Three notable hills are in Riverside’s scenic landscape: Box Springs Mountain, Evans (Jurupa) Hill and Tecolote Hill; all of which are preserved open spaces. South of Riverside is Lake Mathews. There is also the well-known landmark/foothill, Mount Rubidoux, which is next to the Santa Ana River and one of the most noticeable landmarks in the downtown area. This foothill is the dividing line between the town of Rubidoux and the city of Riverside.
March Joint Air Reserve Base borders Riverside on the east serving as a divider between the city and Moreno Valley. March ARB is the oldest operating Air Force base west of the Mississippi River, having been founded in 1918.
At the entrance to Riverside from the 60 freeway sits Fairmount Park. This extensive urban oasis was designed by the firm founded by Frederick Law Olmsted, which had designed New York’s Central Park. Slightly fraying around the edges, it still has a lovely, stocked pond that is home to many species of birds. On nearby private land is the former site of Spring Rancheria, a Cahuilla village.
The city of Riverside has 28 designated “neighborhoods” within the city limits. These neighborhoods include Airport, Alessandro Heights, Arlanza, Arlington, Arlington Heights, Arlington South, Canyon Crest, Casa Blanca, Downtown, Eastside, Grand, Hawarden Hills, Hillside Hunter Industrial Park, La Sierra, La Sierra Acres, La Sierra Hills, La Sierra South, Magnolia Center, Mission Grove, Northside, Orangecrest, Presidential Park, Ramona, Sycamore Canyon Park, Sycamore Canyon Springs, University, Victoria and Wood Streets.
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, other orchards and produce fields. The area these people lived in was originally a settlement called La Placita that predated the city being founded in 1843. Mexican communities were also formed in the barrio of Casa Blanca during the early twentieth century.
Riverside experiences a semi-arid (Köppen climate classification BSh) climate with hot, dry summers and mild, relatively wet winters. Temperatures in the summer generally average in the 90s (°F) but often exceed 100 °F (38 °C) though with somewhat low humidity. In the winter, high temperatures average in the upper 60s (°F), but may not rise above 55 °F (13 °C) during rainy days. January, the coldest month, averages a high / low temperature of 68 °F / 43 °F (20 °C / 6 °C), while August, the hottest month, averages a high / low temperature of 95 °F / 64 °F (35 °C / 18 °C). Riverside receives 10.4 inches of precipitation annually with most of it occurring in the winter and early spring, especially January through March, with February the wettest month.
The Riverside area is referred to as a “smog belt” because of its above-average level of air pollution. In a comparison by the National Campaign Against Dirty Air Power (2003), the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area was found to be one of the most polluted regions based on year-round particle measurements when compared to other U.S. cities. [NEJM 2004;351:1057-1067] Due to the smog problems, the city has made efforts to reduce pollution by incorporating additional means of mass transit (Metrolink) and equipping its entire fleet of buses with natural gas. Smog decreased considerably over the next few years as local municipalities and counties worked with the South Coast Air Quality Management District to implement measures to improve regional air quality. The smog alerts that people remember from decades ago are history. Most of Riverside’s smog problems are the result of the prevailing wind patterns that blow the smog from the Los Angeles Basin and particulates generated by southern California’s multitude of vehicles, and the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach into the Inland Empire.
As of the 2010 census reported that Riverside had a population of 303,871. The population density was 3,731.0 people per square mile (1,440.6/km²). The racial makeup of Riverside was 171,669 (56.5%) White, 21,421 (7.0%) African American, 3,467 (1.1%) Native American, 22,566 (7.4%) Asian (1.7% Filipino, 1.6% Chinese, 1.1% Korean, 1.0% Vietnamese, 0.8% Indian, 0.3% Japanese, 0.1% Pakistani), 1,219 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 68,111 (22.4%) from other races, and 15,418 (5.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 148,953 persons (49.0%); 41.8% of Riverside’s population is Mexican, 1.1% Guatemalan, 1.0% Salvadoran, 0.7% Puerto Rican, 0.3% Cuban, 0.2% Nicaraguan, and 0.2% Colombian. Non-Hispanic Whites were 34.0% of the population in 2010, down from 82.1% in 1970.
The Census reported that 292,322 people (96.2% of the population) lived in households, 8,925 (2.9%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 2,624 (0.9%) were institutionalized.
There were 91,932 households, out of which 38,939 (42.4%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 45,398 (49.4%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 13,845 (15.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 6,372 (6.9%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 6,392 (7.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 746 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 18,284 households (19.9%) were made up of individuals and 6,262 (6.8%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.18. There were 65,615 families (71.4% of all households); the average family size was 3.67.
