Riverside has a rich history, the city was founded by John W. North and a group of other Easterners in 1870. They had high hopes of developing a county based on progressive education and culture. The land it was built on was previously Spanish rancho land. A year after its founding, the very first orange trees were planted thus foreshadowing its prevalent involvement with the citrus industry. Although 1871 is when the original trees were planted, the industry did not actually begin until two years later. It all started when Eliza Tibbets received two Brazilian naval orange trees. Tibbets had a friend at the Department of Agriculture in Washington who sent them to her. These trees were prominent and the industry began to spread like wildfire.
The citrus industry had sole success for a few years and led Riverside into its own version of the California Gold Rush, but instead of gold, it was citrus! By 1882, Riverside had over half of a million trees throughout. When the refrigerated railroad cars were invented and innovated irrigation systems were laid into place, Riverside officially became the wealthiest city per capita all by 1895, just 25 years after its founding.
Due to the City’s Office of Historic Preservation, the pieces of the past are kept and built into foundations for the future, in and effort to preserve it’s history. Riverside holds over 100 City Landmarks, 20 National Register Sites and 2 National Landmarks. All have been appointed by the City Council and provide entertainment and enjoyment with ounces of education within. These landmarks and sites allow for connections to the roots of the city and its sense of home. The City’s Historic Preservation Program was developed in 1969 and works to advance the historically renowned neighborhoods, commercial and civic resources.
The most known landmarks and sites include the the Mission Inn, the Chinatown site, the National Packing House, Citrus Experiment Station and engineering aspects like the Gage Canal. Most can even be found within Downtown’s Mission Inn Historic District. The California Mission Revival style was born in Riverside and is featured on many buildings throughout. The Mission Inn, the Municipal Auditorium, First Church of Christ Scientist, and the Fox Theater, home of the Riverside Film Festival are all locations notable of possessing the Mission Revival Style.