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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mission Inn Hotel

What place could even come close to comparing to the insanity of Winchester Mansion? Mission Inn Hotel. This building began as a 12-room adobe boarding house called the Glenwood Cottage, built by civil engineer Christopher Columbus Miller in 1876. After his death, Miller's son Frank took over the business. He gave it a new name, Mission Inn, and gradually expanded the hotel until the day he died in 1935. The 12-room structure grew to 239 rooms extended over an entire city block.

His vision for the building extended many styles including Moroccan, Mediterranean, Chinese, Turkish, Babylonian, Spanish, Oriental, Italian Renaissance, and Gothic-Hawaiian. The building contains narrow passageways, exterior arcades, a medieval-style clock, a five-story rotunda, innumerable patios and windows, castle towers, minarets, a Cloister Wing (with Catacombs), flying buttresses, Mediterranean domes and a pedestrian sky bridge. The reason for some of the complexity was tailored to Frank's height challenged sister. Miller also traveled the world bringing treasures back to display in his hotel. This includes his bell collection containing over 800 bells, one dating back to the year 1274. The value of some of the artifacts is estimated well over $5 million.

Pat and Richard Nixon were married in one of the two wedding chapels. Ronald and Nancy Reagan honeymooned there as well. The Presidential Lounge pays homage to 10 U.S. presidents who have visited the hotel.The bar stands where President Theodore Roosevelt once slept during his visit in 1903. Other presidents who have visited include Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. A chair stands in the lobby specially made for President William Howard Taft. Miller heard about the incident when Taft was stuck in the White House bathtub and had the chair made for the banquet held in his honor.

Numerous entertainers have also passed through the doors including Clark Gable, Harry Houdini, Bette Davis (married at the inn in 1945), Cary Grant, the Osbournes, Ethel and Drew Barrymore, Governor Schwarzenegger James Brolin and Barbara Streisand. Social leaders such as Susan B. Anthony, Henry Ford, Booker T. Washington, Joseph Pulitzer, and Helen Keller. Carrie Jacobs-Bond wrote the lyrics of her famous song "A Perfect Day" during her stay at the Mission Inn in 1909.

After Miller died in 1935, his daughter and son-in-law Allis and DeWitt Hutchings managed the inn until their deaths in 1952 and 1953. Then ownership shifted hands a multitude of times. Some of the older rooms were even converted in to apartments. The building was at one point on the brink of being demolished. In December 1992, the Inn was sold to Duane R. Roberts, a Riverside businessman, and lover of the Inn and was reopened to the public shortly after.

With someone who puts so much love and history in to a place, why would they want to leave? The Miller family is believed to haunt the location. Guests have reported hearing beautify singing coming from empty rooms, large blue lights floating in the air, touched and pushed by unseen hands, and equipment malfunctioning. Apparitions have been seen walking hallways, floating near the ceiling in the Dining Room, and the storage building behind the hotel.


Anonymous said...

I was there December 15, 2010 for the first time. As I walked down the main hallway I saw a man in a suit standing at the side of one of the doors and another standing at the next door as if they were inviting me to enter. It was as if you could almost look right through them or they were in another dimension. I did not look back but I sensed they were still there.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

In late June 2011 we stayed one night at the end of the 4th floor Author's row in the Northest corner room 405 which is supposedly proximate to the room that Frank Miller resided while living. We were awakened by a repetitive walking on the roof in the wee hours of the night. Perhaps 40 cycles of the walking were heard over a two hour period. It wsa not frightening, and only slightly annoying. I feel sympathy for Mr Miller (if it was he) being stuck there for all eternity in his masterpiece.

Anonymous said...

