In this old city of oranges, peculiar sites abound. There are strange relics of the eclectic denizens of Riverside receiving few visitors while alongside roads which transport hundreds of thousands each day. Images of the past and present of Riverside are reflected in these scattered landmarks, portraits of the city at the peak of American industry. Its deepest instances of dilapidation and all points in between. A story is told in these places, a story that one can experience in their presence.

Antique Locations

Following the good order of most memorable stories, places of historical significance are a productive place to start — not worth mentioning are landmarks that are already well-known, such as the Mission Inn, Mount Rubidoux, the Chinese Pagoda, etc. Riverside was birthed in the citrus rush, an economic boom which had its epicenter under the legendary Riverside entrepreneur Eliza Tibbets; located on the corner of Magnolia and Arlington lies the first Washington Naval tree introduced from Brazil on her property — the tree that allowed this city to flourish.

A location often forgotten in Riverside was the center of a Supreme Court case that worked to strengthen the legal agency of Asian Americans. The Harada House, located at 3356 Lemon Street, was owned by the Harada family when the state of California attempted to confiscate and take ownership of the property under the Asian Exclusion Act. In California v. Harada. Jukichi Harada successfully defended his property rights and maintained the property until his death. This landmark serves as a standing legacy for this meaningful victory for Asian Americans in a city that worked so viciously to persecute and displace them.

Leaving an indelible mark on Riverside as John Miller or Eliza Tibbets, the Spanish colonizer and explorer Juan Bautista de Anza has for over a century been immortalized as the namesake of many of Riverside’s landmarks. The most notable of these is Camp Anza, a former US Army training camp used during World War II. Still standing at the corner of 14th and Magnolia, the statue of de Anza that stands near the site of the defunct base is easy to miss. An imposition of aged (and immoral) imperial values, this statue stands as a strange monument to a man now widely recognized for the destruction wrought on the Portolá expedition. A product of the artistic employment institutionalized by the New Deal, this peculiar statue is a product of an outdated period of patriotism in America. 

Strange Locations

Like everywhere else in America, Riverside hosted many products of the strange consumerism that followed WWII, particularly massive renditions of everyday items. Two of these still remain in Riverside, an orange-shaped shed from which one could buy citrus and a 68-foot-tall paper cup. This citrus shack sits on the corner of Van Buren and Dufferin Avenue, a replica of the many that used to populate California. Founded along highways, these stands served those traveling these roads with orange juice and fresh citrus, thriving as road tourism boomed across California. As the interstates were constructed, these shops lost business due to the changed routes, leaving only a few left, including the one in Riverside. Meanwhile, the world’s largest paper cup stands proudly at 800 Iowa Avenue, very close to UCR. Constructed by the Lily Tulip Cup Company in 1958, it once stood in front of a paper cup factory. In 2003, ownership of the property changed, but the cup remained where it still stands, receiving fresh paint every few years.

Not receiving paint but not particularly requiring any, Tio’s Tacos, located at 3498 Mission Inn Avenue, is a beautiful and expansive art project and restaurant. Constructing a village out of arguable trash, Martin Sanchez has been continuously developing the property since 1995, creating numerous elaborate structures; hailing from Sahauyo, Michoacan, Sanchez is motivated by his childhood poverty in these creations, images from his childhood in Mexico, immersing one in his vision of beauty.

These locations are eclectic reflections of this strange, old city we live in, visions into the stories past. In traveling to these locations, one may better understand the hugely varied personage of Riverside.