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  • Writer's pictureCrystal Coleman

Riverside Style: Mission Revival

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

4471 4th st. Sold by Famous Properties

In honor of our latest closing on 4471 4th st in Riverside, I would like to explore an architectural style that has had a significant impact on the landscape of our city, and that's Mission Revival. This style of architecture, which emerged in the late 19th century, was heavily influenced by the Spanish Colonial missions that dotted the California landscape. In the early 20th century, Mission Revival architecture became increasingly popular in Riverside, with more and more buildings being constructed in this style. From grand homes to schools to banks, the city began to take shape with the influence of this architectural style. It was like a Mission Revival takeover!

However, as the century progressed, a new trend emerged, and modern architecture began to take over. This led to a decline in the popularity of Mission Revival. But in recent years, there has been a renewed interest in this style, with architects and designers embracing its timeless beauty once again. It's like Mission Revival's comeback tour!

But where did this style originate from? First, lets turn back the clock to 1769 the year the first Mission was established in San Diego by the Spanish settlers. For the next 54 years 21 Spanish Missions would scatter its way up our golden state. These Missions represent some of the oldest California architecture to date. Fast forward to 1865 just after the California Gold Rush, interest and desire to travel to California was at an all-time high, but up until that point traveling to the west was arduous and even deadly. Thanks to the transcontinental Railway, the first railroad that linked California to the rest of the country, travelers could now safely visit the Golden State.

Around that same time architecturally was the “Revival” movement. An aesthetic that looked back and focused mostly on the great neo classical styles of Old World Europe such as Georgian. As this movement swept over the east coast, the Wild West looked for inspiration in its Hispanic heritage. 100 years after the first Mission, there was a push to preserve and restore the

then crumbling historic structures. The style was adopted by both the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe Railways for train stations, resort hotels, and other rail corridor buildings, essentially as an effort to “theme” the Southwest for eastern travelers. The style includes mission-shaped dormers and/or roof parapet; wide, overhanging eaves with exposed rafter beams, red-tiled roof, stucco walls, and arched windows or doors on the ground level.

The turn of the century was a melting pot of many architectural influences, one of the largest at this time was the Arts and Crafts movement which swept over southern California in the shape of Craftsman Bungalows, primary inspired by the work of the Greene brothers who practiced in Pasadena from 1893 to 1914. The Arts and Crafts movement was not about a particular style or set of design requirements but focused on the lost art of age-old skills in furniture making, woodworking and construction, a return to natural materials, craftsmanship, and a truer design aesthetic. Mission style adopted this philosophy and incorporated well-crafted inglenooks and built-in cabinetry, beamed ceilings, and handmade metal details like cabinet hardware and lighting fixtures. That’s why you may walk into many grand Mission style homes and scratch your head and say, “It looks like I’m in a craftsman”.

It's important to note that Mission Revival architecture is different from other architectural styles such as Spanish Revival and Craftsman. Spanish Revival architecture is heavily influenced by Spanish colonial architecture and incorporates similar elements to Mission Revival such as red tile roofs, arched openings, and white stucco walls, but also includes more ornate details such as decorative tile work, and wrought iron work. It's like Mission Revival's fancy cousin. On the other hand, Craftsman architecture is a style that emerged in the United States and is characterized by its use of natural materials, handcrafted details, and an emphasis on functionality. Think of it as Mission Revival's rugged and handy brother.

As residents of Riverside, it is important to appreciate and understand the architectural history of our city. Next time you're out and about, take a moment to look around and appreciate the beautiful Mission Revival buildings that have played such a crucial role in shaping the landscape of Riverside. These buildings not only add character and charm to the city but also keep the legacy of Spanish colonial missions alive in the present. And let's be real, who doesn't love a good comeback story?."

If you’re interested in owning a piece of California history and would like to schedule a private tour, or curious about the history and value of your historic home, call or email us, we would love to hear from you!

Phone: 951-801-0924


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