HISTORY AND BEAUTY AROUND EVERY CORNER
I had the unexpected pleasure of visiting the unique and magnificent Mission Inn Hotel and Spa during this holiday season along with a splendid Festival of Lights that light up the hotel and surrounding areas. Located in Riverside, California (about a 90-minute drive from Palm Springs with little traffic) and with only two more days until Christmas, let’s just say that this helped get me into the spirit. These photos barely do it justice.
The Cornerstone of Downtown Riverside
“It is the most unique hotel in America. It’s a monastery, a museum, a fine hotel, a home, a boardinghouse, a mission, an art gallery and an aviator’s shrine. It combines the best features of all of the above. If you are ever in any part of California, don’t miss the famous Mission Inn of Riverside.” – Will Rogers
The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, is a historic landmark hotel in downtown Riverside, California. Many presidents (including President Kennedy) stayed there and Richard Nixon married Pat at this hotel.
The story of the Mission Inn stretches over more than a century and began with the Miller family, migrants to California from Tomah, Wisconsin. In 1874, civil engineer C.C. Miller arrived in Riverside, began work on a water system, and with his family, began a small boarding house in the center of town.
The Mission Inn’s rise to greatness began in the late 1800’s when wealthy Easterners and Europeans flocked to Riverside in search of both a warmer winter climate and also a way to invest in the area’s profitable citrus industry. By the 1890’s, Riverside was the richest city per capita in the United States. The consistent influx of tourists to Riverside made Frank Miller, the Master of the Inn, recognize the dire need for a grand resort hotel.
It was in that moment that the evolution of The Mission Inn began. Frank Miller opened the first wing, The Mission, of his new hotel in 1903, which was built in Mission-Revival style architecture and incorporated different structural elements of the 21 California Missions. Mr. Miller went on to add three more wings to his hotel: the Cloister, the Spanish and the final addition, the Rotunda wing, in 1931.
The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 1996, dates back to 1876.
Header Photo (red ribbon on building) – d. king