Discovery & Restoration
Plans for the Center for Social Justice and Civil Liberties began with the inspired restoration of an historic, two-story, 10,000-square-foot building in downtown Riverside. Known as the Citrus Belt Savings and Loan Building, the 1926 structure features an ornate Spanish baroque facade in the elaborate Churrigueresque style. For decades this sculpted wall was hidden by a modern concrete curtain and was only fully recovered during restoration efforts.
Designed by well-known Los Angeles architect Stiles O. Clements, the building was constructed for the Riverside Finance Company. The architect also designed the Wiltern Theatre, and the El Capitan Theatre, among other Los Angeles landmarks. This building is the only one known that he did in Riverside city and county. At least two other banks--Sterling Savings and Loan and Imperial Savings--occupied the building before it became the Citrus Belt Savings and Loan.
In 1951, Citrus Belt Savings purchased the property, and it was reconstructed to include a second floor. In 1961, the building was remodeled and linked to the adjacent facility, including the application of the curtain wall that architecturally linked the two building exteriors.