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Historical Projects

Aliso Viejo Ranch

Aliso Viejo , California
7 acres

RHA teamed with Thirtieth Street Architects to develop the design for Aliso Viejo Ranch.  The 7 acre site is the last remaining property from the Moulton Ranch that covered over 26,000 acres of south Orange County.  The design includes a new barn, foreman’s house, renovations to the existing barn, bunkhouse and storage sheds, walkways, seating areas, educational trails and signage, nut and fruit orchards, permeable concrete parking lot, and an aquaponics farm.  The team worked with a local aquaponics farmer on the design and is similar in concept to the farmer’s other site, Riverbed Farm in Anaheim.  RHA designed the farm to have natural streams and ponds that hold the fish that provide water and fertilizer to the raised garden planters.  The entire site serves as window into the history of the Moulton Ranch and California and includes 27 pieces of authentic farm equipment from the original ranch located throughout the site along with signage describing the equipment and history of the ranch. 

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California Citrus State Historic Park

Riverside, California

Stretching over 400 acres, the California Citrus State Historic Park contains prime agricultural land encompassing over 180 acres of existing citrus groves.  The site is situated in the City of Riverside’s “Arlington Heights Historic Citrus Greenbelt”.  Among the parks primary objectives is to interpret the “California Dream” in the 1900-1935 period.  Using earlier Gold Rush era images of striking it rich in California, the Citrus Industry’s early advertising lauded a second “Gold Strike”, the naval orange.  A variety of interpretive methods, including costumed “in-character” docents, help to relate the story of the “dream” vs the “reality” that was achieved by many who came to the state in search of a better life.

RHA Landscape Architects-Planners worked closely with the City of Riverside and the State of California to prepare the General Land Use Plan for the site as well as create project logos, themes and planting concepts.  The overriding planning concept of the park is to preserve some of the rapidly vanishing cultural landscape of the citrus industry and to tell the story of this industry's role in the history and development of California. The design of the park is reminiscent of a 1900’s city park, complete with an activity center, interpretive structure, amphitheater, picnic area, and demonstration groves. The park recaptures the time when "Citrus was King" in California, recognizing the importance of the citrus industry in southern California.  The park is used by local schools to educate through tours and hands on demonstration of the citrus farming heritage of Southern California.


Founder's Park

Anaheim, California

The site is the home of one of the original “Mother Colony House” from 1850 and a Victorian, the Woelke-Stoffel house, from 1898.  The site design included retaining and designing around an historic fig tree that was used by Walt Disney as the inspiration of the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House at Disneyland.  An architectural consultant was utilized to design a “Carriage House” that will be used to store and display historic artifacts owned by the city.  A restroom building was designed to resemble a water tank and pump house that was commonly used in the mid 1800’s.  Permeable pavers were used in the parking lot and along the front walk to reduce storm water runoff as well as ensure that water is allowed into the root system of the historic fig tree.  An existing basement from a previously demolished home on the property was used as an underground sump and was designed to accept all of the site drainage so that no water drains off of the site.  Period accurate plants were chosen to demonstrate what landscapes would have looked like in the two time periods. The final plan allows the city to “tell the tale” of the history of Anaheim.


Reyes Adobe Historical Site

Agoura Hills, California

Built in approximately 1850, Agoura Hills’ first home represents 150 years of exciting California history. This history includes the acquisition of the documented stories and artifacts from the families that have called the Reyes Adobe home over the years. The Reyes Adobe Historical Site has preserved their unique legacies to help visitors understand the political, social and economic changes that have shaped present day culture.  It is a cultural landmark significant to many areas of interest: California history highlighting the rancho period, oral history and Spanish Rancho architecture. The Reyes Adobe’s hearth has drawn people from different cultures that have influenced the scenic and strategically located property along the state’s famous El Camino Real.

Over the years the house, barn and surrounding landscape had fallen into disrepair.  Through restoration and research efforts facilitated by RHA Landscape Architects-Planners and various local historians and city staff, the City of Agoura Hills has created an interpretive center and museum for visitors to hear their stories for years to come.  Public, educational and group programs are available throughout the year. Field trip programs, oral history programs, guided tours, group interactive exhibits and special events are among the many exciting ways the public can learn about the Reyes Adobe and California history. The barn features an educational room for current programs including Rancho Living, California History, Native American History, Family Oral History, California Horticulture and Site Renovation History.  The field trip tours comply with suggested California State curriculum requirements. Follow up lesson plans are given to the teachers.  A special educational program has been established so that 4th grade children can visit the site with their schools to learn about California history with hands-on activities, learn about what life was like on the rancho, and the responsibilities of those that lived on the land.


Edward-Dean Museum and Gardens

Cherry Valley, California

The Edward-Dean Museum opened in 1958, and was founded by Edward Eberle and Dean Stout. The Museum features late 16th to early 19th century European and Asian Decorative Arts. Dean Stout designed the interior spaces of the museum to create a home-like atmosphere with the intent to share with the visitor a first-hand experience of the ambiance of the time period. The museum and its 16-acre campus originally came under County control in 1964.

