:: Charles F. Connelly Collection

Introduction

The Charles F. Connelly Collection consists of news clippings, pamphlets, photos and personal papers related to Connelly’s professional career in the city of Riverside during the 1950s and 1960s. Connelly’s role in Riverside youth programs, political activities and particularly the city’s pistol range are topics researchers and library patrons will find useful.

The collection measures 0.25 linear feet and is contained in 1 box.

Biographical Note

The Riverside Rifle and Revolver Range opened for business on March 14th, 1958. The 27 acre site was located on Tequesquite Ave, south of Mount Rubidoux and operated under the City of Riverside with the guidance of its developer, Charles F. Connelly. It served the community and various agencies that used the range. Riverside Police, The National Guard, California Highway Patrol as well as the former March Air Force Base were regular users of the now defunct rifle and pistol range. In addition to providing a practice site for various law enforcement agencies, it was also regarded for its safety programs, which trained 2000 young girls and boys in proper operation and firing of guns. The state of the art facility was regarded as being “the best range in the West” by the National Rifle Association and received national recognition in rifle publications including American Rifleman and Field and Stream. The facility held several national rifle shoots including the Riverside Diamond Jubilee Shoot which commemorated its grand opening. Despite the positive accolades it received and community service it provided, disputes regarding the operation of the site between city departments led to the range’s ultimate demise. After six years of operation, the range was demolished and became a community waste disposal site.

Scope and Content

The Charles F. Connelly Collection has three series. Series I: Youth Center & Stage Production Activities comprises a moderate portion of the entire collection. It documents a ten year period between 1955 and 1965. Within Series I, there are three sub-series. Sub-series A has news and press related items contained to one folder (Folder 1). Sub-series B: Pamphlets, has two duplicate program guides contained to one folder (Folder 2) and Sub-series C comprises of photographs contained to one folder (Folder 3). Series II: Political Activities is the smallest of the three series and is limited to one folder (Folder 3) with no other sub-series. It features news and press related items documenting the Riverside mayor race in 1965. Series III: Rifle Range is held within ten folders and is the largest series in the collection. It dates to the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Series I: Youth Center & Stage Production Activities

Series I is comprised of newspaper articles, magazine clippings, pamphlets, and photographs related to Connelly’s youth center and theatrical activities. The newspaper articles are maintained as copies of the original article and are in good condition. The series contains news items on theater productions Connelly oversaw as producer as well as his plans to develop a youth center in Riverside, which would focus on the needs of teenagers and young adults. This is contained within Folder I, within sub-series A: News & Press. Connelly directed a locally publicized production titled, “Cavalcade of American Youth,” which is exhibited through a program guide in sub-series B, Folder II. Sub-series C contains photographs of various stage productions he directed as well as stage craft construction for those respective plays. One drawback to the preservation of this particular series, and much of the Connelly collection, is that some of the items have been mounted with tape/glue onto colored paper.

Sub-Series A: News & Press

Folder 1, Item 1: Youth Center-Daily Press Article

Folder 1, Item 2: Youth Center-Daily Press Article: 7/13/55

Folder 1, Item 3: Youth Center-Daily Press Article

Folder 1, Item 4: Youth Center-Daily Press Article: 7/19/55

Folder 1, Item 5: Cavalcade of American Youth-Daily Press Article: 11/1/55

Folder 1, Item 6: Cavalcade of American Youth-Daily Press Article: 12/1/55

Folder 1, Item 7: Cavalcade of American Youth-Daily Press Article: 12/10/55

Folder 1, Item 8: Manon Lescaut Production Clipping

Sub-Series B: Pamphlets

Folder 2, Item 1: Cavalcade of American Youth (2)

Sub-Series C: Photos

Folder 3, Item 1: Indian Dancers

Folder 3, Item 2: Theatrical Dancers

Folder 3, Item 3: Indian Dancers

Folder 3, Item 4: Stage Craft Class

Folder 3, Item 5: 1st Children’s Theatre Production

Folder 3, Item 6: Female Dancers

Series II: Political Activities

Series II encompasses newspaper articles related to the Riverside mayor campaign in which Connelly was one of nine candidates.

