Time travel during the holidays
RIVERSIDE — Once you get past Turkey Day and Black Friday, you may want to consider a little time traveling, back and forward.
The Riverside History Center and Voyage Home, on Highway 22 directly north of Railroad Park, provides both in its displays and collections about the railroad that created Riverside and the city’s fame as the future birthplace of a man who will never exist.
The railroad, which has long departed taking both the depot and tracks with it, is well documented in History Center displays including a model railroad in an equally model town. Some newly acquired photographs give a better view of what the city was like at its height, including several of its once-numerous businesses.
Without question, though, the major attraction that draws most visitors is the Star Trek connection that dates to 1984 when the Riverside City Council voted to let the town become the “future” birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise. The Voyage Home section really documents the television show that made its debut in 1966 and went on to iconic status through movies and spin-offs. There are changing displays, all dealing with the Star Trek universe, that also document the growing bond between Riverside and its “native son” who will not arrive until 2228. And, yes, there is even a spaceship in the form of the USS Riverside that bears more than a passing resemblance to the storied Enterprise.
The Voyage Home has a number of gift items ranging from Trek Fest T-shirts to an original throw featuring the 105-year-old St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic church that is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The church’s 20 1907 stained glass windows are well worth the short trip up the hill to see them.
Admission is free and there is no charge for using the starship or the displays as a background for photos to show you’ve been to Kirk’s hometown. You can even leave with a vial of Kirk Dirt for just a small fee.
Of course, the best time to see the future on parade is the last Friday and Saturday in June when Trek Fest takes place throughout the town, an event that, for the most part, is also free.