Riverside is the county seat of Riverside County, California, United States. The city is named for the nearby Santa Ana River, and is the birthplace of the California citrus industry. As of 2006, Riverside had an estimated population of 305,255.Riverside is the 61st-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in California's Inland Empire region, the 14th-largest metropolitan area in the nation and part of the 2nd largest Combined Statistical Area in the country.
Compared with other cities in Southern California, real estate prices in Riverside are significantly lower than those in adjacent counties. This has led to explosive residential growth within the Riverside city limits. Consequently this has also contributed to heavy gridlock, as residents from Riverside commute to job centers in Orange County and Los Angeles.
In the 2000s, Riverside has been listed by various research groups as having some of the United State's most severe air pollution and congestion. Smart Growth America lists Riverside as the most sprawling city in the nation.
The city was founded in the early 1870s beside the Santa Ana River by John W. North, a staunch temperance-minded abolitionist from Tennessee, who had previously founded Northfield, Minnesota. A few years after, the navel orange was planted and found to be such a success that full-scale planting started. Riverside was temperance minded (few saloons if any were allowed in Riverside proper), and Republican. 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 began two years later when Eliza Tibbets received two Brazilian navel orange trees sent to her by a friend at the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. The trees thrived in the Southern California climate and the navel orange industry grew rapidly. Within a few years, the successful cultivation of the newly discovered 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 wealthiest city 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 world-famous 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 16th and 17th centuries. (Although Spanish missionaries came as far inland as San Bernardino (San Bernardino Asistencia), 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 landmark homes serves as a reminder of European investors who settled here.
At the entrance to Riverside from the 60 freeway sits Fairmount Park. This extensive urban oasis was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Slightly fraying around the edges, it still has a lovely, stocked pond, and many species of birds. Nearby, on private land, is the former site of Spring Rancheria, a Cahuilla village.
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. Mexican communities were also formed in the barrio of Casa Blanca during the early twentieth century. That tradition continues today, with Oaxacan workers in the place of Spanish speakers. Michael Kearney, an anthropologist at University of California, Riverside, refers to this vast transnational labor space as "Oaxacalifornia."
Settlements of Japanese and Korean immigrants used to exist along the railroad tracks, which would fill with thousands of workers during the citrus harvest. None of these remain, but the Santa Fe depot, like several others in the Inland Empire, has been restored to its turn-of-the-century glory. Today, many of Riverside's Asian Americans live in the sections of Arlington and La Sierra, the majority being Chinese American and Korean American. The largest Korean American church in the city is Riverside Korean Baptist Church near Arlington.
Riverside used to boast one of the largest Chinatowns in California, but the last resident, Mr. Wong, died in the 1970s and the remaining (decrepit) buildings were razed. Extensive archaeological excavation took place in the 1980s, and many artifacts are housed at the newly re-named Metropolitan Museum across from the Mission Inn Hotel. The City of Riverside Planning Commission and City Council are in the final stages of approving the construction of a medical building on the site, which has spurred opposition. A new organization called the Riverside Chinese Culture Preservation Committee formed in the summer of 2008 with the goal of protecting the site from commercial development.
In 1915 a Japanese immigrant named Jukichi Harada, proprietor for many years of a local restaurant, purchased a home in Riverside in the names of his American-born children in order to provide access for them to the public school system. Neighbors formed a committee and charged him with violating the California Alien Land Law of 1913, which barred aliens ineligible for citizenship from owning land. The case, The People of the State of California v. Jukichi Harada, became a test of the constitutionality of the law and progressed to the state Supreme Court, where the Haradas won. The Metropolitan Museum of Riverside now owns the house, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
Dalip Singh Saund, the first Asian-born politician elected to the United States Congress (and the only Sikh), was voted into office in 1956 to represent a district that included Riverside.
Riverside is home to the University of California, Riverside. The UCR Botanic Gardens contains 40 acres (162,000 m²) of unusual plants, with four miles (6 km) of walking trails. The city prides itself on its historic connection to the navel orange, which was introduced to North America from Brazil by the first settlers to Riverside in 1873. Riverside is home to the three surviving Parent Navel Orange Tree, from which all American West Coast navel orange trees are descended.
There are three hospitals in Riverside.
Riverside is also home to the Riverside Public Library system. Branches include: Arlington, La Sierra, Marcy, Main, Eastside Cy-brary, and Casa Blanca.
The city of Riverside is served by several institutions of higher learning:
Riverside is home of the historic Mission Inn, the Historic Riverside County Courthouse (based on the Petit Palais in Paris, France), and the Fox Theater, where the first showing of Gone with the Wind took place, which was purchased by the city and is now being refurbished. Its appearance today is dilapidated and vacant, although with the recent Riverside Renaissance Initiative, the Fox Theater is currently undergoing rehabilitation to become a performing arts theater. The building will be expanded to hold 1,600 seats, and will boast a stage large enough for Broadway-style performances. The expected completion date for the rehabilitation efforts is Fall 2008.
Also it is the home of the "World's Largest Paper Cup" which is over three stories (68.10 ft) tall. There is a warehouse/manufacturing building, Dixie Corporation, right behind it. It is made of painted concrete. The "Dixie Cup" landmark is located on Iowa Street just north of Palmyrita. The manufacturing plant itself is now non-existent.
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, Mt. Rubidoux, which is next to the Santa Ana River and one of the most noticeable landmark in the downtown area. This mountain is the dividing line between the town of Rubidoux and the City of Riverside.
March 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 being founded in 1918.