October 14, 2006
or owner Frank Augustus Miller, the Mission Inn was a celebration of California’s Missions. As “Master of the Inn,” Miller chose to evoke the romance of the Mission Era in his early 20th century idealized version of California’s history. In 1932, he dedicated the Inn’s largest chapel, with the gold Rayas Altar and Louis Comfort Tiffany windows, to Saint Francis of Assisi. Images of St. Francis and Missions founder Father Junipero Serra appeared throughout the hotel. The Mission Inn shield-like escutcheon, designed by artist William Alexander Sharp, welcomed guests with ENTRE, ES SU CASA, AMIGO ("Enter, this is your home, friend"), and included the likenesses of St. Francis, Fr. Serra, a Native American, bells, and crosses. In 1953, five rotating figures were installed at the base of the Anton Clock high above the Spanish Patio: St. Francis, Fr. Serra, a Native American, a California bear, and explorer Juan Bautista de Anza.
Jessie Van Brunt, a stained glass artist and one-time resident of the Mission Inn, dedicated a stained glass window to Frank Miller with the following inscription, “To Frank Augustus Miller, Master of the Inn, Idealist for International Friendship.” In the window, Van Brunt portrayed Miller as St. Francis. This was not out of character, as Miller would occasionally dress in a padres’ cowl. The window appears in the St. Joseph’s Arcade, adjacent to the St. Francis and St. Cecelia Chapels.