I just stayed there to celebrate my birthday this weekend. I was in the last room on the top floor in 407. I couldn't sleep all night, I felt a presence, but I thought it was just me. Then, I heard my friend's voice calling out to me in the dark saying she was sorry if she woke me up tossing and turning, but I wasn't even aware that she was awake as well until she called out to me. The little few winks I did get during the twilight, I dreamt that I was floating down long hallway corridors and faces were coming out of the walls. I found out after I checked out that there are catacombs underneath the Inn - SCARY. I never saw long enclosed hallway corridors because we were staying on the top level at the very end and you access this floor via an elevator and walk along a balcony path to the suite's door. I never walked any hallways in the hotel during my stay, so I wondered why I dreamt of it like that, then I found out about the catacombs - which are closed off. Also, in the same dream, I saw 2 boy children, trapped in rooms, as if the room was built around them with only an 8"x8" inch opening on the floor that I could look into their rooms, if I knelt down and placed my head down to the floor. One boy handed me photos, one of his mother and one of his father, both looked like photos from early 1900s from the clothing and the glasses the mother was wearing, I especially remember what the mother looked like distinctly. when his arm passed through the opening it glistened a translucent silver, so I knew they were ghosts in the dream due to this. I've since checked out and I'm home all cozy in my own place, but yet again I dreamt of the 2 ghost children last night. In my dream last night, I returned to the Inn and I was touring a closed off living area of the Inn (don't even know if there is a closed off living area - it was a dream) anyway, I wanted a candle to carry to see if the flame flickered, thereby thinking I would know when a spirit was near. But, before one could be given to me by the faceless others accompanying me, I walked into an unknown room and suddenly I felt a vice grip on my whole body and chills all over, I couldn't move and then as I looked around, again I saw something to do with the two children I dreamt of the night I stayed at The Mission Inn, I saw their beds, both beds in one room, I could not see them, but I awoke in the middle of the night TERRIFIED! to the sound of my son's cellphone going off loudly in the other part of the house, so I dashed out and scolded him for someone calling so late at night, but when he looked at his phone, he said "why are you calling me?". I was speechless, I returned to my bedroom, found my blackberry and sure enough, his number had been dialed. I left the lights on for awhile after that. There's no explanation how this could have happened. And to make matters worse, my phone is frozen and will not work, ever since this happened. I've disconnected the battery and tried to unfreeze it by connecting the battery several times, the red off button is not working to turn it off and on, none of the buttons are working!

Help, the ghosts of the Mission Inn are haunting me, even though I've checked out!

Said in jest, but seriously, it's freaking me out. Sincerely.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thats awesome...yet I wonder if your dreams will uncover something that should be uncovered, as it would seem that the boys were trapped somewhere, like maybe murdered and buried under the building, possibly. I am so like interested also, as to why they would not allow tours everywhere on that property, as it is a part of history. Quite a few years ago, about ten or so, a girl friend and I snuck into the area of the mission that was being worked on. It was an amazing journey, but, what was so weird, was we got lost in the maze of twisted byways, bearly any room to walk areas, that were covered with plastic and materials to cover areas that they did not want to damage. We saw many antiques, many hidden passages to no place we wanted to venture into, because we were trying to find our way out basically. It took us at least 2 hours at least find a way to get out of the maze. We discovered many many passageways that were to deep and dark to continue going into, for fear we wouldnt ever get outta there. I looked at my girlfriend, and her eyes told me she was frightened to death. I never ever talked to her again since, she just disappeared one day, and I still do not know what happened to her. So amazing, I wish to go back, and face my fears. Email me if you wish

Anonymous said...

There's definitely stuff going on at the mission inn! I actually worked there for a while and I had 2 paranormal experiences, I did saw a man on a room and went to check and it wasn't nobody there! It was fun. My other experience, I was told about a picture of a little girl around it, when I finally saw the actuall pic went to the area and put my hand on that area like reaching to something and I felt that somebody pulled my shirt, somebody kinda small like a little girl or something! I was so thrill about it!

Anonymous said...

I got married at the Mission Inn in 2009 , our presidential suite was not haunted , but we were too drunk to notice ! Later when we got our wedding photos , I noticed something strange in 1 photo.. We had our reception in the Spanish Art Gallery and at the top corner of the staircase it looks like the Grim Reaper !! So scary cus I don't believe in this stuff but it really does look like it . I'd like to show the manager at the mission inn to see if I am the only one who has seen this ?! Other than this , no other complaints . I always go there , it's beautiful !

Anonymous said...

I just got home from the mission inn two nights ago, thick eeriness is in the hallways and it feels like anything at any time can jump out at you or grab you at anytime. Plus the old creepy benches in the halls look like they used to have dead people lined up on to take their photos after death. Beautiful hotel but definitely very very creepy and very haunted. Guest service is also terrible on another note.

Anonymous said...

