Updated: July 18, 2007
he religious symbolism of the California Missions is embodied throughout Frank Miller’s hotel. Mr. Miller filled the hotel with Christian related objects, including paintings of the Madonna and Child and other similar items. Statues and pieces of sculpture, including a life size figure of a Catholic pope made of wax, paper and wood, were part of his vast collection. Several hundred crosses were displayed in the hotel, collected from all over the world.
Miller looked beyond Christian symbolism. He selected objects with a universal or ecumenical appeal and theme. A Hebrew menorah, given in memory of a parent’s daughter, is in the St. Francis Chapel. Statues of Buddha are throughout the hotel. The most magnificent of the many Buddha, is the seven-foot tall figure in the Ho O Kan Room. Made of wood, lacquer and gilt, the statue of the “Awakened One” sits on a large carved lotus blossom.
No one single item speaks more of the universality than a plaque by the artist Alexander Sterling Calder. It reflects a harmonist view of the world. Miller acquired the piece from the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. A Buddha, totem pole, the crescent moon, a menorah, the Native American swastika, and Jesus Christ with a crucifix are all part of this unique piece of art. At the bottom are the words from Psalm 24, “The Earth is the Lord’s and the Fullness Thereof.”