On July 1, 1999, the Edward-Dean Museum was shifted to the Riverside County Economic Development Agency (EDA) to manage.   Historically the Friends of the Edward-Dean Museum, a not-for-profit organization, has been an ongoing champion of exhibits, preservation of the museum's permanent collection, and museum-specific projects.  The museum hosts three special exhibits a year and a variety of events. The facilities are available for rent and are ideal for weddings, receptions and meetings.

RHA Landscape Architects-Planners prepared a Conceptual Master Plan for the entire 16 acre project. This master plan included existing architectural enhancements and additions, a new chapel, a legacy rose garden, other specialty gardens, a hedge maze, a new widened entry with monumentation, and a man-made lake.  Construction then began on the museum’s new entry monumentation and continued to the next phase of enhancement which was a Legacy Rose Garden.  The primary function of the Legacy Rose Garden, besides being open to the public to visit and enjoy, is for weddings and receptions.  This rose garden includes a wide variety of roses, stabilized decomposed granite pathways, a large lawn area, embossed brick pavers acknowledging people and events while supporting the Edward-Dean Museum & Gardens, a sizable gazebo and a grand stairway/ramp entrance.  Extensive research was done to choose plant and construction materials that complement architectural style of the existing buildings and also provide low water consumption.  The design team worked closely with the Friends of the Edward-Dean Museum to ensure that the materials used were consistent with the time period of the original buildings.


Crestmore Manor and Carriage House

Jurupa Valley, California

Crestmore Manor, a 10,830 square-foot colonial-style mansion, was built in the mid 1950’s by W.W. “Tiny” Naylor to appease his wife’s desires to live in a home similar to the ones found in Kentucky’s horse country. It was composed of nine bedrooms, an indoor rotisserie built into a brick fireplace, a wet bar, a rumpus room, a pool and pool house, a circular staircase and marble floors.  A restaurateur and the state’s second-leading thoroughbred breeder of the time, Naylor and his family never lived in the home. In 1955, he had a stroke and sold the ranch. Naylor’s son, W.W. “Biff “Naylor Jr., said that the fact that the mansion is now a site for weddings “is a great tribute to that home. My dad loved my mom dearly. He called her ‘dolly face.’ It was a pretty special relationship.”

This historic landmark is now owned by Riverside County Park and Open-Space District and is a popular location for any type of event. The grounds feature a pond, a manicured lawn and several large trees, creating an ideal setting to exchange vows. The courtyard also features a charming fountain and enough space to create an intimate outdoor setting. The Carriage House, located directly behind the mansion, is perfect for a beautiful indoor reception or party. The landscaped manor is able to accommodate up to 400 guests.


White Park and Botanical Gardens

Riverside, California

White Park, originally known as “City Park”, is the oldest park in the City of Riverside.  It was deeded to the City on November 14, 1889 and officially named White Park in honor of Albert S. White, the city’s first Parks Superintendent.  It has also been designated Local Historic Landmark #57.  For many years the park thrived as “the place to be” on a sunny afternoon.  The park was also a botanical garden and introduced park users to a variety of native and Mediterranean plant species.  As with most older parks located in downtown areas, White Park became the victim of overuse and neglect.  It was a frequent hangout for vagrants and had lost the charm it once had on the city’s residents.  RHA Landscape Architects-Planners was commissioned by the city to prepare a master plan and construction drawings to rehabilitate the park and bring it back to the splendor it once enjoyed.  The planning of this extremely important historic site included meetings and workshops with local Master Gardeners, UCR Botanists, UCR Horticulturalists, City of Riverside Cultural Heritage Board and city staff.  The purpose of the plan was to provide security for the park and designate areas throughout the park where botanical gardens could once again be planted and maintained.

The fencing for the park was patterned after other historic fences in the downtown Riverside area, including the Mission Inn.  Old maps and photographs of the park were studied to determine the types and locations of the original botanical gardens and the plant species used.  The resulting master plan designates the existing Palm Garden, a Scent Garden designed to encourage experience by those with disabilities, a Rose Garden, a Cactus Garden reminiscent of the cactus garden that was a part of the original park, a Mediterranean Garden, a Hummingbird Garden, an African Garden, an Asian Garden and a South American Garden.  Several of the gardens were constructed during phase 1 while the remaining garden areas have been set aside for local Master Gardeners to develop over the next several years.  A new Bandstand, reminiscent of the original bandstand that stood in the park, was constructed for use by residents and local community groups.  A new Senior Center and Park Offices building was also designed and constructed on the southwest corner of the park.  The building was designed to match the other Craftsman Style houses on the adjacent streets.  Raised garden planters were constructed adjacent to the Senior Center to allow the seniors to plant and maintain their own gardens.  This also provides constant observation of the activities in the park which assists in keeping the park in a clean and safe condition.


