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As It Was: California Lodge Hosts Actors, Gangsters and a President

Movie stars, gangsters, even a U.S. President are said to have spent time at the Clark Creek Lodge in its heyday.

The Pacific Gas and Electric Co. built the lodge in 1921 for workers constructing powerhouses on the nearby Pit River.  Private investors bought the lodge later, opened a restaurant, and rented tourist cabins for many years.

During prohibition, many illegal stills operated in the area, encouraging rumors that booze flowed freely at the Clark Creek Lodge.  It became very popular with vacationing celebrities; even the Chicago mobster Al Capone was said to have visited more than once.

Other visitors included boxer Jack Dempsey, actors Jean Harlow and Bette Davis.  A famous meeting took place there between President Warren Harding and newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, who had built his Wyntoon Castle on the nearby McCloud River.

Another famous frequent guest at the lodge was Bing Crosby, who owned the Rising River Ranch in Fall River Mills, owned today by Clint Eastwood.

The lodge has become a summer camp for middle and high school kids.  Whiskey is not available.

Lewis, Jon. "100 Fun Facts About the North State." Enjoy Magazine, edited by Ronda Alvey, James & Yvonne Mazotta, 1 Jan. 2015, www.enjoymagazine.net/2015/01/07/57363/100-fun-facts-about-the-north-state.; Smith, Dottie. Facebook Post & Discussion, Dottie Smith, 20 June 2019, www.facebook.com/dottie.smith.750.

Valerie Ing was a teenager when she hosted her first music program on the airwaves. As a student at SOU, she was JPR’s Chief Student Announcer and the first volunteer in our newsroom. She's now JPR’s Northern California Program Coordinator, hosting Siskiyou Music Hall from JPR's Redding studio in the Cascade Theatre.