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Additional Images
Primary Object
Avery Edwin Field
Title/Object Name
Circa 1931-1960

H - 8 " W - 10 "

Artifact Descriptions

View of the Rotunda of the Mission Inn from the floor of the Mission Inn showing the 6 floors of the Rotunda (including the basement).

The Collections Architecture | Building Methods and Materials
Building methods and materials

Upadated:  February 16, 2007

uilding methods and materials have changed since the Mission Inn opened in 1903. The architects and others who designed the Mission Inn utilized a variety of methods and materials in order to successfully build a structure over many years that does not resemble one uniform architectural style.

When the Mission Wing of the hotel was built in 1902, common construction materials included bricks and mortar. Brick was popular because wooden buildings were more susceptible to fires. Coats of stucco and plaster were applied on top of the brick to give the appearance of adobe walls of the California missions. Later additions utilized concrete reinforced with steel. In many areas of the hotel, one can see the imprint of the wood boards used to create forms for concrete walls and other features. The Galeria on the 1st floor of the hotel features large beams painted a dark brown. Although the beams appear to be wood, they are actually made of concrete. In some areas of the hotel, hollow clay terra cotta tiles appear next to the poured concrete. These mark only some of the materials that make up the Inn.

On April 18, 1906, a major earthquake stuck the San Francisco area, causing tremendous damage; it was felt from Los Angeles to southern Oregon. This earthquake and others, including one in Long Beach in March of 1933 and more recent earthquakes (such as those in Loma Prieta in 1989 and Northridge in 1994), resulted in the development of new building methods and codes to help reduce damage and increase safety. Such measures are reflected throughout the Mission Inn today.

Online Links & Resources

State Historic Building Code California's State Historical Building Safety Board – California State Architect http://www.dsa.dgs.ca.gov/StateHistoricalBuildingSafetyBoard

Architect Bruce D. Judd, FAIA

National Trust for Historic Preservation

California Preservation Foundation

National Register of Historic Places

National Historic Landmarks

California Office of Historic Preservation

City of Riverside Historic Preservation – Planning and Building Department

Gladding, McBean

  • Blumenson, John J. G. (1990). Identifying American Architecture: A Pictorial Guide to Styles and Terms : 1600-1945. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
  • Klotz, Esther H. and Joan H. Hall. (2005). Adobes, Bungalows, and Mansions of Riverside, California Revisited. Riverside, CA: Highgrove Press.
  • Kurutz, Gary F. (1989). Architectural Terra Cotta of Gladding McBean. San Francisco, CA: Windgate Press.
  • Slaton, Amy E. (2001). Reinforced Concrete and the Modernization of American Buildings, 1900-1930. Baltimore, Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press.
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