Bugsy Siegel’s Former Resort – Club Arrowhead of the PinesJan 3rd, 2011 | By Lindsay | Category: This and That
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. 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.