Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Samuel Evans -- 415 North Orange, Riverside

Born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Samuel C. Evans Jr. (1866 - 1932) came to California in 1874 with his parents from that city, where his father had been successful in banking, railroads, and real estate. He grew up in the Arlington area of Riverside, where his father was considered to be a city founder. Marrying Mary Southworth (1868-1959) in 1893, he started in work with his father, then went to college beginning in his late 20's at the University of the Pacific in San Jose, graduating in 1899. He came back and again worked with his father in real estate and water investments, and when his father died in 1902 (who was said to be Riverside's wealthiest citizen), the estate was estimated at $1 Million, to be divided between Samuel and his brother P.T. Below is a family ad taken from an 1892 book about the virtues of land in Riverside.

1892 advertisement for Evans family land

In 1900 the federal census showed Samuel living in the house at (then) 415 North Orange Street, with his wife Mary, his parents Samuel C. Sr.(1823-1902) and Minerva, and Samuel and Mary's son Errol (b. 1893).

415 N. Orange St. in 1910

Samuel was noted in the 1900 census as a "farmer", while his father was listed as "retired", both significant understatements for the day.

1907 was a big year.  Mary gave birth to a second son Samuel S. as the
S.C. Evans, Jr. in 1910
community of Riverside created its city charter. In May Samuel C. was elected the new city's first mayor, and then re-elected in 1909.

In 1912 Samuel ran for Congress.  Running as a Progressive Republican, his fortunes were scuttled by San Diego Chamber of Commerce members. The heavily Republican C of C wanted Evans' rival to win the Republican nomination, so they could lobby for naval facilities in the San Diego area. When that candidate lost to Evans, they swung their support to a conservative Democrat, who promised just that. And history was made.

Samuel rebounded politically by running and winning as State Senator for Riverside/Imperial counties for 1917-1921. He followed this with two more terms as mayor beginning in 1922 and finishing in 1926.

The Evans' left the Orange Street house prior to 1920, settling at 1191 W. 7th Street. The 1930 census finds Samuel, Mary and a housekeeper at the same location, although the address has now changed to 4191 W. 7th. From this home in 1932 Samuel once again ran for, and was elected mayor of Riverside, but died prior to taking office at age 66. He was buried in the Evans family plot at Olivewood Cemetery.

The house on Orange Street was also renumbered by 1930, becoming today's 3415 Orange Street. In 1936 it was being occupied by John & Pauline Davenport.

Today the site for the old house is part of the Riverside Convention Center. It once stood on the southwest corner of Orange and 4th Streets. Interestingly, nearby houses still stand, including the house that is kittycorner across the intersection.

Additional info:
A photo of the Evans family in Yosemite, 1920's
An article about S.C. Evans' passion for cogged stones(from pcas.org)
Short bio from Notables of the West (1913)
More on Samuel Evans, Sr.


  1. Great photo of the home. Looks much better than the Convention Center that stands now. I love how you can see the concrete horse posts in the photo.

    1. Thanks, Krystal--sad that a lot of these homes are gone...

  2. Hi there - doing some research that involves S. C. Evans Jr. and wondering if you could tell me where the post-1913 information here comes from? Thanks for this great post!


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