Lake Arrowhead, The Rich and the Famous, The Movies and The Legends.
Lake Arrowhead is a small unincorporated community in the San Bernardino National Forest that offers a cool alternative to the smog and haze that covers the San Bernardino Region in the summer time, and in the winter time, those who like the cold snowy Mountains can always find a Château, or Condo for rent hidden away in the forests.....The Lake itself is man made and is about 800 square acres big.
Today, The UCLA Conference Center, a full-service conference facility with lodging and meeting space is located on the north side of the Lake....They also have summer and winter guest cottages for those who wish to spend the week or weekend on the mountain.
Remember Santa's Village, a fairyland setting where Santa's gnomes, elves and little animal friends make up a children's and grownups' paradise the year round.....It had a Lake Arrowhead address but was actually located on the Rim of the World Highway at Rim forest.....I can remember one time my mom and dad came nd got both myself and my sister out of school, on a cold rainy day and with our neighbors and there kids, we all headed up to Santa Village in a very heavy snowstorm....We were the only people there and had what rides were open to ourselves....We all had colds the following weekend.....Santa's Village opened in 1955 and closed 1998, shortly after I took my nieces out of school and took them to the Village, but it was a nice warm day, and the place was packed.
Lake Arrowhead, has been a second home to Hollywood movies since the early 1900’s....The community and Hollywood have worked hand in hand throughout the years to create many excellent and well remembered movies.....The first film shot in and around the lake was The Romance Of The Bar O, starring Bronco Billy Anderson, back in 1911.....Since then, Lake Arrowhead has been used as a double for countries like Switzerland, Canada, Alaska and Kentucky.....Many of the Hollywood stars who have made movies in the area have built and continue to own homes in Lake Arrowhead.
To this day, the log cabins that were built by Hollywood actor Charles Ray, back in 1923 for his epic film The Courtship of Miles Standish, survive and remain in Lake Arrowhead.
Lake Arrowhead and Hollywood have become renowned for their film success.....Some of the more recent films include The American President in 1995 and Space Jam in 1996, starring Michael Jordan and Bill Murray.
The fledgling Moving Picture business came early to San Bernardino Mountains......The public's thirst for adventure films was appeased by tales of the great southwest in the form of the "western"......Los Angeles had already become a mecca for the budding industry by 1909......The San Bernardino mountains beckoned the early film makers with the promises of tall timber and grassy meadows......Location shooting was easy because hunting and fishing lodges were already available to house the film crews......Although films were probably already being made in the mountains, the earliest documentation was an item in the Redlands Daily review, January 19, 1913, indicating that the Selig Bear Valley Co. was in our mountains filming "The Cattle Rustlers".
Cecil B. DeMille first came to Lake Arrowhead in 1913 and he brought with him came a group of actors to film his famous moving picture "The Squaw Man" which was filmed around the Pine Crest Lodge. ....This film was considered one of the first to start a trend toward longer films with quality writing and first class actors.....DeMille returned to the mountains several more times in the ensuing years with many famous silent stars including Gloria Swanson.
The Inland Empire mountains have lent themselves to the western genre of film as well as many a "Mountie" picture.....The golden age for film making in the mountains was during the Twenties and Thirties.....One old timer recalls that there were so many companies up here shooting pictures that they were practically tripping over one another..... Many famous films were shot on location in Fawnskin, Rim Forest, Crestline and Lake Gregory and continue to be made to this day.
Some Notorious Trivia
Bugsy Siegal Bracken Fern Manor, The brainchild of Chicago mobster, Bugsy Siegel, this Alpine style inn was opened as Club Arrowhead in 1929. The state of the art club catered to the rich and famous of Hollywood, offering gambling, illegal liquor, and prostitution. It also offered legal amenities such as an Olympic size swimming pool, skiing, tennis courts, a bathhouse, and more. So successful was the resort, that Bugsy was soon able to convince the bosses in Chicago to front the money for another little gambling spot in the middle of nowhere -- Las Vegas. The brothel, known as "The Crib," continued operations through World War II and gambling operations were maintained in the speakeasy up to 1955. Now a Certified Historic Landmark in the State of California, Bracken Fern is also said to be haunted by a former prostitute named Violet. The prostitute killed herself after the mob killed her lover and her violet scented perfume can still be smelled wafting through the halls. Another ghost of a small boy has also been seen at this historic inn. Thought to be the son of a former prostitute he was trampled by a team of horses. Today his tiny footsteps are often seen in the snow.
Gary Hall, the ghostpainter