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Riverside City, California (U.S.)

Riverside County

Last modified: 2021-01-02 by rick wyatt
Keywords: riverside city | california | raincross | rubidoux | riverside county |
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[flag of Riverside City, California] image by Masao Okazaki, 11 December 2020

See also:

2020 Flag

Riverside has adopted a new flag:

"The new flag has a large gold bell and raincross floating on a dominant navy blue background.

Next to that backdrop is a wavy, power blue line that symbolizes the Santa Ana River, Lauruhn said Wednesday, Dec. 9. And there is a wavy gold line that he said represents the prominent hills around the city, among them Mount Rubidoux and Box Springs Mountain."

Riverside hopes new blue-and-gold city flag will bring ‘pride’ – Press Enterprise
The new flag has a large gold bell and raincross floating on a dominant Navy blue background. Next to that backdrop is a wavy, power blue line that symbolizes the Santa Ana River, Lauruhn said.

The presentation from the City Council meeting: features two other proposals.
Masao Okazaki, 11 December 2020

Previous Flag

[flag of Riverside City, California] 5:8 image(s) by permission of David B. Martucci
image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright.

Text and image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) from American City Flags by permission of David B. Martucci.


The field of Riverside’s flag is divided horizontally, gold over blue. In the center of the flag is the city’s logo, 7.5 units in diameter on a field of 10 by 16 units. The outer ring of the logo is edged in blue. The field within the ring is white and has a width of one unit. Curved clockwise above is RIVERSIDE, below, counterclockwise, is CALIFORNIA, all in blue. In the logo’s center, blue on a white field, is a symbol described as a Native American “rain cross”, a trapezoidal figure surmounted by a double cross. The sides of the rain cross, which cross each other at their junctions, are 3 units, as is the top; the bottom side is 4 units. Within the rain cross is a bell, 1.5 units from its top to the bottom of the clapper, suspended from the top side.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


The bell and rain cross are taken from “the world-famous collection of the Mission Inn”, according to the city’s publications. The bell recalls the many missions of the Spanish missionaries along El Camino Real in early California; the rain cross recalls the Native Americans who were the first to live in what is today Riverside.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


By recommendation of the chamber of commerce.
Flag adopted: 17 January 1967 (official).
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


Charles L. Bridges, Chairman of the Mayor’s Conference on Civic Beauty.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

After the flag’s design was adopted, the city ordered 16 flags to fly at various sites around the city, and two flags of rayon taffeta with a white fringe for indoor use.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

The flag of the City of Riverside, California, flies at the City Hall. The city was founded in 1870 by John North and a group of Easterners who wished to establish a colony dedicated to furthering education and culture. Riverside was built on land that was once a Spanish rancho. Investors from England and Canada transplanted traditions and activities adopted by prosperous citizens: the first golf course and polo field in Southern California were build in Riverside. The first orange trees were planted in 1871, but the citrus industry Riverside is famous for began two years later when Eliza Tibbets received two Brazilian navel orange trees sent to her by a friend at the Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC. The trees thrived in the Southern California climate and the navel orange industry grew rapidly.

As the city prospered, a small guest hotel designed in the popular Mission Revival style grew to become the world famous Mission Inn, favored by presidents, royalty and movie stars. Postcards of lush orange groves, swimming pools and magnificent homes have attracted vacationers and entrepreneurs throughout the years. Many relocated to the warm, dry climate for reasons of health and to escape Eastern and European winters. Victoria Avenue with its landmark homes serves as a reminder of European and Canadian investors who settled here. The Civic Center (1924) was designed by the same planner responsible for San Francisco's, Charles Cheney.

The unique City Raincross Symbol is derived from combining a replica of the mass bell used by Father Junipero Serra, missionary priest and founder of the California Missions' chain, and the cross to which the Navajos and Central American Indians prayed for rain. The "Raincross" is used extensively throughout Riverside in its architecture and ornamentation and is on the City flag. The raincross symbol was designed for the Mission Inn and given to the city by the hotel's owner, Cpt Christopher Columbus Miller, and has been identified with Riverside since 1907.
Chris Kretowicz, 25 November 2002

The seal

[City seal] image located by Paul Bassinson, 30 May 2019


Raincross Symbol

[Raincross symbol of Riverside City, California] image by Chris Kretowicz

Former Flag

[Riverside, California] image(s) by permission of David B. Martucci
image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright.

