April 30, 2020

TITLE: LAKE ARROWHEAD RESORT: Lake Arrowhead was completed and would become established as a tourist destination in the early 1920’s. Lake Arrowhead Village was completed and had its official opening on June 24, 1922, to much fanfare and promotion. The next order of business was to build a world-class hotel. A.L. Richmond was the owner of the exclusive Arlington Hotel in Santa Barbara. He undertook the task of building a luxury resort for this new up-and-coming area. The architect chosen was McNeal Swasney and the two developed plans for the project that would create a resort that would be in harmony with its surroundings, using as much local building material as possible. Construction began swiftly and hundreds of masons and carpenters were used. The Arlington Lodge had its grand opening on June 23, 1923 and was host to a thousand guests, most of whom belonged to high society. There was a midnight champagne party and guests danced to an orchestra, some on the spacious terrace overlooking Lake Arrowhead glowing in the moonlight. The hotel boasted a massive lobby which was called the Great Hall. This week’s image is a real photo which shows this impressive architectural achievement. The room boasted 45-foot high ceilings and a huge fireplace. On the other end of the lobby was a grand curved staircase. A fire in 1938 burned the hotel to the ground but it was rebuilt quickly, retaining much of its former style. Many actors, directors and producers stayed at the Lodge over the years, some while shooting around the lake. In December 1976 the hotel was torn down, followed by the razing of Lake Arrowhead Village in April 1979. The new Village opened in 1981 and later that year construction began on a new 176-room resort which opened in November 1982 as the Lake Arrowhead Hilton Lodge. After another ownership change in 1989 the resort was purchased by the Benchmark Resorts and Hotels chain in 2018. By Ken Brafman, Image from Benchmark Resorts Archive.

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