Sub-Series A: News & Press

Folder 1, Item 1: Need for New Master Plan-Daily Press Article

Folder 1, Item 2: Connelly Fires Campaign Blasts-Daily Press Article

Folder 1, Item 3: Candidate for Mayor Gives His Platform-Daily Press Article

Folder 1, Item 4: Mayor Candidates Fire Blasts at Each Other-Daily Press Article

Series III: Rifle Range

The bulk of the Charles F. Connelly Collection is maintained in Series III, Rifle Range, which provides information on the Riverside Rifle and Revolver Range that operated during the late 1950s to early 1960s. Much of the series is comprised of photographs with the other items in the collection consisting of newspaper articles, personal papers, and a miscellaneous item. The newspaper items are copies of the original printed on archival paper. Most of the photographs display wear in the form of dirt, markings, small tears, and slightly bent corners. Many photos display outer areas where the top layer featuring the image is chipped or torn away, revealing the white image paper. A few of the images are damaged due to the attachment of pieces of paper to the photographs by some form of adhesive. Most of the paper was removed from the photographs, but some still remain stuck to the images.

The newspaper articles detail the development and construction of the range, national recognition through magazine publications as well as the controversial initiatives propagated between Riverside Parks and Recreation and the Sportsmen Park Association leading to the range’s ultimate demise. The photographs encompassing Sub-series B and folders II-VI document the construction, opening and operation of the range. The third Sub-series, C, consists of the reports and personal observations made by Connelly documenting the history of the range and disagreements in regards to the cost and appropriate operation of the site. The last item in Sub-series C: Miscellaneous, features a National Rifle Association certificate.

Sub-Series A: News & Press

Folder 1, Item 1: Second Community Job Completed by Riverside Chapter - Daily Press Article

Folder 1, Item 2: The Right Start - Magazine Article

Folder 1, Item 3: Partial Rifle Range Article - May 1959

Folder 1, Item 4: Sponsors of Rifle Range Defend Operation - Daily Press Article

Folder 1, Item 5: Off Beat - Daily Press Article

Sub-Series B: Photographs

Folder 2, Item 1: Riverside Sportsmen’s Park

Folder 2, Item 2: Young Boys Taking Lessons.

Folder 2, Item 3: Working with Bullet Targets

Folder 2, Item 4: View of Rifle Range

Folder 2, Item 5: Boy & Dad

Folder 3, Item 1: Riverside Rifle & Revolver Range Grand Opening

Folder 3, Item 2: Group Photo

Folder 3, Item 3: Men Firing on Range

Folder 3, Item 4: Young Boys Practicing

Folder 3, Item 5: Cars Parked Before Range

Folder 4, Item 1: Field Under Construction

Folder 4, Item 2: Overhead View of Range

Folder 4, Item 3: Men Firing into Range

Folder 4, Item 4: Heavy Equipment on the Range (2)

Folder 5, Item 1: View of Empty Range.

Folder 5, Item 2: Construction Photo

Folder 5, Item 3: Aerial View

Folder 5, Item 4: Diamond Jubilee Shoot

Folder 5, Item 5: Ceremony Photo

Folder 6, Item 1: Aerial Photo

Folder 6, Item 2: Boy & Dad

Folder 6, Item 3: Heavy Equipment on the Range

Folder 6, Item 4: Group Looking Out at Range

Folder 6, Item 5: Ceremony Photo

Sub-Series C: Personal Papers

Folder 7, Item 1: Rifle Range Papers

Folder 7, Item 2: Meeting at Grant School Auditorium Flyer

Folder 8, Item 1: Report on the Riverside Rifle and Pistol Range Part A

Folder 9, Item 1: Report on the Riverside Rifle and Pistol Range Part B

Folder 10, Item 1: National Rifle Association Certificate

References

Biographical information and facts about the rifle range obtained from articles within the collection. Detailed information on the rifle range extracted from Riverside Daily Press, March 13, 1958 B3.

Headings

Collection processed by Laurian Douthett

Local History