112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

Riverside Architecture and Landmarks

There will be two special 90-minute walking tours of downtown Riverside offered during the conference, one on Friday leaving at 2 pm and one on Saturday leaving at 1:45 pm.  More information is available in the conference program or at the registration table. But you can also explore downtown Riverside on your own: 

In the downtown area near the Convention Center, the Mission Inn is not to be missed and a number of fine buildings are within walking distance of the Inn. It was designed from1902-1931 by Arthur Benton, Myron Hunt, G. Stanley Wilson and others. Their work dots Riverside with hidden jewels. 

Visitors not staying at the Inn should attempt to get to the rooftop promenades on the fourth floor. From there, one can see all of Riverside, as well as Mt. Rubidoux, which makes a lovely walk or jog on a cool morning or evening. 

The Main Street Promenade was one of the few American attempts to create a European pedestrian street, but its completion coincided with the negative impact of suburban decentralization on the downtown economy.   

A few blocks away, the UCR California Museum of Photography by Stanley Saitowitz is built to replicate a camera, and is one of the major photographic museums in the West, rivalled only by the Getty. 

Next door to it is the Culver Center for the Arts, renovated from an early 20th century department store. Often overshadowed by the Mission Inn, the County Courthouse (Burnham and Bliesner, 1903-04) is one of the most splendid examples of Beaux Arts design in the West, and is one of the most successful of many imitations of the Petit Palace at the Paris Exposition of 1900.

The Riverside Art Museum, at 7th and Lime, was originally a YWCA and like many California YWCA buildings, was designed by Julia Morgan, famous around the world for Hearst Castle.

An elegant and often overlooked prize is the Unitarian Church of 1891, designed by A. C. Willard.

The architects of the Mission Inn also contributed to the look of downtown Riverside: Arthur Benton's First Church of Christ Scientist (1900) at 6th and Lemon; the Riverside Municipal Auditorium by Arthur Benton and G. Stanley Wilson (1928-29); the First Congregationalist Church (1912-13) by Myron Hunt.

Some lovely remnants of Riverside's citrus and railroad heritage are downtown East of the Mission Inn under the freeway overpass.  These include the Santa Fe Railroad Station of about 1928 with examples of Batchelder tile and the Old Spaghetti Factory, which has renovated an old packing house, the America's Fruitgrower's Packinghouse of 1913, on the North East corner of Seventh and Vine, and the old Union Pacific depot, most recently a coffee house and a restaurant, now closed. 

A curious example of Riverside's turn of the century vision of itself is found in remnants of the concrete pergolas that were once meant to shade visitors walking from the train station to the Mission Inn.

After the usual horrors of urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s, Riverside has done a good job of preserving its Mission revival public buildings, its Queen Anne and Eastlake wooden Victorian houses and its fine stock of bungalow housing. Ironically, it is losing much of its equally impressive examples of midcentury modernist architecture that once threatened to erase the older Progressive and Victorian character of the city. The Brockton Arcade, beginning on Brockton Avenue a few yards south of Central Avenue, is a neglected but intriguing example, as is the former Press-Enterprise Headquarters at Martin Luther King Blvd (14th Street and Main Street.).

Mid-century modernism does distinguish the campus of the University of California, Riverside, though there are a number of notable buildings recently completed. The Humanities and Social Sciences I Building, was designed by Cesar Pelli, noted for his famous twin towers in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.  The Arts Building was originally designed by Frank Israel of Israel Callas Chu, and the plans were cited by the New York Times as one of the two most important projects of 1995. After Israel's death, the building was redesigned and completed by Annie Chu. Humanities and Social Sciences II, across from the Arts building, is designed by Pei Cobb Fried, famous for the Louvre pyramid in Paris, now infamous as a result of The Da Vinci Code.

A smaller building, the Entomology Museum, is one of the little undiscovered gems of the campus and sensitively places a postmodern design in one of the older sections of the campus.  It sits right next to what is now the Anderson Graduate School of Management, but which was originally one of the first buildings on campus, the Agricultural Extension Building, completed in 1916 by Lester H. Hibbard and H. B. Cody.

The bell tower and the Chemistry Building were both designed by Jones and Emmons, and Faye Jones has recently been the subject of books and symposia as a result of the revival of interest in midcentury modern architecture.  Albert Frey, famous for his buildings in Palm Springs, partnered on Hinderaker Hall (the patio has his trademark decorative brick work) and Watkins Hall 1000 (the entry covering has oculus).

The older buildings on campus, with their long, low profiles and decorated screens, reflect the influence of Latin American modern architecture on American design, and they do not attempt to compete with the superb landscaping of the campus, originally laid out by Edward Huntsman Trout, but now updated by some prominent Southern California landscape architects.

