Postcard: Main at Ninth streets

1964 - Main Street - view south from Ninth toward Tenth
1964 – Main Street – view south from Ninth toward Tenth

At right is a postcard view of Main Street in downtown Riverside looking south toward Tenth from Ninth. The view is from 1963/64, prior to the construction of the Main Street pedestrian mall*, which opened in 1966 and stretches north from Tenth to Sixth.

At left is Gordon’s (here’s a different view*). According to its sign, Gordon’s has been in business since 1905. And just out of view on the immediate left (adjacent to Gordon’s) would be F.W. Woolworth. It opened on the SE corner of Ninth and Main in 1940. We’re not sure when the store closed, but according to this 1967 view looking north toward Ninth from Tenth (nearly the opposite view of the postcard), it appears to have remained open at least until the late 1960s (here’s a close-up view).

1966/67 - Main Street Pedestrian Mall - view north from Tenth*
1966/67 – Main Street Pedestrian Mall – view north from Tenth*

Prior to Woolworth’s, the corner was home to the Rowell Hotel, which opened in 1887. In 1902, the Rowell became the Reynolds Hotel upon being purchased by George N. Reynolds who operated a department store directly across Ninth Street in the 3-story Reynolds Building. That building, which later housed Montgomery Ward (1934 – 1966) and Pic ‘N Save** (until about 1970), was built in 1900. It was demolished in the early 1980s and replaced by a small parking lot. (The site is being used as staging area during the refurbishment of the former Rouse Building into UCR’s Culver Center of the Arts.)

Back to the postcard … hanging above the third car on the right is the black & white “Piano & Organ” sign for Cheney’s Music. It opened on Main Street in 1944 where it remained until relocating in 1970 to the Tyler Mall (now Galleria at Tyler). Owned by Warren W. Cheney, the store remained in business at the mall until the early 1980s.

2009 - Main Street at Ninth
2009 – Main Street at Ninth

A bit farther down on the right can be seen 4001 Main Street (Tenth and Main), which once housed the Security Investment Company (here’s a more recent view). Also seen is the crane used during construction of the 8-story Citizen’s/Crocker Bank***. It was downtown’s first modern, mid-rise office building when it opened in 1965 (here’s a more recent view).

Today, if one were to stand in the same location as the postcard, their view would be blocked by City Hall, which replaced the businesses on both sides of the pedestrian mall (Main Street) between Ninth and Tenth streets in 1975.

For those interested, here’s the back of the postcard, which was mailed to W. Medford, Mass in 1967. Note: The postcard incorrectly states the view as being toward the north, but in reality, you’re looking south

Photos courtesy of *Ruhnau, Ruhnau & Clarke, **RPD Remembers, ***Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce

Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library, The Press-Enterprise, Los Angeles Times, “Riverside in Postcards” (Steve Lech), “Riverside – 1870-1940” (Steve Lech), “Colony for California” (Tom Patterson)

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