By Bill Pumford, Image from Bill Pumford Collection
TITLE: SMILEY PARK COUNTRY CLUB: This week’s image is a present-day photo of the clubhouse at Smiley Park Country Club. This has been one of the more interesting housing developments in the mountains. Homeowners have shares in the nonprofit corporation and have 99-year leases on the property. The community is located off Fredalba Road in Running Springs and is PRIVATE PROPERTY. The genesis of the Country Club came from Alfred Smiley who purchased 262 acres next to a logging area in 1895. The intent was to sell lots where people could build vacation cabins. The area at the time was known as Fredalba Park (Fredalba, as the story goes, was a combination of Alfred and Albert Smiley). Upon Alfred’s death in 1903 the property went to his son Fred who, in 1923, sold the property to the National Investment Company for $90,000. At this time, the name was changed to Smiley Park Country Club. Many lots in Smiley Park were acquired via drawing, or raffle, or winning contests. The original bylaws of the corporation prevented any non-Caucasians from owning property in Smiley Park Country Club (not an uncommon practice at the time) but that thankfully was changed in 1970. In the 1920’s the Smiley Park Country Club boasted a clubhouse, service station, dance pavilion, store, water and electricity. By the 1950’s the clubhouse was falling apart and a new one was built – the one in the picture above. Smiley Park went through good times as well as bad. During the mid-1950’s many people were behind in paying for their lots and the Club was in financial difficulty. The Bear Fire in 1970 destroyed a good number of homes in Smiley Park but many people rebuilt, in compliance with the new building and safety codes. Smiley Park Country Club remains in private ownership.