California Citrus State Historic Park
Narrated by Russ Christoff

The City of Riverside was throwing a big bash, the weekend I visited California Citrus State Historic Park. The 101st Annual Orange Blossom Festival had drawn folks from all over to participate in the fun.

This 180 acre state park is situated on land that is considered to be the finest Navel Orange growing region in the world. It's mission is to preserve the history surrounding the citrus industry, that forever changed the area we now know as Southern California.

The park buildings were constructed recently and reflect the popular bungalow style of the early 1900's.

These structures are the perfect setting, for a once a year festival event that was in full swing when I arrived.

After a delicious pancake breakfast prepared by volunteers of the uptown Kiwanis Club, I talked to the mayor of Riverside, Ron Loveridge, about the importance of this park to his city.

Ron Loveridge:
Well this weekend we have something in the order of 200,000 people coming to our city downtown. But in many ways, the center of our past, the center of this celebration is this park, the California Citrus State Historic park.

Russ Christoff:
On that day, a fine display of antique cars was available to view in the parking lot.

While nearby in a small farmer's market area, crafts people were setting up shops for the day.

The ranger Don talked about the park.

What is the significance of this park? Why was the park established on this particular site?

Ranger Don:
It was primarily to preserve the vanishing citrus landscape. The trees, the oranges and that sort of thing that played such an important role in people moving to Southern California from the east coast, to take part in the industry which had so many impacts. Because at one time here in the city of Riverside, there was 20,000 acres of citrus in the city of Riverside.

Russ Christoff:
Twenty thousand acres?

Ranger Don:
Yes, 20,000 acres within the city limits. So now, because of the rapid development and things like that, it's only a few thousand. One hundred and fifty-eight of which is here in the park. We have Valencia, Navels and Washington Navels growing right here in the park.