Frank Miller, the original owner and developer of the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, built the exquisite Saint Francis Chapel to hold the extraordinary gold-leafed Rayas altar and Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows.
A copper plaque to the left of the doors notes that the chapel and atrio were dedicated as the International Shrine of Aviators on December 15,1932.
The words "Francis of Assisi Lover of Birds and Birdmen Patron Saint" festoon a double cross there. Mr. Miller’s chapel thus became a symbol of hope and protection for all who take to the air.
The plaque on the Famous Fliers' Wall is surrounded by 154 pairs of stunning 10-inch copper wings, each dedicated to an individual or a group of fliers.
- General H.H. “Hap” Arnold
- Major General Robert Olds
- Amelia Earhart
- James H. Doolittle
- General Hoyt S. Vandenberg
- Brigadier General Chuck Yeager
- Mercury astronaut and Senator John Glenn
- John K. Northrup
- General Curtis LeMay
- Jacqueline Cochran
- Captain Eddie Rickenbacker
- Charles Lindbergh
- Buzz Aldrin
- Tuskegee Airmen
The MIA – POWs (whose copper wings are wrapped in barbed wire), Orville Wright, the WASPs (Women's Army Service Pilots), and Medal of Honor Aviators are all among those honored.
Michael Coats, former astronaut and current director of NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, mounted his wings on November 15th, 2007. On October 15th, 2009 Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., the second man on the moon, mounted his wings on the Mission Inn’s Famous Fliers’ Wall, becoming the 154th aviator.
The Famous Fliers’ Wall at The Mission Inn has created a true sense of community, not just among all military or all men, but among all fliers.