The population was spread out with 81,406 people (26.8%) under the age of 18, 47,126 people (15.5%) aged 18 to 24, 82,482 people (27.1%) aged 25 to 44, 66,615 people (21.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 26,242 people (8.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.0 years. For every 100 females there were 97.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.4 males.
There were 98,444 housing units at an average density of 1,208.7 per square mile (466.7/km²), of which 51,185 (55.7%) were owner-occupied, and 40,747 (44.3%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 7.4%. 168,888 people (55.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 123,434 people (40.6%) lived in rental housing units.
According to the 2010 United States Census, Riverside had a median household income of $56,403, with 17.5% of the population living below the federal poverty line.
As of the census of 2000, there were 255,166 people, 82,005 households, and 58,141 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,261.5/km² (3,267.2/mi²). There were 85,974 housing units at an average density of 425.0/km² (1,100.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 59.3% White, 7.4% African American, 1.1% Native American, 5.68% Asian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 21.0% from other races, and 5.1% from two or more races. 38.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 82,005 households out of which 39.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.3% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.1% were non-families. 21.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.02 and the average family size was 3.54.
In the city, the population was spread out with 30.1% under the age of 18, 12.9% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 97.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $41,646, and the median income for a family was $47,254. Males had a median income of $36,920 versus $28,328 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,882. 15.8% of the population and 11.7% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 18.9% of those under the age of 18 and 8.0% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
iverside is largely Christian and home to Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches, and an Islamic mosque, Mormon churches, Jewish synagogue, Hindu temple, several Buddhist temples, and a Universalist Unitarian church. Riverside is also home to the Inland Empire Atheists and Agnostics organization.
Several religious celebrations take place on top of the city’s Mount Rubidoux. One is an annual Easter Sunrise service, which is the nation’s oldest continual non-denominational outdoor Easter service The 100th anniversary of the event was held April 12, 2009. Each December, a 2½-mile procession from Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine to the top of Mount Rubidoux promotes awareness of Juan Diego’s walk up Tepeyac hill, in 1531, where he reportedly saw a Marian apparition known as Our Lady of Guadalupe.
In 2012, a controversy erupted regarding the cross atop Mount Rubidoux, which was on city-owned land and maintained by the city. Due to constitutional issues regarding separation of church and state, the Riverside City Council sold the cross and the land under it (0.43 acre) to a private entity for $10,500.
Riverside has a diversified economy with significant manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors. The manufacturing sector is largely light-industry and generates a range of products including aircraft components, automotive parts, gas cylinders, electronic equipment, food products, and medical devices. Supporting the manufacturing sector are several industrial parks, including those in the Hunter Industrial Park, Sycamore Canyon Industrial Park and Airport Industrial Areas. Many of the industrial sites are rail-served, with Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe main lines running through the city. As the county seat and largest city in the region, Riverside also houses many legal, accounting, brokerage, architectural, engineering, technology, and banking firms. Citrus production and packing houses still exist within the city, but the industry is in decline.
Film and television
Riverside’s close proximity to Hollywood, combined with its many unique architectural features, has made it a frequent filming choice by film studios, starting with the 1919 film Boots, which starred Dorothy Gish and was filmed at the Mission Inn.
Episodes of the 2013 television celebrity diving program Splash are taped at Riverside Community College’s aquatics complex, and a local gay bar named V.I.P. was the setting for the second episode of Season Five of the Bravo TV Reality show Tabatha Takes Over. The HBO show Enlightened (2011–2013), which starred Laura Dern, was also set in Riverside.
Arts and culture
California Citrus State Historic Park Museum
Entomology Research Museum at the University of California, Riverside (not open to the public).
Heritage House Museum
March Field Air Museum
Mission Inn Museum
Riverside Art Museum
Riverside Metropolitan Museum
Sherman Indian Museum at the Sherman Indian High School
Southern California Medical Museum, housed at the Riverside County Medical Association
Sweeney Art Gallery, an extension of the University of California, Riverside
The Stahl Center Museum of Culture at the La Sierra University
University of California, Riverside California Museum of Photography
World Museum of Natural History at the La Sierra University
Festivals and events
Several festivals occur throughout the year in Riverside, many focused on the downtown area.
Each year in February The Riverside Dickens Festival is held to “enhance a sense of community among citizens of Riverside County and Southern California by creating a series of literary events and to provide educational, family-oriented, literary entertainment and activities such as plays, musical performances, pageants, living history presentations, workshops, lectures, classroom study, exhibits and a street bazaar with free entertainment, vendors and costumed characters.”
The Riverside Airshow takes place in March at the Riverside Municipal Airport. The event attracts around 70,000 people and includes aerial performers, over 200 acres (0.81 km2) of aircraft displays, a car show and military vehicle display, children’s activities, food and refreshments, helicopter displays and community group exhibits.
