Search for your location!

Bugsy Siegel’s Former Resort – Club Arrowhead of the Pines

Jan 3rd, 2011 | By | Category: This and That

IMG_9760

Another place that I stalked while visiting Lake Arrowhead this past Thanksgiving was the Bracken Fern Manor country inn, which in the 1930’s was part of a private gambling club/resort named Club Arrowhead of the Pines that was run by none other than legendary mobster Bugsy Siegel.  Because the Grim Cheaper is obsessed with all things mob-related, I knew that this was one location that he would actually be interested in stalking.   Smile  Bugsy came up with the idea of opening his exclusive members-only resort in the late 1920’s, after realizing that Lake Arrowhead was quickly becoming the new playground of the Hollywood elite.  The property, which cost a whopping $1.3 million to construct, opened on July 4, 1929.  At the time, the resort was comprised of three individual buildings consisting of a private gambling club, a brothel, a speakeasy, luxury guest quarters, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, tennis courts, a barbershop, a private gas station, a ski lift, horse stables, and a highly-coveted supply of artesian well water – which was used in the making of moonshine.  Most important of all though, the resort provided its guests with privacy.  In fact, Bugsy had chosen the out-of-the-way, wooded locale due to its extreme seclusion and remoteness.

IMG_9740 IMG_9764

The building that now houses Bracken Fern Manor was known as “The Market” during the time that Bugsy operated the property.  The Market was made up of a soda fountain and a butcher shop on its bottom floor, an icehouse in its basement area, and the top floor housed the now-infamous brothel, aka “The Crib”, where Bugsy employed a crew of wannabe starlets to “entertain” his gentlemen guests.

IMG_9761

The resort’s former Clubhouse, which housed the property’s private gambling club and speakeasy, is now known as the Tudor House and is currently vacant.  The building is located directly across the street from Bracken Fern Manor and still looks very much the same today as it did back in the 1920s.  You can see an old photograph of the Tudor House here.  At the time that Bugsy managed the property there was a secret underground tunnel which connected the Clubhouse to the Market and allowed male guests to travel to the brothel undetected.

IMG_9759

According to the Bracken Fern Manor website, while that underground tunnel has long since been filled in, the door and steps which formerly led down to it are still, in fact, intact.  I am fairly certain that door is pictured above, but unfortunately I could not find anyone to verify that while we were stalking the place.  We did venture inside the inn while we were there as I had really wanted to talk to someone about the property’s storied history, but unfortunately the place seemed rather deserted.  Not to mention it was also completely run-down.  It is DEFINITELY not as nice as it appears on the website.  I had almost booked us a room there to spend Thanksgiving weekend, as I thought the GC would have loved staying in a hotel formerly owned by Bugsy, but after seeing the inside of the place I was so incredibly thankful that I hadn’t.  In fact, my mom told me that if she had had to spend Thanksgiving at the Manor she would have absolutely killed me!  So, while I can’t say that I’d recommend staying at the inn, I would definitely recommend stalking it.  I can’t tell you how cool it was to see the 81-year old property in person and to imagine all of the debaucherous goings-on that took place there during the Prohibition years.   

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: Bracken Fern Manor, aka the former “Market” from Club Arrowhead of the Pines, is located at 815 Arrowhead Villa Road in Lake Arrowhead.  You can visit the inn’s official website here.  The Tudor House, aka Club Arrowhead of the Pine’s former Clubhouse, is located across the street at 800 Arrowhead Villa Road.  You can visit the Tudor House website here.

27472

17 comments

Leave a comment »

  1. Sandra Wade says:

    What was the name of the camp for the Parent Trap movie. We are going for a tour of the Tudor House on Monday. I have been on the mountain on and off since the early 50′s. Living and camping.
    For anyone interested a new company has been hired to update Lake Gregory recreation area. Check out http://www.RIMoftheWorld.net

  2. gina says:

    My mom worked at the tudor house in the early 80′s when it was an antique shop…with the owner John….I remember visiting as a kid….and going into the basement…the smell of rose perfume….

    • Cheryl says:

      The website for Bracken Fern Manor is closed and so is the inn as of March, 2010. I am the former owner and am suing the present owners and occupants for fraud. Bracken Fern Manor was a beautiful property with a successful high end B&B and is not to be compared with the drug rehab occupants that have trashed the property. You bet it´s deteriorated. That´s one of the reasons for the lawsuit.

      • Sharon Sprigg says:

        Cheryl, So sorry this all happened t o you. I used to stay at Bracken Fern with you on occasion and really loved it. Hope all is going well for you now. We miss you.

        • Cheryl says:

          How delightful to hear from you, Sharon Sprigg. I remember you. Good guests are never forgotten. I am fine though I miss my beautiful manor and am doing my best to piece my life back together. I really loved what I did. Hope to be a mountain resident again some day.

