When I stumbled across the Brookdale Lodge postcard, I loved the look of the log cabin and old cars parked outside. I discovered the lodge is one of the most haunted places in California with a reported 49 ghosts!
Located in Santa Cruz County, California, this area was originally known as Clear Creek. Logging and lumber were the major industries at the time. In the late 1870s, Grover Lumber Mill moved one of their mills from Soquel to Clear Creek. The log cabin in the postcard was the headquarters of the Grover Mill and called Minnehaha, after the falls located above on Clear Creek.
James Harvey Logan, a Santa Cruz judge and creator of the loganberry (a cross between a raspberry and blackberry), purchased the mill in 1900 after falling in love with the area. He created a creekside resort with cabins and camping. He changed the name from Clear Creek to Brookdale, establishing its first post office in 1902.
The next owner, Dr. F.K. Camp, a Seventh-day Adventist physician, bought the building in 1922 and made it into a lodge with cabins. He built the famous Brook Room (postcard below), the dining room with the natural brook running through. People came from all over to dine in this rustic wonder set with ferns, a waterfall, and an arched bridge.
This was the lodge’s heyday with presidents and movie stars as regulars. Famous guests included Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Hedy Lamarr, James Dean, Humphrey Bogart, Shirley Temple, President Herbert Hoover and many more.
Dr. Camp sold the property in 1945. During the 1940s and 1950s, the clientele changed with mobsters and criminals as regulars. Tales abound of underground passageways, secret rooms, and bodies buried beneath the floorboards. Perhaps, this is why the place is so haunted?
There is a theory that constant running water (like the Brook Room creek) creates electromagnetic energy which allows spirits to pass into our world with ease.
Of the reported 49 ghosts, the most famous is the spirit of Gladys C. Logan, the twelve-year-old daughter of James Harvey Logan. In 1923, she fell and hit her head on a rock by the creek, the same creek that runs through the Brook Room. Over the years she has been incorrectly identified as Sarah Logan.
The spirit of Gladys Logan is often seen in a blue and white dress walking through the lobby, playing on the balcony in the Brook Room, and sitting beside the fireplace in the Fireside Room.
The Brook Room also has its sightings. A ghostly woman has been seen walking over the brook as if there were a bridge to support her. The fragrant smell of gardenias in the air when there are none to be found.
Room 46 is also haunted. A former worker said objects would fly across the room and ghosts would appear around her bed. One time she even felt someone on her bed stroke her arm.
In addition to the reported hauntings, there have been several real tragedies. In 1972, a 13-year-old girl tragically drowned in the swimming pool forcing its closure. In 2010, a 35-year-old woman fell into an open construction hole and later died.
Over the years, the historic property has changed hands many times beset by fraud, civil suits, fires, tax problems, and wrongful death cases. There were also vandals and squatters.
In 2011, the Boulder Creek Fire Department closed the property for health and safety reasons.
In 2014, local hoteliers, Pravin and Naina Patel bought the Brookdale Lodge and began the extensive restoration of this historic property that suffered many years of neglect and vandalism.
One of the first things to get a makeover was the old James Dean mural, which hangs on the exterior wall of the lodge.
The first phase is complete with newly renovated rooms, reception, and lounge. Future renovations include the historic Brook Room restaurant, the ballroom, and the Mermaid Room, a pool with underwater views.