In 1886, the Gage Canal - which brought water from the Santa Ana River - was completed, making possible the first town-lot addition to the original Riverside townsite. The 100-acre White's addition, the oldest part of the Eastside neighborhood, was established in 1887 and was originally served by underground pipes carrying water from the Gage Canal system.
Riverside's Eastside neighborhood is steeped in history. It runs over with the stories of families, both African American and Mexican American, who came to this city looking for a better life for themselves and their offspring. It offered opportunities to families excluded from the dominant culture to own homes and raise children. It gave enterprising individuals the chance to start small businesses, providing services to the community. Much of the historic housing stock remains in the hands of descendants of the original pioneers, and the well-kept streets and gardens reflect this pride of ownership visible there.
Eastside is one of Riverside’s older and larger residential neighborhoods and has been a part of the city since its foundation. The vast majority of the neighborhood area is devoted to residential uses, with commercial uses concentrated along University Avenue. The shops along the avenue are those that focus on meeting the needs of the ethnically diverse local community. These neighborhood businesses have been working with the City over the past few years in programs to revitalize the region.
The homes of Eastside are products of the gradual building in the first half of this century and the post-war boom. Large-scale development stopped in the late 1950’s and few homes have been constructed since, primarily because nearly all available is already developed.
Eastside does not have the rolling terrain of its surrounding neighborhoods. The Tequesquite arroyo marks the southern edge of the community, with the normally flat land dropping off into the small stream valley. This arroyo provides a unique open area and is home to the Victoria Country Club, a private recreation area that offers golfing and tennis.
The Riverside Marketplace serves as a western anchor for this region. The Marketplace is developing into a major center offering commerce, entertainment and transportation, but faces competition from neighboring Downtown.