Mount Rubidoux

Riverside, California

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.

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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.

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A Brief History of Mount Rubidoux

In 1906 Frank A. Miller,

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owner of Riverside’s Mission Inn, a luxury hotel and spa,

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partnered with Henry E. Huntington

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and Charles M. Loring

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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)

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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.)

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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)

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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

Car Trippin’… Mission Inn

Sunday Driver!

The Mission Inn is an historic landmark hotel in Riverside, California. Jeff and I met John and Amanda there one Sunday afternoon for a tour.

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The History of the Inn:

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in 1874 Christopher Columbus Miller, a civil engineer from Wisconsin, worked on setting up a water system in Riverside. Soon his family joined him and they set up a boarding house in the center of town. By 1880 his son, Frank, took over the property. Inspired by Mission Revival architecture, encouraged by California Mission tourism, financed by railroad tycoon Henry Huntington, and aided by architect Arthur Benton, Frank began enlarging the original boarding house.

The building grew in stages influenced by regional architectural trends and Frank’s travels throughout Europe and Asia. By 1903 the first wing was open. By 1931 four wings were open. The Inn was a labyrinth of gardens, towers, arches, and winding staircases.

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It took up an entire city block and was filled with art and artifacts owned by Miller, to the delight and enchantment of his guests.

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The Inn started losing business to nearby tourist hotspots,  so when Frank died in 1935,  the family sold the Inn to Benjamin Swig, a hotel man from San Francisco. Swig sold off 1,000 pieces of art and redecorated the Inn in mid 1900s style. But the building continued to struggle financially. Eventually the rooms were made into dormitories and private apartments.

Local citizens and volunteers organized into Friends of the Mission Inn in 1969 to promote the hotel and safeguard the remaining art collection.

The city of Riverside purchased the hotel in 1976 and in 1977 the building became a National Historic Landmark. In 1985 the city sold the Inn to a Wisconsin firm which then closed it for renovations over the next 7 years. By 1988 it was bankrupt again. Finally, Duane Roberts, a Riverside resident, purchashed the Mission Inn and reopened it in late1992. (missioninnmuseum.org)

image missioninn.com

image missioninnmuseum.org