mid-century

Riverside Auto Center nearing 50 years

Riverside Auto Center nearing 50 years

Billed as the “World’s First Auto Center,” the 1965 opening of the Riverside Auto Center transformed the car-buying landscape in America, if not the world. What began in the late 1950s as a bold vision among three local car dealers – George Reade Sr. (Chevrolet), Charles W. “Bud” Dutton Sr. (Cadillac/Oldsmobile), and Julian Adrian “Red”…

Gallery: Riverside — Pedestrian Mall: 1966-2008
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Gallery: Riverside — Pedestrian Mall: 1966-2008

Following the 1957 opening of the Riverside Plaza mall, downtown shopping began a slow but steady decline. In response, city leaders quickly began working at remaking the city’s civic center. Discussions took place regarding additional parking, modernized storefronts, and streetscape improvements. In June 1958, Los Angeles architectural firm Welton Beckett & Associates presented a downtown…

Major makeover underway at 4075 Main Street
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Major makeover underway at 4075 Main Street

Work is well underway remaking 4075 Main Street in downtown Riverside into the new home for Riverside County Public Defender. The 8-story building was Riverside’s first modern, mid-rise commercial office building when it opened in 1965. In April 1962, Greschner Investment Corp. of Santa Ana and Los Angeles-based Citizens National Bank* proposed the office building…

Riverside’s California Tower turns 40
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Riverside’s California Tower turns 40

Just over 40 years ago, in April 1973, the first of three modern, mid-rise office buildings opened along Riverside’s downtown pedestrian mall, ushering in a new era of mixed uses and densities along Main Street. Like many American downtowns of the era, downtown Riverside’s retail component continued declining during the 1960s, due in part to…

Then & Now — 4129 Main Street
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Then & Now — 4129 Main Street

In April 1928, reports surfaced that retailing giants Sears and Montgomery Ward were both considering stores for Riverside, possibly at Seventh and Lime, and Ninth and Orange streets respectively. However, these sites would not come to fruition as both retailers eventually ended up elsewhere in downtown. Just before the opening of Sears at Fifth and…

Downtown fire station dedicated
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Downtown fire station dedicated

Almost exactly forty years after a fire that destroyed the iconic Arlington / Tetley / Riverside hotel, the northwest corner of University and Lime is again occupied following the dedication of Riverside’s new Downtown Fire Station. Built at a cost of $12 million as part of the Riverside Renaissance capital improvement program, the station’s opening…

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Postcard: Beautiful Riverside, California

Here’s an aerial view from approximately 1960 over downtown Riverside. The view is looking north from Fourteenth Street, with the intersection of Fourteenth and Market/Magnolia at bottom-left. At top-right is the then relatively new Riverside Freeway (Highway 91), with southbound off-ramp at Seventh Street (now Mission Inn Avenue) and southbound on-ramp at Ninth Street (currently…

Through the years with Sears in Riverside
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Through the years with Sears in Riverside

For nearly 85 years, national retail giant Sears has operated a “brick & mortar” store at three different locations in Riverside, with almost 50 of those years spent at its current Arlington Avenue location. However, the first two Sears stores were both located downtown, with the original store opening in February 1929 on the northwest…

Initial conceptual plans for exterior of downtown library

On the heels of March’s initial “information gathering” meetings with the public and library/civic stakeholders, Riverside began conducting followup public meetings late last week on the proposed renovation of the downtown Main Library. As such, the city has released four early conceptual drawings of the proposed exterior makeover, which the city is currently asking for…