Opening of tour: (At model) Hello, and welcome to the Mission Inn, My name is Eric Rider and will be your docent today as we take a trip throughout the history of this wonderful hotel going back almost a century. You will see, this is John Hancock, (s)he is the most important part of the tour, being the keeper of the keys. Without them, there is no public access to the best parts of the tour, so make sure we stay close and together so nobody gets lost. During certain parts of the tour, the assist may gently guide you to one side of the walkway to keep a flow Of guests and traffic as this is a busy hotel.
In keeping with the traditions, there was no soda, no flash photography or cell phones in those days, so please put the phones on vibrate, refrain from photos while on the tour and only water is the only drink you can bring with you to help preserve the artwork and timeshare of this 75 minute tour. *Ask about the guests, studying mission work in school, far travelers, etc. And give some brief personal interaction* The Mission Inn began as a small adobe called the Goldenrod Hotel by a rover named Christopher Miller.
He sold the hotel to his son Frank Miller who we will soon hear a great deal about and who expanded it to include the mission wing as seen here (Point, etc. ) built in 1 902 and designed by architect Arthur Benton. The Mission wing is where we currently are and where the first leg of the tour will take place. Shortly after, the Cloister Wing was the next great addition to the hotel, built in 1910 also by Benton and seen here. Shortly after, the hotel grew again to include the Spanish Art Gallery which was designed by Myron Hunt and was built during 1914 and 15.
In 1921, the the floor rooms were added on and designed by Arthur Benton. In 1 928, Authors row was added by G Stanley Wilson giving it its own unique addition. Finally, shortly before his death, the International Rotunda Wing, where we will wrap up our tour was built in 1931-2 and designed by G Stanley Wilson. The Tour is 75 minutes long, and does involve stairs. If you have any trouble with stairs, just let one of us know and we can easily accommodate you with the elevators. Let us begin over here where you will see the Anton clock. This clock is hundreds of years Old as you can see and came out Of Numerous, Germany.
For decades it sat, keeping great time in the Spanish courtyard where a replica now sits. Unfortunately, weather has not been kind to it, so we brought the face in to be better preserved in our museum. Just below you will notice an adobe brick, shortly will show you where the Old Goldenrod Adobe once sat, this is one of the original bricks saved from the adobe when it was torn down for the small pool that was put in when pools were becoming popular and destination resorts such as here needed to keep up with customer demands. Over here you will see the Rain Cross.
This is a design created by Frank Miller as the logo for his hotel. We are not exactly sure the origin of the logo. The double barrel cross is a native American symbol for a dragonfly, used as a symbol of fresh water, as where there are dragonflies, fresh, clean water is sure to be near. It is also the cross used by the Knights Template, or crusaders cross of the church. Jesuit missionaries who founded the original missions preferred this cross, so this may be a possibility. It was also a common symbol of the time, being used by Nabisco and other companies as their corporate logo. The bell is also symbolic of a few things.
The obvious is it is a symbol of the famous mission bells the California and other missions are famous for. Another is that Frank had a personal affinity for bells, he had a personal collection of hundreds of bells, many very old and rare. It is Widely believed this is in large part due to his wife Isabella, whom he called Bell. The city approached Mr… Millimeter buy the image, and Frank, being the brilliant mind he is gave the logo to the city, this image is now all over the city, on trash cans, streets and our utilities. Every”here you look in Riverside now we are reminded of the Mission Inn.
As we head out to the street, take a look to the right and above the windows and oh will see just a few of Frank Millers fabulous bell collection. *Exit museum If you look there at the clock, that was the very center of town, the Mission Inn was very much the focal point of the city, literally and figuratively. If you kick out over there, you will see a flagpole, next to it is also a cross that is Met. Rubidium, where hundreds of people hike, many daily, is the site of the first Easter sunrise service in America and is a really nice and valuable part of Riverside that Mr… Miller helped create and use.
Met. Rubidium even today is what it is because of the influence Mr… Miller had in its use. Now if you come this way, we will walk down what was an open road Main Street. There were many jewelry and dress shops, a barber and such along here that locals and guests alike would have easy access to. Now you will see here Kelly’s Spa, Kelly and Duane Roberts are the owners of the Mission Inn. Kelly decided that a world class hotel needed a world class spa. She traveled around the world to top spas researching the horrible job of what worked best in all the top places in the world.
Kelly Roberts then came here and put some of the best ideas to work all in one place and we now have a world class spa. The Mission Inn today is as it was back in the Miller days was, a family run hotel. Kelly as you see here is not just beauty, but brains as she is the COO managing the day to day hotel operations. If you look in front of us, you will see Casey Cupcakes. Casey is the daughter of Kelly from her first marriage and is world renowned for her family recipe cupcakes, winner of cupcake wars, there are now several locations across the country. Here in the corner is Kelly son Doug Reinhardt.
