SCIE ARMA January Meeting

January 18, 2017
12:30 PM PST - 3:00 PM PST
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Mission Inn
3649 Mission Inn Ave
Riverside, CA 92501
Venue website
 Directions

Lunch: 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Mission Inn Restaurant (inside the hotel) 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501 (951) 784-0300

Tour: 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Mission Inn Museum 3696 Main St, Riverside, CA 92501 (corner of Main Street & Mission Inn Avenue)  (951) 788-9556

Topic: Mission Inn Museum & Hotel Tour
Speaker:  Mission Inn’s Curator of Collections & History

About the Museum

Located at the corner of Main Street and Mission Inn Avenue, the Mission Inn Museum features exhibitions examining the hotel’s history and lasting impacts on the Riverside community and beyond. The museum’s collection is significant in demonstrating the periods of Mission Inn development from its beginning as an adobe boarding house in 1876 to the present. Frank Miller, the original owner and developer of the Inn, was an early proponent of the Mission Revival movement, an avid collector of art from around the world, an aviation enthusiast, an original thinker, a marketing genius, and a strong community booster. Miller and his family’s vital role in the development of Riverside as well as the Mission Inn’s place as a center of Riverside civic life for over a century gives the museum a broad range of topics to explore in their revolving exhibitions. The Mission Inn Museum is also the starting point for all docent-led Mission Inn tours and features an extensive museum store with one of a kind products from local artists, unique Mission Inn souvenirs, in addition to a wide selection of books on Mission Inn and local history.

 About the Inn

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 Christopher Columbus Miller arrived in Riverside, began work on a water system, and with his family, began a small boarding house in the center of town. In 1880, his son Frank Augustus Miller, bought the property and gradually improved and enlarged it. Working with prominent architect Arthur Benton, financed by railroad baron Henry Huntington, and inspired by the growing popularity of California Mission tourism and Mission Revival architecture, Miller opened the first wing of the current Mission Inn building in 1903. The building grew in several stages, each new wing demonstrating regional architectural trends and Miller’s own travels throughout Europe and Asia. By 1931, the Mission Inn comprised four wings in a labyrinth of gardens, towers, arches, and winding stairways that encompassed an entire city block. The interior was filled with art and artifacts purchased by Miller from across the nation and around the world, displayed throughout the hotel to enchant and delight guests.

Following his death in 1935, Miller’s family continued operating the Inn for the next two decades until 1956 when it was sold to San Francisco hotelman Benjamin Swig. In an attempt to revitalize the failing Inn, which was losing business to growing tourist hotspots like nearby Palm Springs, Swig sold nearly 1,000 artworks and artifacts from the hotel’s collection and redecorated the Inn in the latest midcentury styles. This effort did little to restore the Inn’s popularity and the hotel struggled through multiple owners and unending financial crises. It was even transformed from a hotel into dorm rooms and private apartments.

Fearful that the hotel would be permanently shuttered and its interior collections destroyed, in 1969 a group of concerned citizens formed the Friends of the Mission Inn, a volunteer organization dedicated to promoting hotel business and safeguarding the historic collections. As the hotel’s financial woes persisted, the City of Riverside’s Redevelopment Agency purchased the Mission Inn in 1976. In 1977, thanks to the efforts of local advocates and government officials, the Mission Inn was designated a National Historic Landmark by the federal government, officially marking the Inn as a site of national historic importance.

After keeping the hotel afloat for nearly nine years, the city sold the hotel to a Wisconsin-based private development firm, which closed the Inn in June 1985 to begin what would become a seven-year $50 million renovation project. With restorations nearly complete in December 1988, the hotel was once again plagued by bankruptcy and languished for three years without a buyer. In late 1992, local Riverside entrepreneur Duane Roberts purchased the Mission Inn and successfully reopened the ?landmark hotel for business.

Tickets

$30.00 SCIE ARMA Members Only

$40.00 Non Members