Riverside City College's 100th Anniversary Countdown
May 20, 2013
Ira Christopher Landis was born in 1883 to David and Hannah Landis of Indiana. He graduated from the University of Indiana in 1905 and moved to California in 1910 when he took a teaching position in West Riverside. By 1913 he was a principal in the Riverside city school system. Upon the resignation of Raymond Cree, Landis was appointed Riverside Superintendent of Schools on March 5, 1919. The left portion of the photo below appeared that same year in the Riverside Poly High School yearbook. It is an aerial shot of Riverside Poly High School. The first Riverside Junior College classes were held at Poly High. The arrow points to the corner of Terracina Drive and Riverside Avenue (now known as Miné Okubo Drive). This was to be the location of Landis Auditorium 36 years later. Landis can be seen in the right portion of the photo.
Landis was responsible for the first major expansion of support services for rural school districts. He established several new positions in the office to extend its services. Also added to the county staff was a physical education supervisor who went out to the schools to supervise ball games and encourage teachers to become more active in physical education activities. These new positions increased the size of the county office from two to five employees. In 1924, there were 97 schools in the county with 505 teachers and nearly 14,000 students. In 1926, Landis resigned to become Supervisor of Education in Riverside City Schools, and in 1927 he became Riverside’s first Assistant Superintendent. In 1928, he was named superintendent in the district where he served until his retirement in 1951. While he was Superintendent, Landis also served from 1941 to 1952 as a member of the Riverside County Board of Education. The photo below (from the early 1950s) shows the area where Landis Auditorium was to be constructed. The arrow again points to the corner of Terracina Drive and Riverside Avenue (Miné Okubo Drive). The building on the upper half of the photo is the RCC Quadrangle. The buildings seen on the lower half is Riverside Poly High.
In 1955, four years after Landis’ retirement as Superintendent of Riverside City Schools and two years before his passing, the auditorium, which he had helped to bring about, was built. Below is a photo of the members of the Riverside City Board of Education observing the construction of the new building - Richard B. Hampson, Jr., Mrs. E.M. Bonnett, Lewis P. Alabaster, Mrs. Gladys T. Babcock, Superintendent Bruce Miller (pointing), and George C. Pooley. The lower portion of the photo shows the completed auditorium.
However, when first built, the auditorium was not considered RCC property. In early references, it was called the Polytechnic Auditorium. But by the time it was opened on November 8, 1955 it was dedicated to Ira C. Landis. Below is a photo of the plaque in the lobby of Landis Auditorium and a photo of Ira C. Landis around the time of its dedication. The two lower photos show an early evening usage of the auditorium.
Landis Auditorium became RCC property when Poly High moved to its present location on Victoria Avenue in 1965. RCC had purchased the Poly property and demolished its buildings to make room for a Library, Planetarium, Life & Physical Science Buildings and a Student Center. The photo below shows Landis Auditorium (center right). The photo below shows Landis Auditorium (center right). Above the auditorium is the cleared area where Poly High School once stood. Below Landis Auditorium, can be seen houses that once occupied the space where the Alan D. Pauw Business Education building now stands.
Below is a present day photo of the auditorium. It is today known as the Landis Performing Arts Center. In 2015, the building will celebrate its 60th year of serving the community of Riverside.
It is 2 years and 42 weeks until RCC’s 100th Anniversary on March 13, 2016.
The Riverside City College Instructional Media Center is bringing you this five year countdown to RCC’s 100th Anniversary. Our intention is to give everyone a weekly glance at the many people and events that have been a part of the thanks go to the RCC Digital Library Archives and the District’s Office of Strategic Communications and Relations for allowing us to use their photo and newspaper collections. Thanks as well to all of the RCC students and Faculty Advisors that were a part of the yearbook and newspaper staffs. Thanks also to Tom Johnson and Gilbert Jimenez who wrote “the book” about RCC’s history. “Riverside City College 1916-1981- A 65 Year History” is available in the RCC Digital Library.
For copyright purposes, all images originating from Riverside City College publications and the District’s Office of Strategic Communications and Relations are the property of the Riverside Community College District.
Countdown to 100 Years: Archives