He was a Player for the Angels for a few years and now owns a fitness product line focusing on crossfire training. Now follow e down this corridor and you will see a modern painting on the wall here, the idea is to show that men are included in the spa experience, if you notice, there are several women catering to his every need. If that isn’t an enticing ad, I don’t know what is! Now, here we are we see the two favorite pets of Mr… Miller. He loved his Macaws. Here you see Napoleon and Joseph(Quiz on names), Frank Miller loved animals and had many pets, both wild and tame. We think this is one of the main reasons Frank chose SST.
Francis of Chassis as his patron saint. SST. Francis was the founder of the Franciscan order, after the Jesuits were kicked out of the missions, the Franciscans were put in their place. If you follow me, you will see on the right the pool and area where the original Goldenrod stood. Please remember to keep moving and just take a quick peek as the pool area has regular traffic. As you see above is Duane Steakhouse, Duane grew up in a family business of a meat packing and sales plant that held the original contract with McDonald’s. Duane kept the company and later through it invented the frozen burrito, which is where he got his fortune.
To the right if you step in here you will meet the man himself, in statue and errors, He was larger than life, you can see him here holding his favorite Macaw Napoleon, and just past here are our new Macaw;, Napoleon and Josephine, as the new Joseph we found out is a girl. Behind the wall there where the pool is was also known as the court of the birds where they used to fly free as they wished along With other birds. Once, Albert Einstein was dining in the courtyard and it is said one of the Macaws actually bit him on the finger trying to get to his food!
As we come around here, step between the cannons and you will see they are a bit of an odd place for Cannons, but Frank Miller was kind like the original American Picker. In fact, many people even felt it was odd that a pacifist would have cannons. However, when bandits were raiding the Southland, Frank Miller once had large guns placed at the roof of his hotel and in the courtyard to protect the guests, he was by no means against all aggression, he was in favor of defense. He would travel around and when he found things he liked, he would buy it and use them for his hotel.
He had eccentric tastes as he had a wide variety of guests to please and would buy almost anything he could get at a deal to keep things fresh for the hotel, these cannons are a perfect example of this. During an exposition to celebrate the opening of the Panama canal, these were shipped in from the Philippines. When the exposition was over, Frank purchased a variety of things including these cannons from people and countries that did not want to bother paying the cost to return them. If you look to the wall, you will see the Mission Inn has city, state and federal historic monument status.
The last of which pretty much saved the hotel, as it opened up the hotel to restoration funds and preservation status. Over here we see a bust of Booker T Washington. Frank Miller and Booker T Washington were good friends. While he was traveling he country raising money for the Tuskegee Institute, he had become accustomed to poor treatment and would usually keep to himself and take his meals in his room and such to avoid problems. When he came to Riverside, Mr… Miller invited him to come stay at the Mission Inn as his personal guest. Mr… Miller stayed near him, took him to Met.
Rubidium on a hike to see the city and took good care of Mr… Washington. When it came time to dine, he assured Mr… Miller he would dine in his room to avoid any disapproval. Frank, being the overall upstanding great man he was would have none of it, he insisted Booker T Washington dine at Mr… Millers table with him in public. They had a brief but good friendship, when he died a short time later, Frank held a large memorial for Mr… Washington, his family attended and loved it, the Booker T Washington family was loyal guests of the hotel for many years later and I have heard distant relatives still make occasional trips today.
Here we walk under the comparing which used to be attached to the original Goldenrod hotel which is now essentially a stairway to nowhere. Next we come across another of Franks bells. Back in Franks day, another reason he was constantly buying things was because just about anything in this hotel was always for sale. It was a destination hotel, people would stay for months and would grow fond of a certain painting, lamp or chair, and there would be a price tag on it. Just about anything was for sale. Well, one day, Louis Comfort Tiffany was leaving the hotel when he came across this Nanjing bell.
He decided he wanted it and got a hold of Frank to buy it. It had been a gift from his daughter Alice. Frank told Mr… Tiffany he was sorry but this bell wasn’t for sale. Mr… Tiffany was not used to being told no for anything, the conversation quickly went south as no matter what he offered, Mr… Miller would not even consider selling it. So, Mr… Tiffany and Mr… Miller parted ways on poor terms and Mr… Tiffany was never to return to the Mission Inn again as a result. Out here on the front of the hotel we see several unique things about this wall, one of the more prominent are the gates.
Mr… Miller was traveling in Spain, looking for more of his random stuff he was so famous for, and he came across a couple gates. The stories vary, but essentially, word got out that an American was around buying gates. Shortly later, many other people came by to offer Mr… Miller their gates and Ron work, and Mr… Miller bought them all. He had them sent back home where his expert artisans would incorporate many of his random objects into the structure of the hotel and this is a perfect example of which you will see more of later.
