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Riverside Latino Context

Latino GirlsRiverside is home to one of the oldest, most cohesive Latino communities in California. Across generations, this community was built by pioneering immigrants, migrant workers and entrepreneurs, community organizers and civil rights leaders, teachers and artists, business owners and volunteers. For well over a century, the Latino community in Riverside has made a vital, immeasurable contribution to the City’s growth and prosperity.

In this way, the history of Riverside’s Latino community is the history of Riverside itself. From the era of the Spanish-language settlements at Agua Mansa and La Placita, to the influx of settlers who helped build the transcontinental railroad and citrus industry, fought for their country in two World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam, to those who raised families in an era of segregation and discrimination, Latinos in Riverside built a community that has endured for over a century.

Although the history of Riverside’s ethnic communities “runs as deep as the urban fabric of the City itself,”  few studies have as yet been completed that focus on Latino heritage and related resources. The Riverside Latino Historic Context Statement represents an initial point-of-departure for characterizing the City’s Latino history and identifying the themes that have been significant in the community’s history. The themes of significance, property types, and eligibility standards identified in this study offer a framework for future evaluations of properties associated with the Latino community.



The City of Riverside Historic Preservation Team would like to thank Debi Howell-Ardila, Senior Architectural Historian for Rincon Consultants, Inc., for her exhaustive effort in completing this Historic Context Statement. Through her efforts the history of Riverside’s Latino Community is better understood. We would also like to thank member of the community that supported the project. We would specifically like to thank. Ms. Linda Salinas-Thompson, founder of the Riverside County Mexican-American Historical Society. For over a decade, Ms. Salinas-Thompson has conducted research, collected interviews, and compiled a range of historic documents on the Mexican-American experience in Riverside. Without her assistance, this project would not have been possible. ;