Left: Rouse's department store on the east side of Main Street between University Avenue (8th Street) and 9th Street in 1928, after the building was renovated to a Mission Revival style by G. Stanley Wilson. Right: Gaylor Rouse was President when Tom Hays was tried for embezzling and breaking the Orange Grower's Bank, located in this building at the northeast corner of University Avenue (8th Street) and Main Street.

Gaylor Rouse

Originally from New York, Gaylor Rouse came to Riverside via Antioch and Santa Barbara. By 1889, he owned G. Rouse Company Dry Goods and Shoes and took over a store once founded by John T. Jarvis on the opposite side of the Main Street from where Rouse’s signature store was located. The Rouses Inc. store prospered for decades at 3850 Main Street.
Only July 3, 1891, Rouse became a director of the brand new Orange Growers Bank, capitalized with $250,000 and with M. J. Daniels as president and Frank Miller among the stockholders. One of the first acts of the new directors was to name Tom Hays as Cashier for the bank.
Rouse was a significant part of the business and financial climate of Riverside during the late 1890s thru the early 1900’s. He was a member, with Tom Hays, of the Rubidoux Club. Members played cards and billiards, talked business, and read the latest magazines. In 1892, as a director, Hays saw the club move to new quarters in the new Rubidoux Building at the southeast corner of Main and Mission Inn Avenue. Bank president M.J. Daniels, Frank Miller, and Rouse were also directors along with many of Riverside’s leading businessmen.
In 1902, Rouse participated in the formation of Frank Miller’s Glenwood Hotel Company, purchasing five shares in support of Miller’s effort to capitalize the expansion of what would become the Mission Inn.
In November 1903, due to Tom Hays energetic campaign work, bank president M. J. Daniels was elected to congress. Rouse began to serve as interim bank president.
Soon after, it was discovered that Hays had defrauded the Salt Lake Railroad, acquiring right of way for the firm at one price and billing them at a higher rate, pocketing the difference. The scandal caused the bank to look at Hays performance as cashier and it discovered he had embezzled over $94,000.
By the time Hays was indicted, Rouse had been named permanent bank president and he testified at Hays trial in federal court in Los Angeles. Hays had a brilliant lawyer and as a result of several maneuvers, Hays was acquitted in 1905. He died in January 1907.
Rouses Inc. continued to prosper and Gaylor’s son, Charles took over the business. Gaylor died in 1923.