The March Field Airfest, also known as Thunder Over the Empire, is a biennial air show held at March Air Reserve Base. The air show is among the largest events in the Inland Empire and Riverside County. The show has featured such performers as the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, the Air Combat Command demonstrations teams and many other military and civilian demonstrations. 2010 saw the Patriots Jet Team as the highlight demonstration team of the show. Attendance for the 2010 show was estimated at over 150,000.
The Riverside International Film Festival (RIFF) takes place in April and features films from around the world. Sponsored by the city of Riverside, local universities, and many businesses, past festivals have featured over 175 films.
In October, the California Riverside Ballet sponsors the Ghost Walk, which in 2013 celebrated its 22nd year. The event is an adventure through some of the city’s oldest and most historic buildings, with volunteers leading tours and telling tales of ghouls and ghosts.
Also, in October, for one evening, from late afternoon until midnight, the Long Night of Arts & Innovation is held in Downtown Riverside. This signature event of the city of Riverside is designed to showcase its best talent in the visual and performing arts, science and technology from its universities, community college, school districts, and most innovative companies and arts organizations. It is also designed to encourage school children to seek innovative careers in the arts and STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) by connecting them to professors, artists, professionals and performers from these institutions.
The Riverside Festival of Lights centers around the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, located downtown. Decoration of the Inn begins in October and a lighting ceremony that includes speakers, fireworks, and live musicians takes place the day after Thanksgiving Day. The Inn puts up more than three million lights and hundreds of animated characters. Carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, and ice skating all color the festival. Restaurants, cafes, and community groups all contribute to the festival. The festival runs through New Year’s Day.
Also during the week of Thanksgiving, the Festival of Trees is held at the Riverside Convention Center. Held since 1990, the event seeks to raise money for the Riverside County Regional Medical Center children’s units including the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Child Abuse and Neglect Unit, and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Attracting 25,000 people per year, the event has raised over $5 million since its inception. At the Festival of Trees, many professionally decorated Christmas trees are judged, auctioned, and then displayed for public viewing. Other activities include entertainment, a children’s craft area, a sweet shop, and Storytime with Santa.
Other events in Riverside include, on the first Thursdays of each month, the Riverside Art Walk, with local vendors selling handmade arts and crafts.
Riverside is governed by a city council and mayor. The city council has seven members each elected from single member wards. The mayor is elected in a citywide election. A city manager is responsible for ongoing city services.
In Riverside’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, the city’s government accounts were reported to have $244 million in revenues and $365 million in expenditures, with the deficiency made up by the issuance of long-term debt and transfers from the city-owned utilities (including electric and water). The report also indicates that over the past 9 years, the number of city employees increased by 23.6% to 2686 FTE, outpacing the 12.5% increase in the number of residents.
Federal and State representation
Under the electoral maps drawn by the Citizens’ Redistricting Commission, which were first used in the 2012 elections and will remain in effect through at least 2020, Riverside’s state and federal legislative districts have changed substantially.
In the California State Senate, the city is in the 31st Senate District, represented by Democrat Richard Roth. In the California State Assembly, it is split between the 60th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Sabrina Cervantes, and the 61st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Jose Medina. In the United States House of Representatives, Riverside is in California’s 41st congressional district, represented by Democrat Mark Takano.
Colleges and universities
Riverside is home to several institutions of higher learning:
California Baptist University
California Southern Law School (to close in 2020).
La Sierra University
Riverside City College
University of California, Riverside
American College of Healthcare
Masters Vocational College
Public school districts and high schools
Riverside is served by two school districts:
Riverside Unified School District serves eastern Riverside.
High schools include:
Arlington High School
Martin Luther King High School
John W. North High School
Riverside Polytechnic High School also known as Poly High School
Ramona High School
Riverside Virtual School
Riverside STEM High School
Continuation high schools include:
Abraham Lincoln High School
Raincross High School
Summit View High School
Alvord Unified School District serves western Riverside.
High schools include:
La Sierra High School
Norte Vista High School
Hillcrest High School
Continuation high schools include:
Alvord High School
Other public secondary schools
Two notable institutions of learning, for specified student bodies, are also located in Riverside:
California School for the Deaf, Riverside (CSD-R) for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing from Preschool to 12th grade has been open since 1952. The CSD-R varsity football team, the Riverside Cubs, had an undefeated season which led to an appearance on a May 2006 segment on ABC’s 20/20 news series.
Sherman Indian High School of the Bureau of Indian Education, is for Native American tribal members from 9th to 12th grade; it has been open since 1878.
Private secondary schools
Bethel Christian School
Eastside Christian Academy
La Sierra Academy (Seventh-Day Adventist)
Notre Dame High School (Roman Catholic)
Riverside Christian High School
Woodcrest Christian High School
Islamic Academy of Riverside