Just west of downtown Riverside is a famous vertical city park and historical landmark known as Mount Rubidoux, a range within the San Bernardino Mountains.
At the summit is a white cross and rock steps for climbing, sitting, or participating in the Easter Sunrise Service. As a matter of fact, Mount Rubidoux is the site of the oldest existing sunrise service in the United States.
No, we didn’t attend, but on Holy Saturday evening we just happened to be watching the PBS channel, KCET. California’s Gold was on, written, produced, and hosted by Huell Howser. His show highlights small towns, places of interest, and events in California not well known to the general public. His thick Tennessee accent, impromptu interviews with local residents, and candid exclamations of, “How about that!” make his show quirky, informative, and entertaining.
California’s Gold aired from 1991-2012, shortly before his death in 2013 at the age of 67. (en.m.wikipedia.org) Re-runs continue nightly on KCET TV.
His show about Mount Rubidoux piqued our interest, especially since Riverside is only 33 miles from Lake Elsinore.
So, the Tuesday after Easter finds us on the 2.7 mile paved loop trail exploring Mount Rubidoux.
A Brief History of Mount Rubidoux
In 1906 Frank A. Miller,
owner of Riverside’s Mission Inn, a luxury hotel and spa,
partnered with Henry E. Huntington
and Charles M. Loring
to purchase the hills, forming the Huntington Park Association. They built a road to the summit and established a park for the city of Riverside. (en.m.wikipedia.org)
In 1907 a cross was placed at the top of the mount and dedicated to Father Junipero Serra, the founder of so many missions in California. (totallymtrubidoux.org) (You may recall him from my post on Mission San Juan Capistrano.)
The first annual non-denominational outdoor Easter Sunrise Service was held here in 1909. More than 200 people attended. (totallymtrubidoux.org) Each year attendance increased reaching a peak of some 30,000 people in the 1920s. (en.m.wikipedia.org)
In 1925 the Peace Tower and Friendship Bridge were built to commemorate the Millers’ philanthropies. (totallymtrubidoux.org)
In 1955 Frank Miller’s heirs donated the land to the city of Riverside. The name changed from Huntington Park to Frank A. Miller Mount Rubidoux Memorial Park. (en.m.wikipedia.org)
City Views and Spring Wildflowers