June 2,2013
After having pizza in the mall across the street from the Mission Inn, my wife and two daughters and I decided to walk over and visit the Inn. We came in from the side off of main street and entered the building. Checked out the lobby and spanish patio where we were approached by a strange woman I took to be some sort of docent who encouraged us to explore the chapel, take the elevator to the first floor and go around to the right. Before we went my wife wanted to look at some old pictures on the wall she remembered from an earlier visit and wanted to share with us. We never found them but did enter a room across from the presidential bar area I took to be the music room. No one was in there and I think we should not have been either. It was dark and deserted but with daylight coming in from the side window we wanted to check it out as both girls are musicians. I encouraged one of the girls to play an old piano on the stage which is on the north side of the room, it was real pretty beneath some old stained glass windows. The sound was haunting and I think now that was what woke up whatever spirits are in there. After a few minutes the hair on my neck and arms were standing and we all felt like we should get out of that room though no workers came and asked us to leave. We proceeded to the elevator and rode to the first floor. That elevator was really small and creepy in its own right. At the first floor we were happy to find we had access to a walkway overlooking the spanish patio and had found the way to the chapel. The chapel doors were locked and my daughters ran up a small staircase to the right and we we waited for their return. They popped out a couple floors above us and said they found a spiral staircase which turned out to be the rotunda, as my wife and I ascended to meet them they apparantly found another much narrower spiral stairway and my daughter felt a small hand tug at her top as she descended. It scared the heck out of her and was evident to me she was not playing. She also heard something while in the restroom on the third floor behind the chapel and said she screamed though her sister nor my wife or me heard it even though we were right outside, it was as if her scream had been muted. We all began to get this feeling of something in our presence and it was totally freaking us out. Mind you this is about 4o'clock in the afternoon. I can only imagine what this place is like at 3am on a foggy night. So my wife goes to use the same restroom and hears something making a strange sound also and I say it is time to leave, It was like slow motion finding our way back to the right stairs to leave, we wern't going to take a chance on that elevator again. As we were exiting the front doors there is a huge bird cage and the birds were sleeping when we came in but now one of them was laughing in this horribly vincent price sort of way like it knew what had just happened to us and it looked right at me and laughed. I have never,ever had anything freak me out so much as this. There is a real presence at this place!!

Anonymous said...

I went there myself a few.months ago and me and my friends were on the balacony looking for our other friend that went missing then out of no where this girl in a bright white dress came though the balcony wall and started running after us....then we ran in the.bulding to see that she was gone when she was just right behind us a second ago..but turns out our friend that went missing was.downstarirs the whole was a freaky experence me and my friend will never forget ..but we plan on going back soon to see if we sew her again

Anonymous said...

We were there over there this past weekend (December 2014). My sisters in law and brother in law went exploring around 10 pm. On a third floor balcony, they were preparing to take photos with their iPhones, and the phones all went dead, completely. When they returned to their rooms, the phones were working

Anonymous said...

If you leave the gost alone and if they bother you then make sure that your nice to them and if they try killing you idk what to say and if this dose not work good give them your pleasure to let them be in your family for the rest of the time trip and TREAT THEM LIKE YOU WANT TO BE TREATED CAUSE THEY CAN KILL YOU and never let them down if there nice

PS.I can sorda see gost and talk to them so please take my advise beacuse I don't want you dieing

Anonymous said...

Yeah right like your saying LLLLIIIIIIEEEEEE

Sabrina said...

I was there with my boyfriend and we stated in Mission Inn for the week last week. I did not know it was haunted until the next day. According to my boyfriend he saw a white cloudy presence over the room which he did not tell me until we were leaving. I felt such a strange vibe when I was by myself in the room. The 2nd day I walked the grounds by myself and was a little shaken since my friend posted on fb that it was indeed haunted. I drove over to LA, when I was driving back to Riverside, a car rear-ended me. We tried to make the best of the week, and we finally decided to go swimming that night around 830pm. I had this horrific feeling that someone wanted to drown me. Once out of the water I had this relaxing feeling and wanted to just lay out. When we got back in the room, the sheet was laid over the bed and under the bed was the comforter. I asked my boyfriend if he did that and he was like no. And we did not maid service all week with the privacy sign up. The Friday we were leaving, I went to pick up my boyfriend from his training, and went to start my car from listening to the radio and the battery died. All I know was Riverside ghosts either did not like me or wanted me to stay forever. But I'm glad to be home in the North Bay where it's safe!



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