Hillcrest Park Renovation

Fullerton, California

Hillcrest Park represents a unique historic and recreation resource for the people of the City of Fullerton and its surrounding communities.  Still present in the park are several layers with historic significance; vistas, topography, circulation, vegetation and Works Progress Administration stonework that continue to provide the foundation Hillcrest Park was designed upon. However, funding cutbacks and lack of capital improvement monies resulted in deterioration throughout the Park's property.  RHA Landscape Architects-Planners was commissioned to prepare a Master Plan to analyze Hillcrest Park's current conditions, evaluate its historic components, assess the future needs of the Park user and finally to prepare a plan for the rehabilitation of the park.

Phase 1 of the construction was the rehabilitation of the Recreation Center at the southeast corner of the park site.  RHA and Heritage Architecture & Planning worked closely with city staff and local historians and historical groups to renovate the existing building and add additional patio space for recreation programs and community events.  All existing stonework was preserved and new stonework and paving was added to complement the existing structures.  A new group picnic shelter was also constructed to match the existing architectural theme of the park.  The planning of the project required extensive study of old photographs and plans as well as plant palettes that were consistent with the historical nature of the park.


San Antonio Park

Ontario & San Antonio Heights Waiting Station

Upland, California

The Ontario & San Antonio Heights Waiting Station is located in San Antonio Park adjacent to Mountain Avenue in Upland, California.  It was constructed by a trolley company owned by William G. Kerckhoff in 1906.  As with most structures from this time period, the building and site had fallen into disrepair.  The Upland Community Foundation (UCF) saw an opportunity to illustrate the many accomplishments of one man and how he pioneered the developing hydroelectric power generated from various sites such as San Antonio Canyon, Kern River and the San Joaquin River.

Kerckhoff’s Southern California electric generating companies became part of Southern California Edison and his San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation became PG&E.  He was also the first to use oil (instead of coal) to power an ocean freighter and he founded the Southern California Gas Company.  To pay tribute to Mr. Kerckhoff, the City of Upland, working with UCF, hired RHA Landscape Architects-Planners to prepare the design and drawings for the rehabilitation of the waiting station.  The UCF obtained donated services through local Eagle Scouts and contractors for the actual repair of the building and also utilized the services of a Los Angeles based artist, Art Mortimer, to paint a mural depicting the accomplishments of Mr. Kerckhoff.  RHA worked closely with Mr. Mortimer to design a concrete wall that the mural could be painted on.  They also designed seat walls and pilasters to replicate the type of materials used on the waiting station.  An area was also set aside for the future placement of a vintage trolley car that was used on the Ontario & San Antonio Heights route.  The waiting station site was then seamlessly integrated into the overall development/expansion of San Antonio Park that has a play ground, ball fields, picnic areas, etc.  The visitors to the park are now able to see a small part of history and learn about a man who had a very significant impact on the growth of Southern California.


Jensen-Alvarado Historic Ranch and Museum

Riverside, California

The Jensen-Alvarado Historic Ranch and Museum is an 1880’s Living History Interpretive Program and Museum located in Rubidoux.  A living historical agricultural museum, the ranch is a California Historical Landmark that shows farm and ranch life as it was lived in the 1880s and '90s. The facility is run by the Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District and on display are farming and ranching items from the 19th century.  The facility, complete with period-costume clad docents, conducts tours for local elementary school children and demonstrates winemaking, ice cream making, laundry techniques, sheep ranching, brick making and farming techniques from that era.  There are also cattle, sheep, chickens, rabbits, a duck pond and goats on site as well as citrus groves, peach, apricot and plum orchards, and a grape vineyard.  The site was designed to display farming and ranching equipment on the natural walking paths from the parking lot to the ranch house.  Large open space areas with picnic tables and shade trees were designed to provide a location where the school children can eat their lunch after the ranch tour.  The parking lot was designed with wood timber “curbing” and natural decomposed granite surfacing to maintain the natural “ranch” atmosphere of the site.  The Ranch has become one of the premier facilities in the County for school children and other residents to learn firsthand the culture and history of the region.


Hillis-Hise Historic House

Jurupa Valley, California

The Hillis-Hise house was built in 1905 by G. Stanley Wilson whose work includes the Mission Inn Rotunda, the Riverside Municipal Auditorium and the Riverside City College Quadrangle.  The two-story, turn-of-the-century house on Mission Boulevard in Rubidoux was restored for $750,000 and is now a community center for residents of the Mission Palms Apartments, a 200-unit affordable housing project for income-qualifying seniors.

Research for period-appropriate landscaping included searching through turn of the century books written by local authors and featuring photography of local houses from that time period.  This project’s plant palette was chosen from modern plant materials with similar aesthetics and functionality to the original materials with emphasis on the improved horticultural characteristics and availability.  Hardscape details were developed from existing examples found at local houses from the same era that have been maintained with their historic character.  The project has been a great success and well received by the seniors living in the adjacent housing.  Several local residents who visited friends and family in the house in the mid 1900’s have come back and marveled at the memories rekindled by the restored house and extensively landscape grounds.

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