James Tiberius Kirk is probably the best known citizen of the quiet little town of Riverside. There are almost 220 years to go before the future captain of the starship USS Enterprise is born, but there is no reason for fans of Star Trek to wait until the year 2228 to visit the birthplace of their hero.
Riverside is located on the north bank of the English River, has a total land area of 1.72 square miles and a population of 993 people, according to the 2010 census. The nearest major city is Iowa City, situated 15 miles North of Riverside along Route 218.
Well, obviously none of these factors stand out to make Riverside a destination beyond the thousands of towns that dot the landscape. Its claim to fame comes from being the birthplace of Captain Kirk, and Riverside has wholeheartedly embraced the role. The town welcomes Star Trek fans with open arms, and has a plaque placed to mark the future birthplace of Captain Kirk. Another attraction is the scale model of USS Riverside, a starship built to look like the USS Enterprise.
The city is something of a pilgrimage site for Star Trek fans, who throng Riverside for the summertime Trekfest, often dressed as characters from the series. Souvenirs make a big part of the items sold during the summer festival. Devoted fans can also be seen buying Kirk Dirt, i.e. vials containing soil dug near Kirk’s birthstone marker.
So far, Riverside has played its cards right and cemented its claim of being Kirk’s birthplace pretty well. The city has the blessing of the creator of the original Star Trek series Gene Roddenberry, and has been visited by William Shatner. The new Star Trek movies place the young Kirk near the city, further lending credence to its claim.
Riverside’s position as the birthplace of Captain James Tiberius Kirk, captain of the starship USS Enterprise is “canon” for all intents and purposes. Thus comes its position as a Mecca for the fans of Star Trek. Here are plenty of places to stay in Riverside and numerous attractions like the Riverside History Center and Museum.