In 1906, the Huntington Park Association was incorporated by Frank Miller and Henry E. Huntingon with the intention of building a park at the peak of Mt. Rubidoux that would draw people to purchase the lots in the planned subdivision below. Miller had recently purchased 10 Stearns motor cars for local motor touring and the peak offered an impressive view, begging for a road to reach it. In February 1907, the road was dedicated on Washington’s Birthday and the U.S. flag raised at the peak. With Miller as the guide, Mt. Rubidoux became a destination for some of the most celebrated people of the time.
Additional Historical Moments
1907 the first cross was erected, consecrated, and a plaque installed at its base in dedication to Father Junípero Serra, founder of the California Missions
1907 a bronze plaque was installed at the “crossroads” to honor Henry E. Huntington.
1909 First Easter Sunrise Service held at the top of Mt. Rubidoux, attended by more than 200 persons
1909 President Taft traveled to the top of Mt. Rubidoux and dedicated a second plaque to Father Serra
1916 Dedication of the St. Francis Fountain
1923 “Loring Rock” and the Loring memorial tablet were dedicated
1925 the Peace Tower and Friendship Bridge were dedicated in honor of Frank A. Miller
1930 Boy Scout Tablet dedicated in honor of Frank Miller
1934 The Riverside Humane Society dedicated a plaque, installed on the Friendship Bridge, to Japanese Olympian Lt. Col. Shunzo Kido who saved his horse from death while competing in the 22 ½ mile equestrian endurance race in the 10th Olympiad
1935 During Easter Service, tablet unveiled in honor of Dr. Henry Van Dyke
1955 The Miller Family deeded Mt. Rubidoux to City of Riverside
1963 Current cement cross dedicated
1967 California Point of Historical Interest
1969 County Historical Marker #007
1976 Mt. Rubidoux designated as Cultural Heritage Landmark #26
Your Mt. Rubidoux Stories
The community has been sharing some wonderful stories about their history with Mt. Rubidoux. Read them here!
Walking with History
Today, when you walk up the trail to the Serra Cross, you are in company of some remarkable individuals who have stood at the peak of Mt. Rubidoux and drawn inspiration. Beginning in the early 1900s, Frank Miller enticed some of the most celebrated people of the time to drive up his state-of-the-art macadam road to enjoy the view. Here are few that we know about.
Frank A. Miller (1858-1935)
Frank Augustus Miller’s family moved to Riverside in 1874 where his father worked as a surveyor and engineer. The family built and ran a boarding house in downtown Riverside, which Miller later purchased from his father. Inspired by the mission revival, Miller added wings and feature than ultimately transformed it into the Mission Inn Hotel. He also managed the Loring Opera House. Miller was one of Riverside’s strongest promotors and a steadfast civic leader.
At a time when few women were popular composers, Carrie Jacobs-Bond was not only popular, but formidable. When pushed aside by the male-dominated music industry, she started her own music publishing business. Unlike most composers, this meant that she owned the rights to all of her music. She published 200 songs and sold almost 20 million copies of sheet music, becoming the most successful female composer of her day and reportedly earning more than $1 million in royalties by 1910. One of Jacob-Bond’s most popular songs, A Perfect Day, was written after an inspirational view from the peak of Mt. Rubidoux.
Ida Tarbell, leading “muckraker” journalist (1857-1944)
An investigative reporting pioneer, Ida Tarbell is perhaps best known for exposing the unfair practices of the Standard Oil Company, leading to a U.S. Supreme Court decision to break its monopoly. The piece titled “The History of the Standard Oil Company” was published in 19 parts in McClure’s in 1902.
John Muir, noted conservationist (1838-1914)
Wilderness explorer, early advocate for the creation of a national park system, and founder of the Sierra Club, John Muir remains one of conservation’s most eloquent spokesmen. Muir’s legacy of passionate writings on conservation remain quoted and inspirational to this day. Born in Dunbar, Scotland, he moved to the United Sates as a boy, and today is celebrated in both countries as an environmental hero.
Booker T. Washington, African-American civil rights leader (1856-1915)
Educator and civil rights activist, Booker T. Washington was one of the foremost African-American leaders of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Born into slavery, after the Civil War he put himself through school becoming a teacher and ultimately founding Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, which is now known as Tuskegee University.
William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States (1957-1930)
William Howard Taft served as president from 1909-1913 and a chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1921-1930. He is the only person who has served both of these offices. Following Theodore Roosevelt as president, history often speaks more of his weight than his accomplishments. However, he was an dedicated “trust buster” and broke up more monopolies in four years than Roosevelt managed in his two terms as president.
Warren G. Harding, 29th President of the United States (1865-1923)
Warren Harding served as president from 1921 to 1923, running on a platform of “a return to normalcy” in the aftermath of World War I. Harding favored pro-business policies and improved and expanded the nation's highway system. During his term the federal government invested $162 million in our highways, bolstering the economy. He died unexpectedly in San Francisco in 1923, and was succeeded by Vice President Calvin Coolidge.
John Burroughs, environmental essayist and conservationist (1837-1921)
John Burroughs was a teacher, a farmer, a clerk in the Treasury Department and an American essayist and naturalist. He was friends and peers with Walt Whitman, John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt, often camping with them in the wilderness. He is best known for his biography of Walt Whitman and is famous for his love of birds.
Prince Tsunenori Kaya (1900-1978)
A career military officer, Prince Kaya rose to the rank of commander of the Third Imperial Guard Division. Prince and Princess Kaya undertook a seven-month world tour in 1934 at which point they visited Mt. Rubidoux. When Japan moved from an imperial, totalitarian state to a democracy, Prince Kaya, his family, and others not as closely related to the Imperial Family were divested of their imperial status. Today the emperor and his direct family are considered “the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people” rather than a ruling party.
While you can no longer drive up to the top, the hike to Mt. Rubidoux Peak remains one of the most popular hiking trails in Southern California. Which historical figure do you wish you could stroll up the mountain with?