  3. Jeff says:

    As of September 2013, The Tudor House has reopened as a fine dinning and theater experience. Check it out at http://www.tudorhouseproductions.com

    • Cheryl says:

      Yes, the Tudor House is ACROSSED THE STREET AND IS A SEPARATE PROPERTY FROM former BRACKEN FERN MANOR. which is currently in litigation for Fraud.

  4. Cheryl says:

    Bracken Fern Manor closed in March, 2010. The property changed hands and was then leased out to a drug rehab group.

    Pity, it is.

  5. ralph says:

    Lived down the street from the Bracken Fern …supper nice place then it became a drug rehab place and went to hell….what a terrible shame for an historical landmark.You would think the state of california would protect these historial places.
    THANKS FOR A GREAT HISTORY LESSON

  6. Nick Riesz says:

    My father owned Club Arrowhead from 1948 to 1950 (couldn’t make a go of it in the post WWII economy) and we lived in the club. Repeat IN the club. At that time there was a one bedroom apt. behind the dining room and kitchen. For about a year he had a casino in the basement that the Vegas people set up and ran, but then they wanted more money and he said no, so they left. Yes, this had the tacit approval of the local cops (there were also several slot machines in the dining room). This said, I was nine years old at the time and I’m relying on a rapidly decaying memory. Oh yeah, there was a HUGE fireplace in the center of the club and on the mantle there were several stuffed animals, a bear, a mountain lion, a coyote, maybe an owl. I’m sure somewhere in the records there are pictures of that mantle. I remember, too, there was a small store/cafe and boarding house just up the street. My best friend’s mom owned and ran it. His name was Bobby, can’t recall his last name, but I wanta say Campbell. His father died of throat cancer while we lived there. There was also a water company pump house behind the club which was run by a man named Tim who was once a circus lion tamer and had the scars to prove it. He enthralled all of us with his circus stories!! What else. The elementary school all of us attended in Lake Arrowhead had a rope tow behind it and ankle busting skis we all rushed for at lunch time. Last I heard the school had been converted to a fire station, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been there. I also remember the two winters we spent there. My father had a 1933 Dodge “Betsy” which he parked behind the club and didn’t drive much. It just disappeared under the snow, Couldn’t find it til the spring thaw. We also had a new Ford woody station wagon and during the summer months my mom would fill that thing with all the neighborhood kids and haul us into Lake Arrowhead on Saturday afternoons for the double feature, plus Tom Mix and Flash Gordon serials, plus several cartoons. In those years the beach was open to the public, but as I recall you had to pay 50 cents to get into it. Lotta money then!!
    Another Oh Yeah. There was a realtor there by the name of Jim Sullivan. For what ever reason my mom absolutely HATED that man! No idea why, too many years.

  7. scott says:

    I live about a hundred yards from this place. I grew up hearing all about bugsy and the Tudor house so I was suprised yesterday when I went to the local lake arrowhead history museum and one of the curators informed me that this little trivia fact is false and that te I he never owned these property’s . He claimed that these claims were just tourist propaganda . Keep stalking the mountain because there is a lot of really cool spots and even though I’ve been living here over thirty years I find new ones regularly.!

    • Chas Leon says:

      Sorry Scott, your museum curators response is absolutely erroneous. The underworld figures reputed to own the property never put a Trust Deed in their names, so any record of ownership would not reflect any supportive facts. The Mobsters of that era left zero paper trails, the lessons of Al Capone were forever cemented in thier psychs. Yes, they did own numerous resorts, why else would they have built fortress like buildings with underground tunnels? Their nemesis was and is today the Feds. One naive museum curator cannot erase history. Note, did you know that a well known and successful Toyota Dealership was founded by a made member of the Chicago family? The Mob is alive and well today, despite various reports that the RICCO statutes have devasted them. They’re just flying under the radar. Flashy John Gottie’s are not tolerated any more, and Las Vegas is still active.

    • Cheryl says:

      I owned the property across the street from the Tudor House and it took me 18 months to certify it with the County and the State as a Historical Point of Interest. Most all the mob stories are correct with a couple caveats: although the Chicago bosses did not leave a paper trail, the girls The records are at the Arrowhead Villas Mutual Service Co. I have copies.
      My bet is that the L.A. Museum curator has real estate interests and doesn`t want the “roots” of crime history to surface and impact sales.

      • Michael Kindig says:

        Cheryl, I am researching the Bracken Fern Manor and Tudor House. Would you be kind enough to contact me. I can be reached at “michael [at] kindig [dot] com. I’m having difficulty accessing the Point of Interest record.

  8. Brittany says:

    Cool post! I used to live up there and I had never heard about that. Did you know the 1998 remake of the Parent Trap was filmed up in Crestline? The whole camp/lake scenes were done at an actual camp and by Lake Gregory. I remember what a big deal in town it was when they started filming, and a lot of girls from school even ended up as extras in the movie.


Trackbacks / Pingbacks

Leave a Reply