Enhanced Virtual Tour of Heritage House


 Introduction to Heritage House 


An elegant reminder of the affluent homes which once graced Magnolia Avenue in Riverside, California, Heritage House began as a project of the Riverside Museum Associates, a volunteer support group of the Riverside Metropolitan Museum.  Restored and maintained in a manner reflective of its nineteenth century construction, this grand house is now a meticulously researched example of historic tastes, values, and lifestyle.

This house was built for Mrs. Catharine Bettner, widow of Mr. James Bettner.   Mr. and Mrs. Bettner had settled in Riverside in the late 1870s, within a decade of the young community’s founding, Mr. Bettner, a lawyer and civil engineer in Yonkers, New York, had been diagnosed with Bright’s Disease, a kidney ailment, and came to southern California hoping that its healthful climate might prolong his life.

The Bettners purchased thirty-eight acres of land at the southwest corner of Indiana Avenue and Jefferson Street and planted it in citrus.  There, in 1880, they built a home.

The Bettner family quickly became prominent in their new community.  In 1882, James Bettner served as president of the Riverside Fruit Company, which built the city’s first packing house.  In 1883, he was one of the organizers of the Casa Blanca Tennis Club, the city’s first private recreational facility.  In the mid-1880s, Bettner oranges were among those which won awards at an exposition in New Orleans.

James Bettner died in 1888, at the age of 45, survived by his 45-year-old widow, Catharine, and two sons.  In early 1891, younger son Louis died of tuberculosis at age 22.  Then alone, Catharine deeded the family home to her married son, Robert, and set upon the construction of a new house.

Her motivations for building a new home were perhaps twofold.  First, the old house bore the sadness of a lost husband and son.  Second, she was determined to have a showplace.

Her new house was designed in the Queen Anne Victorian style by John A. Walls, of the prestigious Los Angeles firm of Morgan and Wall, and was located on Magnolia Avenue, then Riverside’s most scenic thoroughfare.  While still under construction, the Riverside Daily Press predicted that it would be one of the city’s most elegant houses.  The construction cost was $10,755.


  The Tour 

On behalf of the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, the Riverside Museum Associates and the staff of Heritage House, welcome to our "enhanced" virtual tour of Heritage House. We invite you step back in time to 1892 and visit Mrs. Bettner's new home.

It is going to be a warm spring day in May of 1892.  The vast, surrounding orchards of orange and other citrus trees lightly perfume the morning air, and the magnolia trees that line Magnolia Avenue add yet another scented layer to your carriage ride as you approach the home.

After you arrive and exit your carriage, you are standing in the main drive, as other guests of Mrs. Bettner arrive by way of their own horse-drawn carriage...


>>>Click Here to start your tour<<<


What makes this an "enhanced" tour is the use of "Spherical Panoramas" to display an entire room on your computer screen with just one image.  You control the view as you look up, down, left, right, zoom in and out. No special plug-ins are needed for you to see these interactive images, however, the following pages make extensive use of frames, Java and JavaScript. Most current browsers are able to view these pages.  However, if you have trouble, there is a help button at the bottom of every page.


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