Along Highway 395 and the Riverside Downtown/Street Mall is the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa one of Riverside’s most notable Historic Landmarks. It boasts numerous architectural styles but is considered the largest Mission Revival Style Building in the United States. It is currently owned by Duane and Kelly Roberts. Originally it began as a Adobe style boarding house called the “Glenwood Cottage” built by engineer Christopher Columbus Miller on November 22, 1876. The Hotel was purchased by their son in February 1880 and created a full-service hotel by the early 1900’s taking advantage of the Citrus boom, warm weather, and wealthy travelers coming to the area from the East Coast and Europe. In 1902 it was re-named “Glenwood Mission Inn” and that was when various architectural styles were incorporated into its style based on Miller’s vision for eclectic structure drawn from various revivals, influences, and styles including Spanish Gothic, Mission Revival Style, Moorish Revival, Spanish Colonial Style, Spanish Colonial Revival, Renaissance Revival, and Mediterranean Revival Style. The hotel is complicated and intricately built with narrow passageways, exterior arcades, a medieval style clock, a five story rotunda, patios, windows, castle towers, minareets, a Cloister Wing with catacombs, flying buttresses, Mediterranean domes, and a pedestrian sky bridge. Miller was also a world explorer and over thirty years of ownership brought back treasures from around the world to add into the hotel.
The St. Francis Chapel has four large stained glass windows and two original mosaics created by Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1906 that were salvaged from the Madison Square Presbyterian Church. The “Rayas Altar” is in Mexican Baroque style sitting 25 feet tall x 16 feet width made of cedar and covered in gold leaf. There is a Garden of Bells with over 800 bells from all over the world including one dating to 1247. In 1932 he opened the St. Francis Atrio hosting the “Famous Fliers Walls” commemorating notable aviators including Amelia Earheart. Today it has 151 fliers honored on the wall.
After Frank died in 1935 the Inn was run by his daughter and her husband Allis and Dewitt Hutchings. They died in 1956 and from thence forward saw various ownership changes including some of the rooms converted to apartments and used for dorms at UC Riverside. It was almost purchased from St. John’s College for a western campus but lost the bid when John Gaw Meem donated them land in Santa Fe. It was then acquired by the Carley Capital Group and saw massive renovations in 1985. In December 1992 it was sold to Duane Roberts who completed the renovations and reopened it to the public. Today it offers a hotel, spa, outdoor pool, museum, and fine dining. They now host annually a Festival of lights, Pumpkin stroll, and Ghost walks.
Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~
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