Mission Inn~

The historic Mission Inn which occupies several blocks in downtown Riverside California is the largest Mission Revival building in the United States.

The Inn was built in 1902 by an engineer named Christopher Columbus Miller. His son Frank expanded his father’s original efforts, and added wings, rotundas, chapels, museums and galleries.

The building contains a mixture of Spanish Gothic, Moorish and Mediterranean revival architectural styles. There is a Spanish Wing, an Alhambra Wing, and flights of fancy everywhere you look.

Frank Miller traveled the world collecting museum quality treasures to fill the inn, including what some say is the oldest bell in in the new world dating from 1247.

There are two chapels on the property including the one pictured dedicated to St Francis of Assisi.

Louis Tiffany designed two of the mosaics in the chapel.

The Rotunda Wing features a five story open air staircase.

The rotunda tops a suite dedicated to the writer Anne Rice.

Presidents, world leaders, and many famous folk have stayed in the inn over its history and the inn has a presidential lounge dedicated to the many presidents who have stayed here.

The Inn began a period of slow decline in the 1960’s where ownership changed hands multiple times and bankruptcies occurred, eventually forcing the city of Riverside to purchase and close the property for eight and a half years. In 1992, The Historic Mission Inn Corporation purchased the property and reopened it in all its former glory.

I will show you more details and the interiors of this amazing building in my next post. Until then, cheers to you from The Mission Inn in Riverside California~

197 thoughts on “Mission Inn~

  1. What a beautiful building. Fortunately, it didn’t succumb to urban renewal during the 1960’s and 1970’s that demolished many fine historic buildings in downtown Albuquerque and other cities around the country.

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      • I’m intrigued Cindy, in the last picture (and in a couple of others) there is at the top, left of the picture what appears to be a ‘chimney’ or for want of a better word, a ‘tower’ with its own miniature roof and slots, up on the roof. If it is in fact a chimney the architecture for something so ‘out of sight’ so to speak is really telling the story of the love that this architecture brings to even the smallest of details 😀

    • You’ve finally traveled to someplace I’ve been! 😄

      Your beautiful photos bring back great memories of times spent there with my late husband when our children were small. Thank you! ❤

      • I am so glad you have visited here but I am very sorry about the loss of your husband. I am glad you visited here with him and you have these memories. I have no idea why I have never been here before. It was just never on my radar.

    • It is really an incredible place. It has so many wings and nooks and crannies and road overpassing walking bridges, that all I can say is, I need to spend more nights here!

  3. What stunning architecture! I never knew it was there on all my trips through that area. Of course, it’s not somewhere I would frequent but I love all the detail. I hope you are weathering the firestorms out that way and out of harm’s way.

    • Riverside is a place I never visited, I say with embarassment since I have lived in the region all my life, now that I am here in the place, I was clearly wrong. I should have visited here before. You should see their antique street clocks. I am going to come back.
      And thank you, said it right Marlene. Firestorms. This is what they are. Hurricane winds carrying fire with their furious winds. They are scary. The winds carry sparks for miles, and since everything is dry it is forced to ignite.

  4. I can understand that a complex building such as this would require considerable upkeep to maintain its full glory. It looks an interesting place to visit.

  5. Cindy, this is such a glorious building. So much beauty and art has gone intro creating it. I so wish to see it. Meanwhile I will go through your pictures again.
    Thank you.

    Miriam

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  7. Such a beautiful place and many interesting little features…As I was looking through the images my thought was how lovely it would be lit up and then I saw the image with the lighted windows as always superb images, Cindy 🙂 x

  8. A very interesting inn. It does not seem to appear as inn but more of living mansion rather to me. Each floor has different outside designs. If it was a type of inn or hotel today, they all will look similar giving guests similar access , perhaps except one or two floors. I also love how the two side meet too. The place invites to explore through out.

    Great picture tour from the outside of this interesting inn.

  9. It’s beautiful how your pictures capture the magnificence of the architecture and still retain the details that make it feel “homey”. Like the grand fountain of the lions softened with the greenery and the pumpkins. Beautiful duality!

    I can see why it was chosen as a film site. Have you been able to experience any of the amenities?

    • Thank you for such thoughtful perceptions. We stayed a night and toured durying the day. We ate dinner al fresco which was delightful. I hear the spa is wonderful. We do want to return as the holiday lights are said to be incredible.

  10. I’ll be near there in early December. Looks as though I should extend our stay if rooms are available. Thank you, Cindy, for this excellent re-introduction! (Visitted once, but only for lunch.)

  11. Hi Cindy. It was really an amazing treat to view this wonder in your recent adventure. To actually explore and feel its presence must have been magical. <3

  12. Cindy, when your first photo loaded, I tried to figure out where you were this time. I had no idea something this lovely was right here in the U.S.!! You’re right — it looks foreign to me, with all that intriguing architecture, the chapel, mosaics, flowers, and all. I’m eager to see the inside!!

    • Thank you Debbie. I feel just as you do. This was a complete surprise to me and it has been close to me all along. Just goes to show, there is always mystery all around you, waiting to unfold.

  13. Wow, Cindy, what a place. You sold me on “flights of fancy” everywhere. Next time I find myself dashing through Riverside as fast as I can, I’ll slow down. 🙂 –Curt

  14. It is notorious the time and love in each added detail of the building. I recall a comic book writer and penciler, Frank Miller, curiously he has a story with that kind of architecture in his work for Sin City. I suspect this building is so iconic that has to be the inspiration for it. Thank you for share it : )

    • I think the Inn may have been an inspiration for many things. The actual first building was erected in the late 1800’s. And then it evolved in further buildings and enhancements along with the American West. I found the building, and it’s contents utterly fascinating, and way too much to absorb in one overnight say. I know too little about it so I can’t respond accurately as to whether there was a connection between the artist Frank Miller and the Mission Inn Frank Miller. I will tell you this, I am going back, because I am fascinated and want to know and see more. Anne Rice located two of her books here in the same room Paul Newman actually stayed, The Amistad Suite, under one of the cupolas. So many presidents stayed here, they actually have their portraits and the official seal on the floor to the presidential lounge. The greatest thing is I never knew anything about any of this…..

    • Do you like Anne Rice? She placed two of her later novels here. I have only read about her first six or so, but I was a follower, and so were my children. I can see why she resonates with this eclectic old inn.

      • Yep!
        Some pictures remind me a lot of Cuba… Like the Rotunda Wing. I used to go to a place in Havana where they organized concerts and shows that looked a lot like that – except that it was in dire need of some paint and restauration – but that is almost 20 years ago… it may have changed by now… 😉

        • Yes! Interesting isn’t it. It reminds me a lot of Latin America, especially The Colonial Cities. There is such a gorgeous blending of architectural and cultural styles in these cities. There is a hotel named La Casa de la Marquesa in Queretaro Mexico that reminded me of a smaller version of the Inn. Marquesa is the most amazing hotel I have ever stayed in.

    • How are you cuz? It is awesome to hear from you! Mission and Californio architecture is my personal choice for the home I live in. It is old and it is beautiful, unique to the west, but borrowed from old Spain, Asia, and Arabia. It feels like home to me because it is. Hugs to you cuz and be well my friend.

  15. Beautiful architecture. Very picturesque. A treasure trove of history to California’s Spanish heritage. It’s great they could finally find a way to preserve and honor it after the financial setbacks.

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