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The Collection | The Miller Family

The Miller Family

The year is 1925, Frank Miller is overseas, visiting Japan. His friends construct a Peace Tower and bridge atop Mt. Rubidoux in his absence. Both celebrate Miller’s efforts to achieve world peace.

It is now October 10, 1936. Twenty-one mountains in Southern California erupt in a mass of flares that split the night’s darkness from the Salton Sea to Riverside. A task force of twenty-two Boy Scout troops scattered on promontories from Indio to Elsinore ignite the spectacular display that announces the dedication of Frank A. Miller Peak, a prominent summit near Mt. San Jacinto. This is how Southern California remembered the life of Francis Augustus Miller, the “Master” of the Mission Inn, though he had passed away the previous year. More

  Frank Miller Photos

Frank Miller’s vision of California’s past resulted in a hotel unlike any other in California.  It was almost like a movie set.  It represents no one culture or place in the world.  In one area of the hotel, you could be in Madrid, Spain; in another, outside a temple in Kyoto, Japan. Miller’s efforts have been likened to the creation of Disneyland.  No wonder visitors were and even now, confused as to the origin of the hotel.  It was a fantasy. More


Allis Miller, the only child of Frank and Isabella Miller, was born in the Glenwood Hotel in 1882. She had an extraordinary childhood. The Glenwood Hotel was her home and it was also her playground. It was at a time in Riverside when the orange industry was rapidly expanding. Riverside was no longer a small, dusty town. More

  Three Tiered Desk

Frank Miller succeeded in a business where others failed. He capitalized on many opportunities, including the loss of another Riverside hotel to a fire. His formal education was limited. In fact, his future wife Isabella Hardenberg, became his teacher. More

  Isabella Hardenberg’s School Desk

Born in Indiana in 1853, Isabella Hardenbergh was educated at the University of Wisconsin. She arrived in California in 1875. She was Riverside’s first teacher and one of the first boarders at the Miller family’s Glenwood Hotel. More


Frank Miller had a strong affection for the cultures of Asia, the people and their decorative arts. His interest may have begun when Wilson Crewdson, the Curator of Japanese Art at the British Museum visited Riverside and the Glenwood. Other events in Miller’s life contributed to his nearly life-long fascination and interest in the Asian cultures and the Asian people. More

  Promotional Sign

Frank Miller was a enterprising entrepreneur. He sought many ways to encourage people to visit his Mission Inn. The sign on the car was just one of many methods and ideas Miller utilized. Sometimes he would travel to Blythe on the California-Arizona border to greet train passengers headed for Los Angeles. He presented oranges to the travelers while encouraging them to stop in Riverside. More


From a very early age, Frank Miller was encouraged to keep a diary. In these small books, Frank recorded his daily activities, the weather, the people he came into contact with, and even, his feelings about people and events. He was not happy moving to Riverside. More

  Family Photos

The Glenwood Hotel, and later, the Mission Inn, was a family run business. Parents, wives and husbands, brothers, sisters and in-laws, children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews worked at the hotel. They served in a variety of capacities and even had roles in the annual Nativity Play performed in the Cloister Music Room. Frank Miller portrayed Father Serra, a fitting role for the patriarch of the Mission Inn. More

  Marion Clark Miller

Born in Mankato, Minnesota, Marion Clark came to Riverside with her family when she was seven years old. She would become a stenographer and secretary to Mission Inn owner Frank Miller. Two years after Miller’s first wife, Isabella, died, he married Marion Clark. More

  Wedding Banner

Allis Hardenbergh Miller married DeWitt Vermilye Hutchings on September 13, 1909 at the Mission Inn. Mr. Hutchings, a graduate of Princeton University, met Allis when visiting the hotel the previous year. Allis and DeWitt were very involved in the daily operation of the hotel and took over the management after Allis’ father passed away in 1935. It was not an easy task to “follow in the footsteps of a great man.” For almost the next 20 years, they ran the hotel. More

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