Housing & Neighborhoods
:: Northside Neighborhood

NeighborhoodsMore than half of Northside was part of the original city boundaries of Riverside, and it is the city’s oldest residential neighborhood. The other portions have been added in four annexations from 1960 to 1993.

The region is only about half developed, and land use is an even mix between light industry and residential. Some of the oldest homes can be found in this neighborhood, as can some of the newest businesses. There is an interesting mix of traditional and modern street layouts, and the housing design and architecture also offers some interesting contrasts. The western boundary of Northside is the Santa Ana river basin, and Fairmount Park marks the southern edge.

Northside has a strong tradition of neighborhood activism with its Northside Improvement Association serving to bring together and better this portion of the city. The Northside Neighborhood Association, the oldest such association in the City, was founded in 1912 and has been a driving force in guiding development in this area of the City.

Northside was once home to a natural sulfur spring that was believed to have curative powers. Pioneer Riversiders found Indian artifacts at the small sulfur spring, suggesting that belief in its healing power pre-existed Anglo settlement. Dr. James Greves, co-founder of Riverside, is rumored to have owned the land but did nothing commercial with it.

In 1886, William Elliot purchased the site, located just east of Strong and Main Streets, and drilled a 370-foot well to increase the water flow. He then installed a pool and an elaborate bathhouse. Early Hollywood used the pool for swimming scenes because of the clarity of the water. Both Houdini and Buster Keaton acted in movie scenes utilizing this pool. The pool and bathhouse changed names and ownership several times and closed in 1950 when the sulfur spring ran dry, most likely due to Elliot’s original drilling to increase the water flow. It was revived briefly in 1960, this time without the sulfur water, but reclosed before the turn of 1961. The pool and bathhouse still remain but are in a state of disrepair.

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