Here are some of the City of Riverside’s official landmarks:

The Mission Inn (3649 Mission Inn Avenue) Owner Frank A. Miller’s Mission Inn epitomizes his role as Riverside’s leading exponent of the Mission Revival style. Built between 1902 and 1932, the Inn’s architects included Arthur B. Benton, Myron Hunt and G. Stanley Wilson. The hotel originated on the site in 1876 as the modest home of Miller’s parents.

Riverside County Courthouse (4050 Main Street) Designed by Franklin P. Burnham in the style of Beaux-Arts Classicism, the courthouse was completed in 1903. Contractor F. O. Engstrom used brick and concrete for this building, which features ionic columns and classical sculpture.

Universalist-Unitarian Church (3525 Mission Inn Avenue) Architect A. C. Willard designed this 1891 Norman Gothic Revival style church building, which was constructed of Arizona sandstone. Reverend George H. Deere founded Riverside’s first Universalist congregation in 1881.

Magnolia United Presbyterian Church (7200 Magnolia Avenue) Architect A. W. Boggs designed and built the Gothic Revival church in 1881. It is the oldest existing church building in the city of Riverside.

Heritage House (Bettner-McDavid House) (8193 Magnolia Avenue) This Queen Anne style house was designed by John A. Walls for Mrs. James A. Bettner, widow of an early citrus pioneer. Completed in 1891, it was purchased by the Riverside Museum Associates in 1969 and now operates as a historic house museum.

First Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) (3504 Mission Inn Avenue) Designed by well known architect Myron Hunt, and built by the Cresmer Manufacturing Company, this concrete building is in the Spanish Colonial Revival style with Churrigueresque elements. The first services were held on December 24, 1913.

First Church of Christ, Scientist (3606 Lemon Street) Designed by architect Arthur B. Benton, and completed in 1901, this church is Riverside’s oldest surviving example of Mission Revival style architecture. It is also the church that introduced Christian Science to Southern California. 

Union Pacific Depot (3751 Vine Street) This Mission Revival style depot was built in 1904 by the San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad, which became part of the Union Pacific in 1921.Passenger service was discontinued in 1971.

S. C. Evans Residence (7606 Mt. Vernon Street) This circa 1874 adobe house was designed by architect W.R. Norton for Evans, the president of the Riverside Land and Irrigating Company. It was constructed of natural materials by local Indians and represents a common local construction style of the period.

Benedict Castle (1850 Benedict Avenue) Designed by Henry L. A. Jekel, this Medieval-Spanish style structure exhibits strong Moorish influences. The residence was built in two stages between 1921 and 1931 as a luxurious home for Charles W. Benedict.

Buena Vista Drive and Carlson Park (Beyond Mission Inn Avenue west between Redwood Drive and the Santa Ana River) This landmark consists of the remaining towers of the Mission Revival style bridge that was completed in 1923 across the Santa Ana River west of Mt. Rubidoux. Also included are the raincross streetlights, the waterfall, and the decorative plantings installed on Mt. Rubidoux when the city widened the bridge in 1931. A new bridge, slightly north of the original site, was constructed in 1958.

Parent Navel Orange Tree (Magnolia Avenue at Arlington Avenue) Propagated from trees imported from Bahia, Brazil in 1870 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this tree was sent to Luther and Eliza Tibbets of Riverside for experimental planting in 1873 and began California’s Washington navel orange industry and Riverside’s citriculture boom. It was transplanted to this site in 1902.

New Jerusalem Church (3645 Locust Street) This church is a late expression of a Classical Revival temple façade with Gothic elements. It was dedicated on Easter Sunday, 1904.

Harada House (3356 Lemon Street) Japanese immigrant and local restaurateur Jukichi Harada purchased the saltbox cottage in 1915 in the names of his three American-born minor children. The residence gained international attention in 1916 as the object of a landmark court case testing the constitutionality of California’s 1913 Alien Land Law. It has been continuously owned and occupied by the Harada family since 1915. The property is also a National Historic Landmark.

The Gage Canal -- Built between 1884 and 1888, this important engineering feat is named for Matthew Gage, who guided its original twenty-mile length from the Santa Ana River near present-day Loma Linda to Arlington Heights. Originally conceived for the irrigation of his own holdings, the canal put Gage in the business of selling water and made possible Riverside’s 1890s boom in agricultural and residential development.

Mount Rubidoux -- Located west of downtown Riverside, Mt. Rubidoux is named for Louis Rubidoux, an early settler to the area. Frank Miller purchased the land in 1906 on which he built a road, planted vegetation and dedicated a cross to Father Junipero Serra. The nation’s first annual outdoor Easter Sunrise Service was initiated here in 1909 and inspired similar programs across the country. The Peace Tower was designed by Arthur Benton and built in 1925.