October 8,, 2006
rrank Miller, the owner of the Mission Inn, promoted his hotel in many different ways. The hotel was unique because of the Mission style and its diverse furnishings and art. Many people visiting thought the hotel had been a mission at one time.
Miller and his family collected items that might have been at a mission, including statues of saints, bells from around the world, paintings, and crosses. The collection once numbered more than four hundred crosses of many styles, made from many different materials. A guidebook titled The Bells and Crosses of the Mission Inn provided a description of each bell and cross in the collection. Attached to each cross was a small metal tag with a number. The number of this particular cross is 236. The guidebook says cross 236 is “made from wood of Riverside’s Original Navel Orange Tree," the tree transplanted at the Mission Inn by President Roosevelt in 1903. This tree died in the early 1920s. Legend tells that Mr. Miller had the tree cut up into pieces to be sold as souvenirs. A gavel belonging to the Riverside’s Aurantia Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was also carved from the same tree (http:// www.riversidedar.org, September 18, 2006).