In the heart of the Inland Empire is a city called “Riverside” as it is located alongside the Santa Ana River. It is the most populated city in the Inland Empire and Riverside County, becoming the county seat for the same named county it resides in. It is located 55 miles east of downtown Los Angeles and considered part of the Greater Los Angeles area being the 59th most populated city in the United States and the 12th most populated in California. The 2010 Census stated it having a population of 303,871 residents.
Riverside was founded around 1870 hosting the California citrus industry, expansion, and tourism. The area was originally inhabited by the Cahuilla and Serrano Native American peoples. In the late 1700’s white Westerners began moving in and early 1800’s saw large ranches being built by Bernardo Yorba and Juan Bandini. By the 1860’s Louis Prevost launched the California Silk Center Association – a short lived experiment in sericulture. After it failed, John W. North purchased some of the experimental lands and formed the Southern California Colony Association to promote the area’s development. By March of 1870 North distributed posters announcing the formation of a colony in California. Years later some naval orange trees were planted here and found great success that full scale planting began and the area was overrun with orchards.
Riverside is home to the Mission Inn – the largest Mission Revival style building in the United States as well as the Riverside National Cemetery. It is also home to the University of California Riverside branch. There is a notable Fox Performing Arts Center, Riverside Metropolitan Museum, California Museum of Photography, California Citrus State Historic Park, the Parent Washington Navel Orange Tree, and a Drive-In theater.
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