In December 1878, 26-year-old Henry Benedict Lockwood and his mother, Ms. LeGrand Lockwood, moved into their new white-plastered adobe home. They called it Casa Blanca, for “white house.” The property was elaborately landscaped and so remarkable that the general area soon became known as Casa Blanca. In 1889, S.C. Evans filed a subdivision nearby which he called “Map of the Village of Casa Blanca.” The village still exists today as a distinct Riverside neighborhood. Casa Blanca is a family-oriented, strong-knit and largely residential neighborhood.
The neighborhood features many single-family homes of early twentieth century architectural styles, particularly California Bungalow. The homes surround the neighborhood’s central recreational feature, Villegas Park and the Ysmael Villegas Center. A mix of residential, institutional and neighborhood serving commercial uses are located along Madison Street which runs through the middle of the neighborhood. Located along Indiana Avenue and Jefferson Street, at the edges of the neighborhood, is a mix of commercial and industrial development.
Residents of this neighborhood have historically been active with several community organizations, leading to the creation of one of the City’s first Community Plans in 1974. The Community Plan set forth a series of land use, economic development, and social goals and objectives for the neighborhood.
Casa Blanca’s residents and the City worked to enrich the neighborhood with public facilities. The Casa Blanca Library offers a Family Learning Center, a computer lab and more than 43,000 books, video tapes and CDs, as well as the largest Spanish language collection in the City library system. It is also used as a Riverside Community College extension campus. Recreational opportunities are provided at Villegas Park and Pool, and the Ysmael Villegas Community Center.
The Kathleen Gonzales Memorial Water-Wise Garden located at the library provides water-saving ideas that customers can incorporate into landscape design and gardening practices in their own homes. It is an educational exhibit displaying plants that can be purchased locally and examples of water saving techniques. The Riverside Public Utilities Resource Center is also conveniently located on Madison Street near the library and garden.