October 6, 2006
n the Fall of 1909, during his first year as the twenty-seventh President of the United States, William Howard Taft traveled throughout the West and made several stops in Southern California. On October 12, 1909, he visited San Bernardino, Redlands, and Riverside. In Riverside, Taft traveled by car to the top of Mt. Rubidoux where he unveiled a plaque dedicated to Father Junipero Serra, the Franciscan priest who founded the California Missions. After a tour of Riverside, Taft arrived at the Mission Inn.
Earlier in the year, Mission Inn owner Frank A. Miller had a special chair made for Taft. The chair was extra large to accommodate the President, as he weighed in excess of three hundred pounds. According to one story, the large chair offended Taft (Hall,1996).
The Governor of California, United States Senators, and many local dignitaries, including Frank Miller, attended a ten-course meal at the hotel that evening. Taft did not stay at the Mission Inn overnight; after dinner, he left on a train from the Southern Pacific Depot.