By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection
TITLE: DEER LODGE PARK — BEGINNINGS: This week’s image is a photo from 1923 or 1924 of the Lodge during construction. On the left part of the building is the Lodge and on the right the Dance Pavilion. Deer Lodge Park is a development located a little north of Lake Arrowhead. In May 1923 320 acres (a half section of land) were purchased from F.G. Stickney for $50,000 by John W. Benson of the Benson Land Company and Fritz H. Krause. This property was heavily forested with timber that had never experienced a fire and included five large springs, and had Grass Valley Creek running through it. From the very beginning the intention was to subdivide part of the property to sell to people to build vacation cabins. Plans for construction of the Lodge began immediately and it was ready for use by mid-1924. By June of 1923 ads could be found in the Los Angeles papers marketing lots in Deer Lodge Park for as low as $160 with $5 down and $5 a month. Ten percent of the funds from the purchase of the lots went back into the development for the building of roads and water systems. In addition, a five percent special tax was levied to help maintain the roads. The lots sold quickly with many people buying multiple lots. Access to the lots had two primary routes – the desert route from Hesperia (which had been the 173 at one time) and up Waterman Canyon. In a 1925 letter to property owners in Deer Lodge Park Arthur “Art” Olson talked about all the great things that the resort would have including a swimming pool, showers, stable for renting horses, and tennis courts. At this time Art Olson was the proprietor of the Dance Pavilion and the General Store. Story to be continued next week.