VAF was formed 1990 and was incorporated as a non-profit in 1994. The organizers had the foresight to realize that Victoria Avenue was threatened by rampant growth in the housing market and would be negatively impacted by increased vehicular traffic, addition of stop lights, tree removal to make room for left turn lanes, etc. Since then, VAF has become a respected partner to city involvement and is the recognized “voice” of the Avenue.
Our mission statement is: “To preserve, Restore, and Beautify Historic Victoria Avenue through Community Volunteer Efforts, Education and Advocacy.”
At last count there are over 140 different species and over 6,000 individual trees. We are currently developing a GPS-based inventory of the median trees along the entire length of the Avenue.
All the trees that VAF plants on Victoria Avenue are memorial or commemorative trees. Individual citizens donate for the purchase of the trees and volunteers organized during “workdays” plant the trees. Once the trees are planted, they are staked, watered and continuously cared for by the City of Riverside. The Department of Public Works is responsible for all aspects of maintenance and for tree care on Victoria Avenue.
The City of Riverside planted all the orange trees on the Avenue. Many of these were planted as part of the City’s Renaissance beautification projects. The City harvests the fruit and its sales contribute to maintenance costs of the Avenue.
Victoria Avenue was privately designed and built but it was deeded to the City of Riverside in 1902. On June 11, 1969, Victoria Avenue was declared Cultural Heritage Landmark #8 by the Riverside Cultural Heritage Board. In October 2000, Victoria Avenue was added to the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.
There are five Gardens/Pocket parks on Victoria Avenue and they are:
The Helen Hays Yeager Memorial Grove is located at the corner of Ivy/Myrtle. It was designed and established by the Department of Public Works with donations from the Hays-Yeager families. Mayor Rusty Bailey helped negotiate the donation to the City. VAF contributed to the discussions during the planning phases. We also designed and installed the informative kiosk panels at the site using funds contributed by a donor.
The Lorraine Small Commemorative Rose Garden is in the median near Ivy/Myrtle. It was established in 1992 by VAF using donations from the community and volunteers. We replant and mulch this garden every winter.
The Dr. Lewis Garden is located at the corner of Jane St. It was established in 1993 by VAF using donations from the community and volunteers. We pay for the maintenance of the garden and mulch it every year in the spring. This was designed as a “water-wise” garden.
The Dammers Butterfly Garden is located at the corner of Mary St adjacent to Washington Park. This garden was established to memorialize a famous citrus producer and citizen scientist named Charles Montagu Dammers who once lived at this site. VAF supported the establishment of this garden and had input to the plant species used in the landscape. The garden was designed by the City’s Parks Department and funded by Stater Bros Market who expanded into the park property. VAF is currently working on providing a memorial plaque to Charles Dammers and some information panels on the plants and butterflies for this garden.
The Hal Snyder Garden is located at Harrison St. It was established in 2010 by VAF using donations from the community and volunteers. We pay for the maintenance of the garden and mulch it every year in the spring. This was also designed as a “water-wise” garden.
There are several places to park. On almost every cross street one may park on the curb. You can also use the parking lot at the church located at Lincoln and Victoria. It is important to note that there is no parking allowed on Victoria Avenue itself.
There are many ways to contribute. For one, you can become a member of Victoria Avenue Forever. Membership dues help pay for all our activities, including monthly garden maintenance. You can volunteer your services. We have scheduled workdays each year during which volunteers plant trees, roses and/or mulch gardens. We always accept monetary contributions for commemorative trees, memorials or honoraria, for trees and garden maintenance and for special projects on the Avenue. We welcome all contributions from the community.