On 22 November 1966, barely two months before adopting the current city flag, the city council had approved a similar flag in the same colors with a modified version of the city seal, but apparently it was never used. The city seal is shaped somewhat like a shield, so that, ironically, the logo looks more like the traditional seal than the seal itself. The top of the seal curves upward. Following the same curve, immediately below it is INCORPORATED 1883 in blue on white. Below that legend, and forming the top of an “inner shield”, is what appears to be the Native Americans rain bird, in gold. On a blue field below the rain bird are three figures: On the hoist side is a branch of three oranges; in the center, what appears to be a bundle of rods (the Roman fasces, or symbol of authority); and on the fly side a cornucopia curved over two small figures, all in gold. At the bottom of the “outer” shield is CITY OF, in blue on white. Across the lower stripe is RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA, in gold on blue. (Seal colors reconstructed.)
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003 

Rubidoux Village

[Rubidoux, California] image by Chris Kretowicz

The logo shows Mount Rubidoux, a park with the gigantic cross, the valley, and the mighty Santa Ana River. The legend says: "California's First Community Services - 1952"
Chris Kretowicz, 26 November 2002

The only flag in use in the Village of Rubidoux, California, but first, a bit of background:
Long before Europeans and their descendants enter the area, this land was occupied by several Indian tribes, including the Sarranos, the Luisenos, the Cupenos, the Chemehuevi, and the Cahuillas. One of the first Caucasians to travel through this area was Cpt. Juan Bautista de Anza, who led an overland expedition in the autumn of 1774. He and the group of 34 Spanish soldiers came from Arizona looking for a good land route to the riches of California. After the dry and arid desert they had crossed, they came atop a mountain range to look down on a beautiful area they called "Valle de Paraiso - Valley of Paradise". On January 1, 1776, the first party of colonists to come overland to the Pacific coast crossed the Santa Ana River and camped here. Recruited in the presidios of Sonoma, Mexico, and led by Lt. Col. de Anza, who had established the trail only two years earlier, this humble and historic band of 242 men, women and children continued north to found San Francisco. In the late 18th century, the Spanish mission fathers of San Gabriel, San Juan Capistrano and San Luis Rey began colonizing the land and gradually used the interior valley (in what is now Western Riverside County) for raising grain and cattle. During this period, Spain claimed all of California and Mexico. In 1822, Mexico successfully revolted against Spain and California came under Mexican jurisdiction. The missions and their land were secularized in 1834 and the land was transferred as 'grants' to Californians who were citizens of Mexico.

The first grant in what is now Riverside County was given to Juan Bandini in 1838. His area was called El Rancho Jurupa. His daughter married a man named Abel Stearns. Her father gave him a great portion of the rancho. Another portion of the land not owned by Stearns was later sold to the French-Canadian adventurer and businessman, Louis Robidoux (the spelling is now accepted as Rubidoux). Louis and all the other ranchers were successful with their business and ruled the area. In 1846, Louis Robidoux built the first grist mill in the region and established a robust winery. The mill provided flour, a popular but scarce commodity, for settlers and American troops. The mill was washed away by a flood in 1862. In 1856 the first adobe schoolhouse was built. Charles Hardy, an Englishman from Australia became the first official teacher  on the Jurupa Ranch in that school in addition of being a private tutor of Robidoux children (at $15 a month). After Lois Robidoux's passing in 1868 the rancho was sold to Louis Prevost, another French-Canadian. He was raising silkworms and formed a silk-growing colony. After his death in 1870, John North purchased the rancho with high ideals for his new colony: a place where people could have good education and culture. He spent much of his own fortune to make his dream possible. As much of the surrounding area, this new area was built on land that was under Spanish rule and ownership, European influences were introduced and the best of both cultures were mixed together. John North wanted to name the city he founded in 1870 Jurupa, but others disagreed  and it was renamed Riverside.

The land West of the city, where Louis Robidoux built his original home, remained rural up to the 1950s as the Village of Rubidoux. It was annexed by the City of Riverside in 1952 and the rapid residential development began, especially on the picturesque hillsides. The village is a home to the world famous Rubidoux Drive-In movie theater which was opened in 1952 and still operates today.
Chris Kretowicz, 26 November 2002