Now here on the corner, you see where the civic center of the city was. Across the street is the old city hall, and across the street from there is what used to be the police station and post office what is now the museum. Next door to that, that tall bell tower is the First Congregationalist Church, Franks church, he actually had heating piped in to the church and city hall room the hotel as one of the many civic duties he felt the need to provide the city. Over opposite the Mission Inn on Orange is the library what once a Carnegie Library was, is still the cities central library.
And of course, possibly the most important part of the square is the Chinese Pavilion. We owe a great debt to the Chinese. If it were not for them, Riverside as we know it would not exist. Central to the growth of Riverside is her citrus legacy. Navel Oranges were brought in from Washington DC thanks to a woman named Elise Tidbits, she had two navel orange trees sent to her, one of which died ND the other is on life support thanks to the gag. Department at CIRRI, which would not exist were it not for the citrus in Riverside.
Several things were tried to grow here, and Oranges are what really took off. However, nobody really knew how to graft and multiply the trees until the Chinese immigrants came to Riverside to settle after building the railroads, they got work growing and grafting new navel oranges, as you may know, navel oranges are seedless and can only be grown through grafting, usually on a lemon root stock. So this pavilion celebrates the wonderful and valuable contribution to Riverside the Chinese people made to the city.
Now as we walk toward the side door to begin the inner portion of the tour, you will notice a shovel. This is a new shovel given to the Roberts to thank them for their much civic philanthropy. Just like the Miller family, the Roberts family has a sincere concern for the community, this was a thank you for their work and donations to the children’s home for abused kids. The locals here are also familiar with the Roberts generosity and modern dedication to animals as SST. Francis had and Mr… Miller with the Mary S. Roberts foundation which operates a no kill shelter in the city.
The Roberts family is well known in the community for the sheer sieve level of commitment they have to the community. Here you see more of Mr… Millers random stuff, anchor chains from abandoned ships in San Francisco after the gold rush when the ship mates walked off the job in search of gold. Now as we enter, you will see here where the architectural styles of the Mission Wing and Cloister wing meet. You will see several architectural styles throughout the hotel and this is just the beginning. Now please join me where I will show you the interior of the hotel…
Here we have the presidential wall that shows all of the presidents with a connection to the tool, if you look at the frame there you will see the stories of each of them. I would like to draw your attention to two of them. The first is the Taft chair (Give story of Taft chair), and the second is Richard Nixon, he holds a special place in the hotel as he had a local aunt in Riverside and spent many a day at the hotel. He was also married right here in this lounge in front of the fireplace. Now we turn to the music room… Here we see the largest room in the hotel.
You can see more of those anchor chains hanging from the ceiling that saw along the walkway. To the right awards the street, you see what used to be doorways to the cloister walk. This area was where people would use for exercise when the weather was poor to get a good walk in. Frank would also use the area to keep his extra artwork for guests to pass the time. To the rear, you see three stained glass windows, depicting the patron saint of music and some mission inn images. Shortly before the completion of the room, Isabel unfortunately died.
To memorial her, her face was placed in the window where the saint Cecilia is. In the corner, you will see our organ, This is a genuine pipe organ with thousands of pipes. For a long time it was damaged and sat unused, the friends of the mission inn a few years back got together and had it rebuilt. Today it is used occasionally and during fundraisers. Once a year, we do a silent film and have a licensed player play along with the movie, if you are local, it really is a great fundraiser you would enjoy. Now in this room We see the Ramona dome. Tell brief story of Ramona), this room used to be a gift shop where you would purchase just about anything you would like from the hotel. We walk through the lobby up the stairs. Here is a perfect example of some of the brilliant artwork in the collection. This is called the California Alps. Painted this, he was a friend fjord Mir. Paintings such as these were common in train stations and such to advertise the beauty of California to freezing north easterners hay. Now we will take a very brief detour and see one of the more popular guest suites.
We will make it brief, we are on time constraints, so please take a quick peek and we will move on, Every room in the hotel is different, so this is just one example. Notice the little pocket desk in the flying buttress! One of my favorite features. Now we will make our way to the Spanish courtyard. Here in the Spanish courtyard, we see where three tales of the hotel meet, we are standing in the mission wing, to the right is the cloister wing and ahead is the Spanish wing. Note the gothic style of the Authors row, which is where many famous authors of their time would stay.
To the right is the court of the bells, where people used to use to roller skate and play tennis and such. The suite to the right you see is where Nixon received the telegram asking him to be UP. Robert Kennedy stayed here shortly before his infamous trip to the Ambassador while exploring a presidential run. To the left there, you will recall the clock face in the museum. ND below are rotating images of California. There is a native with a bear, SST Francis, Juan Battista De Anza, and Padre Junipers Sera. Now we will head over to the Spanish art gallery and one of my favorite places in the Inn.
