Sunday, January 25, 2009

Brookdale Lodge

If you look closely, the sign above reads: "Wishing Well For Crippled Children" (and above that, there's a bullhorn for some reason). By typing those non-PC-by-today's-standard search words into my beloved Google (hey, even Victorian gentlemen love a good search engine) I learned that this photo was taken outside a place called Brookdale Lodge, located in the mountains near Santa Cruz. And what a fascinating past this place has!

It was built in the 1920s and featured a very innovative feature: a dining room with a live stream, lined with trees, flowing through the middle of the room -- with fish, even! It was decorated with trees and had a rustic lodge style of architecture. It also had a round window that was lit to appear as moonlight coming through trees. It became famous because of this fascinating dining room, and many celebrities including Marilyn Monroe and even Herbert Hoover visited it. People could fish in the stream from balconies in side of the lodge. However, the lodge is also known for it's more notorious side since it is rumored to have been a gangster hideout during the 30s and 40s (and there are said to have been several murders there) tragedy struck when the young neice of the owner drowned in the dining room in 1972. There are many people who claim to have seen her ghost since. Since that time, the lodge has undergone several face lifts, a few owners, and a change of focus from "lodge" to "spa." I read some online reviews of the Brookdale Lodge of today, and some seemed to suggest that the place is not being kept up well. That's too bad, if so.

However, I enjoyed learning about this place, and it's an interesting find. On the back of the photo I have it reads: "Clarence & Joe. Wishing well California."

I wonder how much money the "Wishing Well For Crippled Children" ended up earning. I can only hope it helped someone as a way of counterbalancing all of the weirdness this place seems to bring!