The Eastside Neighborhood is one of Riverside’s oldest and largest residential neighborhoods and has been a part of the City since its founding in 1870. It is nestled in the heart of the eastern portion of the City of Riverside, between the bustling center of Downtown to the west, the active employment center of Hunter Industrial Park to the north, the University neighborhood/University of California, Riverside, to the east, and the Tequesquite Arroyo and Victoria Club Golf Course to the south. In the early part of the 20th Century, many workers in Riverside’s booming citrus industry resided in the Eastside neighborhood. Families who are descendants of these original Eastside residents still live in the Eastside today. The neighborhood remains largely residential with most homes built prior to the 1950’s.
The Eastside features a number of important historic landmarks. North Park, located at Mission Inn Avenue and Vine Streets, was the site of the home of John W. North, the organizer of Riverside’s first cooperative development and considered the “founder” of Riverside. The Union Pacific Depot building, built in 1904, is an outstanding example of the Mission Revival style architecture that served as a model for other train stations across the west. The building has been well preserved and is now occupied by the Coffee Depot. The current Cesar Chavez Community Center and Bobby Bonds Park occupy the building and site of the former University Heights Junior High School, built in 1928 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
With the 1957 opening of the Riverside International Raceway in what is now Moreno Valley, many of the restaurants, motels, car washes and service stations found along University Avenue today, were established to serve the many travelers visiting the area. A variety of retail businesses concentrated along University Avenue still provide services that meet the needs of this ethnically diverse local community. The Riverside Marketplace area is located at the westernmost portion of the neighborhood next to the Riverside (91) Freeway. Many buildings in the Marketplace, such as the Food Manufacturing Corporation (FMC) building with its distinctive saw-tooth roof-line, are reminders of the once vibrant citrus industry and illustrate the significance that citrus packing once had in Riverside’s past. Located within the Marketplace at Vine Street just north of 14th Street, the Downtown Metrolink Station conveniently serves local Eastside residents as well as many other commuters within the City. More recently, offices, retail and restaurants, such as Sevilla and the Spaghetti Factory, have located in the Marketplace close to Downtown.
The Eastside neighborhood has many fine schools and public facilities. Emerson and Longfellow Elementary Schools and Lincoln Continuation School are within this neighborhood. The recently renovated Bobby Bonds Park/Sports Complex provides a wide array of recreational activities including football, soccer, baseball, basketball, swimming and skateboarding. The park includes the Sippy Woodhead Pool, the Youth Opportunity Center, Cesar Chavez Community Center and the recent addition of a skateboard park, and a new football/soccer field with artificial turf. The neighborhood has many other recreational facilities including Lincoln Park and Lincoln Community Center; Dario Vasquez Park, Bordwell Park with the recently renovated Stratton Community Center and North Park and picnic area. The Eastside Cybrary located in the Town Square shopping center at Chicago and University Avenues provides free computer training, information, literacy and Internet access to children and families.