Here we see some Of the prized artwork Of the Inn, you see many Of the Mission Paintings by Henry Chapman Ford in particular are (pick 2-3 pieces of art and describe as favorites), bridal receptions are often here, and the bride and groom will often enter through here after signing their papers in the room we originally entered. Known will go to the place many of you have men waiting for, the chapel. Obviously, the first thing you see is this beautiful retable. This was brought here in the ass’s by one of Franks art scouts while in Mexico. It belonged to the De Rays family, who were a very rich tin and silver mining family.
Being in financial straits, Mr… Miller purchased this piece of Mexican Cedar with gold leaf for the sum of $5000, and a total of almost $6,500 after paying all permits and such. The item arrived in 36 crates and no instructions on how to put this together. So with only a photo to work with, Mr… Millers craftsmen put this back together without nails and screws, using only the dowels it was built with. If you notice to the sides of the room, you will see six beautiful stained glass windows. A few years after the incident with, Tiffany, Mr… Miller was in New York visiting, and he got a call from Mr…
Tiffany. These had been the windows from his church he had made, and after the church was torn down, the windows reverted back to Mr… Tiffany. So, a meeting was held and nobody is exactly sure what took place, but we assume these windows were a prized possession of Mr… Tiffany, and he probably knew that such great things would be well cared for in the hands of man who refused to sell his prize bell at any cost. So, we now have these beautiful Tiffany windows to display. The windows on your left were made to enhance outdoor light, and those on the left to reflect indoor light.
Those on the left have no natural light anymore, so we have artificial lighting between the walls to display them. Finally, you may notice there are decorations from several faiths here, this is not a consecrated church, so people of all faiths have been known to come worship and find solace. There is a tile from the Bah faith, over here a Jewish menorah that was given as a gift by a family ho found peace here after losing a child. Now, as we leave, would like to direct your attention to the doors, in a nod to ancient cathedrals, there used to be large doors for men on horseback to come through to be blessed before going out to battle.
Mr… Miller duplicated this here. These are today used often by brides to assist their grand entrance! Next we will make our way to the Oriental courtyard and the Ho o sank. During world war two, this area was converted to Polynesian and basically became an unofficial officers club. Bob Hope came here for US shows and such. Many many March FAA events held here. Now we will enter the the Ho o Sank. While you come in, be sure to look up and see the front of this carving. That carving is called the Mandarins Journey. It took one man several years to complete and it details the journey of a man through enlightenment.
It used to be more visible, but had to be covered by the windows to preserve it. You see here our famous Buddha. The jewel is still in tact and has been restored. Unfortunately, in times past, there was not much care given to the Buddha. It was once even used as a bar! Now you will see the Chinese story of the phoenix. Their version is the Ho O. Here it is depicted. Ho and O are two birds depicting male and female. The Ho and O come from heaven and bestow gifts and good fortune on people. When they are here, they are present a time of prosperity, when they are gone, they represent times of disorder.
We like to think about the Roberts family as like our Ho and O. They came to bestow prosperity upon the Mission Inn after the years of chaos between Frank Millers death and the ass’s when the city owned it. For decades, various people and groups tried to operate the hotel to no avail. It went through multiple owners, none succeeding, hand after hand, the Ho and O were gone room the hotel causing chaos and disorder until their return in the form of the Roberts family who came without the goal of making a huge profit off the hotel, but to preserve an important Riverside legacy.
We are now in our second golden age of prosperity. As you can see above, there is pottery collected by Kelly Roberts, as they continue the Millers vision to bring artifacts from all over the world to display at the hotel. Now we will go to the final wing of the hotel and the newest edition, the International rotunda. The international Rotunda was where peace conferences were healed. The various offices were used as a sort of breakout room for various meetings. These plates surrounding were postage stamps from respective countries represented in the meetings.
Andrew Carnegie is featured here as he was a primary financier of the meetings. If you notice, there are holes at the base of the lights which were used for the flags of the countries. Also, if you see the metalwork, you will see there are initials beginning often with p or s. The up’s represent the padres, the ‘s’ represent missions. Up top there is the grandest hotel suite. Barbara Stranded was the first guest. The Roberts stay there hen visiting as they often do, and Schwarzenegger and President Bush have stayed there.
Off to the side, you will see the Anne Rice Suite. She actually wrote two of her books there, including the book ‘Angel Time’ which opens and closes right here in the Inn. At the bottom of the stairs in the hallway, I point out the ship doors, statue of liberty based stairway, and bird home. Outside the door, tell the barber story, and then close up the tour. Walking back, I give some information on the city today and festival of lights. Back to museum I end with the photo of Roosevelt planting the navel orange tree.