Posts Tagged ‘Firsts’

Day110 Gage Canal

Gage Canal

Gage Canal

Without Matthew Gage, there would be no Gage Canal.

Without the Gage Canal, Riverside’s citrus industry would not have flourished, and the city would not have prospered the way it did around the turn of the 20th century.

And without that prosperity, people would probably not still be arguing about the water coursing down the 130-year-old canal.

That the canal exists at all is notable. Gage, a jeweler who emigrated from Canada, had no background in water or engineering. And he had no money. Under a federal program at the time, he filed for claim on 640 acres of land, promising he could deliver water to irrigate the tract within three years.

Gage was sure he could bring water to the area along the base of the hills to the southeast of downtown. Although it seems counterintuitive, the water would come from the Santa Ana River in San Bernardino and flow downhill through what is now Grand Terrace and the Highgrove area into Riverside.

Through a series of clever cuts and minor tunnels in the hillsides between Loma Linda and Grand Terrace, the gravity-fed canal continued through the western edge of the current UC Riverside campus to its end between Harrison and McAllister streets, 20.13 miles from its origin.

It wasn’t long before citrus groves blanketed its route. Many of those groves are now gone. But the water is still flowing in the canal, feeding the remaining acres of citrus as well as commercial nurseries and the gardens of homes along its course. The land is part of Riverside’s greenbelt.

The canal is also a magnet for recreation. Joggers and cyclists regularly use the dirt paths along its edge. Old-timers tell stories of floating down the waterway during hot summer days long ago.

And while the open part of the canal between Arlington Avenue and its terminus is usually full of water, that water does not come from the original wells at the Santa Ana River. Those wells are still active, but their water is tapped for use by the Riverside Public Utilities.
(Courtesy The Press Enterprise Tuesday, July 29, 2008)

Day106 Riverside’s Beginnings

Parent Navel Orange Tree

Parent Navel Orange Tree

The Navel Orange is solely responsible for the existence of Riverside and its prosperous younger years.

Now at 137 years old, the parent navel orange, which started it all, is still healthy and bearing fruit.

The tree’s history can be traced from Bahia state, Brazil. The first introduction of the navel orange bud-wood to the United States probably occurred during the end of the 19th century. It was taken from Bahia to Washington, D.C., by boat in 1871. It was then transported by rail, stage coach, and finally by wagon to the home of Luther and Eliza Tibbets in the newly formed settlement of Riverside.

The tree became popular in California because its fruits were large, sweet and seedless — distinguishing them from the small and seedy fruit on the seedling trees then present in California. The Navel Orange Tree became influential in the development of numerous new cities, fruit packing houses, boxing machines, fruit wraps and the iced railroad car.

The magnificent tree is considered to be the most important plant introduction ever made into the United States, and all Washington navel orange trees throughout the world are possibly descended from it.

Day82 City of Firsts



Here you have it!
Another icon of Riverside (though surprisingly, not many in the city are even aware of why our buses look like trolley cars).Though most people think of San Francisco at the thought of the trolley, Riverside was in fast the first city to have trolleys in the United States.
The lines ran through the town on what is today Magnolia Avenue.

The Trolley buses are a tribute to that past.
Riverside has also held the monikers of:
City of Trees: Due to the start of the naval oranges here
City of Firsts: First Palm lined streets, trolley, and others
City of Arts & Culture: I think that is a more “wish we were” type of title.
and Great American City: Pretty sure the smog levels have nothing to do with this title.