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    You will never hear me refer to my home town area as the INLAND EMPIRE, except maybe in TUBACHRISTMAS publicity...

    Special Things About the Riverside-San Bernardino area

    How the Arrowhead looked in the 1880s!  The white building at the bottom is on the site of the Arrowhead Springs Hotel (Campus Crusade Convention Center).  I seem to remember that this building burned down maybe 50 years after this picture was taken.

    The Arrowhead  It's not too prominent now, but just above the city of San Bernardino, pointing to Arrowhead Spings (source from which the Arrowhead Water Company gets its product and former site of the Campus Crusade for Christ International headquarters) is a strange marking on the ground which looks like a big arrowhead pointing downwards to the spring.  In the past people thought it was artificial and tried to get rid of it but it only came back more pronounced.  The soil, vegetation, and everything else about the area surrounding the Arrowhead are different from everything around it.

    It's nice to live in the lap of cultural luxury with this three screened drive-in theater less than a mile from my house!

    Drive-In Movies  I am so fortunate to live in one of the few places in the country which has a few drive-in movie theaters.  Here in Riverside, we have the Rubidoux Cinema 3 and the Van Buren Drive-In.  Down the road, in Montclair, there is the Mission Drive-In.  It's great.  You can see a double feature for a little less than half the price of a single feature at a regular theater.  You can bring your own food and drinks and no one cares.  Your kids can dress in their pajamas.  While drive-ins may have a less than noble reputation as "passion pits" for the promiscuous, chances are the only immoral acts you see are those on the screen!

    Fairmount Park  Named for the other Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, this one is the largest park in Riverside.  When I was growing up in the area there were so many activities to keep a family happy: Evans Lake (with boats for rent); lawn bowling; a small amusement park; a huge playground; a small grocery store; and ducks to feed.  During the 1970s and the '80s the park went into great disrepair.  The boathouse which housed the rental boats was razed and many other things were gone.  About all there was left to do was feed the ducks.  Well, the boathouse is back and maybe the park will be the way I remember it for my grandchildren.

    How the Fox Theater looked in 1935.

    The Fox Theater at the corner of Seventh Street (now Mission Inn Avenue) and Market Street in Downtown Riverside  Trivia question: Where did the movies the Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind have their world premieres?  These movies had their first public showings at the old Fox Theater in Downtown Riverside.  The premieres were never announced.  These were usually shown on a Saturday night after the last regular show.  The manager would get up and explain that a new movie would receive a "sneak preview" and everyone was invited to stay and see it for no extra charge.  The movies usually weren't quite finished yet.  Sometimes these movies were shown without music. It was a little test by the movie companies to see how well the pictures would do in a hick town, which is what Riverside was considered back in those days.  The Fox hasn't shown any movies for about five years.  The last movies which were shown there were in Spanish from Mexico.  Early in 2001 a millionaire bought the theater and promised to do good things with it.  I was hoping to be able to see movies of the past there.  I think with some of the immoral stuff that comes from Hollywood which passes for entertainment, we need to know that it wasn't always that way!  Alas, I was driving home from class at Chapman one night and noticed the poor theater is again for sale.  Does anyone want to buy a beautiful old movie theater for about $1,000,000?

    In 'n' Out  You have probably either heard of this chain or seen some of their advertising (in the form of bumper stickers or license plate frames; my car in Indonesia had an In 'n' Out bumper sticker on it).  In 'n' Out is what McDonald's used to be before Ray Kroc discovered them in San Bernardino.  In 'n' Out only sells burgers, fries, drinks, and souvenirs (t-shirts, jackets, etc.)  Nothing is frozen.  The potatoes to make the fries are even prepared in the store.  The Double-Double, a burger with two huge beef patties and two big slices of cheese, is the chains specialty.  Ask about the underground menu of things which must be asked for.  Well, actually, they're variations on the written list.  Like a protein burger (no bread, the burger is wrapped in fresh lettuce!)  Or a grilled cheese sandwich, made by ordering a cheeseburger without meat!  In 'n' Out goes as far north as Sacramento and as far east as Lake Havasu City, Arizona (there are also a couple of stores in Las Vegas, Nevada.)

    The original building was demolished about 20 years ago.  The present structure was erected for a music store (Lopez Music House) which occupied the spot after Mickey D's left.

    McDonald's Original Site  Don't believe all that mullarkey about Ray Kroc being the founder of McDonald's!  It started in San Bernardino, a couple of blocks down from San Bernardino High School on North "E" Street.  The thing that made McDonald's so good then was what makes In 'n' Out so great now: It's a simple menu of hamburgers, fries, and drinks with nothing else to bog everything down (ever wonder why McDonald's guarantees the speed of its service in the drive-thru but not in the lobby?  I do.)  Kroc sold a milkshake machine to Dick and Mac McDonald (who's Ronald?) in 1953 and he was so impressed with the operation that he bought the rights to the name.  This original site of McDonald's isn't even operated by the McDonald's chain and they serve no burgers.  It is a museum owned by a rival fast food chain, Juan Pollo, which specializes in Mexican style roasted chicken.

    By the time this Easter Sunrise Service was being held in 1913, it was a usual annual event for the folks here in Riverside!

    Mount Rubidoux  This is a tiny mountain located to the east of the Santa Ana River, off old U.S. Hwy. 60, inside the Riverside city limits.  This was the site where, in 1911, the very first Easter sunrise service was held, predating the first such service at the Hollywood Bowl by a couple of years.  It's a favorite climbing spot, although it is off limits to the public for most of the summer due to fire danger. Incidentally, Rubidoux is a misnamed locality (just to the west of this mountain is the unincorporated section of Riverside known as Rubidoux, where this writer lives).  Louis Robidoux (pronounced RO-bee-doo) had a ranch here in the nineteenth century.  A few years later the Southern Pacific Railway Company decided to name the district after him, but a couple of the letters got mixed up and it became Rubidoux (pronounced ROO-bi-doe).

    Honor Guard of the Veterans of Foreign Wars at the ceremony which placed an American flag at the top of Mount Slover

    Mount Slover  I grew up across the freeway from this huge monstrosity.  It gets its name from an early gringo settler named Isaac "Cristobal" Slover who married a local girl and settled on the present site of Agua Mansa Cemetery (near the corner of Riverside Avenue and Agua Mansa Road where Rialto and Colton meet).  Slover was killed by a Grizzly bear near the top of the mountain to bear his name in 1842.  He was buried under a young pepper tree, which now overwhelms the cemetery.  About 100 years ago they began to dig for the components of concrete from Mount Slover.  Colton High School is located within 1000 yards of the mountain.  On warm days it was fairly common to be distracted by heavy dynamite blasting. (Classroom doors had to be opened wide as there was no air conditioning in most of the school.)  Today Mount Slover is a useless rock pit with a huge American flag sticking up out of it.

    The engineer couldn't wait for his sandwich! (Philippe's is across from Union Station.)

    Philippe's  OK, so it's not in Riverside or San Bernardino, but it's easy to get to.  Philippe's claims to be the originator of the French dipped sandwich.  They take Italian bread and rip in lengthwise in half.  Then they take some roast meat (pork, beef, lamb, ham, or turkey) and soak the cut part of the bread in the meat drippings (that's the dip), then put the meat in it.  Located in the Chinatown section of Los Angeles, it's easy to get there (and there's free parking to boot, a rare find in Downtown Los Angeles!)  Be careful about spreading the house mustard on your sandwich!  It seems to be a cross between Dijon mustard and wasabi.  Rumor has it that Earl Scheib used this stuff as a stripper prior to priming for his $29.95 paint jobs!

    Last updated July 27, 2001