:: The Out-door Esthetic Committee Minutes

Introduction

The Out-door Esthetic Committee (later renamed the City Beautification Committee) Minutes collection covers the time period from 1913 to 1915. The entire collection consists of one record book, with meeting minutes and newspaper articles. The collection was a gift from Tom Patterson in 1962.

Items of particular interest are: the Oath of Athenian Youth on the letterhead of the Law Offices of Benshoof & Ellis, a recommendation letter submitted by Charles L. Reynolds, 2 Jan. 1914, and the membership roll of 27 prominent community personalities. The collection gives a brief, but clear, understanding of the committee's priorities and reflection of the time period.

Researchers doing work in this area will find additional information in The Citizens Plan and Act in Riverside, a local publication from 1955.

The Out-door Esthetic Committee Minutes collection is housed in 1 box and is approximately .5 linear feet.

Biographical Notes

The apparent need to present Riverside as the most beautiful city spawned the creation of the Out-door Esthetic Committee. The name of the organization was later changed to the City Beautification Committee in February 1914. In 1913 they resolved to accomplish 8 major points. They included, requesting that the city council amend the ordinance concerning vacant lots and unsightly advertising.

Most of the committee's crusades involved persuading property owners to keep yards free of weeds, dead grass, and rubbish. Another aspect of the committee's work was addressing owners of unimproved properties and requesting them to have front parking spaces cleaned and kept clear of weeds and dry grass. Residents were also encouraged to put in lawns.

They divided the city into "convenient sections" with an auxiliary committee in each. The group proposed tree plantings in Main Riverside under the supervision of the Tree Warden, John Henry Reed. They also made tours of the streets, commending the most beautiful properties and noting with photographic documentation those areas in need of improvement. To date, whatever photographs were taken have not surfaced.

The adoption of the city flower, the Dimorphanteca Aurantiaca or "Peace Flower" seemed to take precedence over other issues for a while. That concern was soon replaced by the distribution of 5,000 rose bushes and planting of the 10,000 chrysanthemum slips grown by the Polytechnic High School agriculture class, the Clean-up parade, and formation of the Brockton Square Civic Improvement Society.

Scope and Content

The entire collection consists of one record book containing the Out-door Esthetic Committee meeting minutes from 13 March 1913 to 20 May 1915. The minutes book is approximately 57 pages in length and contains 53 related newspaper articles dated 14 October 1913 to 7 December 1914.

Series Description

This collection is in chronological order, starting in March 1913 through May 1915. As the series only contains one record book of 121 pages, it can be reviewed with relative ease. At this point, minor preservation steps have been taken and acid free paper has been inserted into the collection (where there are newspaper records) to prevent further deterioration. There are approximately 57 pages of committee minutes, beginning on 13 March 1913 and ending on 20 May 1915. Newspapers articles begin with 14 October 1913 and end 7 December 1914. The Main Tour Itinerary consists of points of interest and areas in need of improvement.

Series I - Outdoor Esthetic Committee Minutes

Folder 1, Record Book, 1913-1915

Related Collections

John Henry Reed Collection
Riverside Woman's Club Records

References

The Citizens Plan and Act in Riverside. Riverside, California. 1955.

Riverside City Planning Commission. Recreation, Civic Center, and Regional Plan: Riverside, California. (Riverside: Planning Commission, 1929)

Local History