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The Mystery of Eagle Nest Lodge

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Eagle Nest Lodge

Eagle Nest Lodge in the 1930s, courtesy Ann Tyer Walker.

 

Eagle Nest Lodge Today

Eagle Nest Lodge Today, May, 2004, Kathy Weiser

 

Perhaps it's a mystery, or perhaps not, but, this old lodge certainly became an enigma to me on my July, 2003 visit to the Moreno Valley. Since I was a child in the 60's and visiting the valley every summer, I've always wondered about this old place. Finally, I decided to find out more about it. Or, I should say, "tried to find out more about it."

 

The locals say that the Eagle Nest Lodge caught fire about twenty years ago and closed, and that's about all they say. "Was it closed before that?", I ask, only to be answered by shrugs and blank stares.

 

There's no doubt that the old hotel caught fire, because there are obvious signs of fire damage in two different locations at the old lodge. But, the question remains -- when?

And, was the fire the cause of the closing? At least one person told me that a later fire was started in a second location, probably by vagrants living in the old lodge. But, still neither fire has succeeded in demolishing this once wonderful luxury resort.

I was getting confused by what little information I could extract. When I was visiting the valley every summer more than thirty years ago, the old lodge was already closed and has remained so on my many subsequent trips to the valley. I still wanted to know why this once beautiful hotel, with its awesome view of the lake, was left lonely, abandoned and forgotten.

 

You can see by the interior pictures and the many outbuildings that the lodge must have been splendid in its day, offering a variety of services. Inside you can see the restaurant, the Loafer's Lounge, several fireplaces, including one that's three-sided, in yet, another lounge.

 

Just outside the front door, the lake beckoned the guests for fishing and boating, and to the right, are the remains of a man-made pool and a garden, as well as what appears to be stables. Several outbuildings are housed on the property, including private cabins and a caretaker's home.

 

So, what happened to this place? For two weeks I asked virtually every person I met, including a local newspaper writer, without success. Finally, I was directed to a life-time resident of the valley. Though very friendly and forth-coming, he could only say "Both my mother and my aunt worked there, and they won't even talk to me about it."

 

In the summer of 2004, I asked around again and received the same looks of bewilderment. However, at least one person from Angel Fire speculated that the place had become somewhat of a speakeasy with all manner of vices including gambling and prostitution and that was the reason the locals were reluctant to talk about it. However, this is just rumor and speculation with no basis in fact from anyone associated with the old lodge.

As the saying goes ........ "Perhaps, YOU can solve the mystery."

 

 

 

Update:  Mystery Solved!

 

Update 1:  From the daughter of the original manager of the Eagle Nest Lodge, we received the history of this old lodge as well as many vintage photographs. Thank you Ann Tyer Walker!

Update 2: The old Eagle Nest Lodge is scheduled for demolition in 2005 according to one resident of Eagle Nest. If you plan to take a peek at this old place, you better do it quick.

 

Update 3: April, 2005 - Hooray!!! From an Eagle Nest resident we heard that the Eagle Nest Lodge and the surrounding land has been sold. Even better, the new owners plan to restore the enchanted lodge to its original state.

 

Update 4: July, 2005 - That was an exciting mystery, but now it has been completely solved and was quite fun in tracking it down. However, we have now heard from the Gant family who has been kind enough to fill in all the rest of the gaps as well as correct some of the rumors and speculation. Read on to get the complete history of the old Eagle Nest Lodge. Thank you Evelyn and Dale Gant!!

 

Update 5: The Eagle Nest Lodge and surrounding land was sold to a Hawaii man, and rumors abound that plans may include rebuilding of the lodge. The stables have been demolished.

Update 6: September, 2008 - The Eagle Nest Lodge continues to sit upon the hill deteriorating. In the meantime the substantial acreage, including the old hotel, has been subdivided into three parcels and is once again up for sale.

 

 

Continued Next Page

Eagle Nest Lodge Lounge

The lounge with three-sided fireplace. Another side faced the chairs above, the third side faced a bar in the adjoining room. (Click on the picture to see an enlargement.) Photograph courtesy Ann Tyer Walker

 

Fire Place

This is just one side of a beautiful three- sided fireplace that sits in the middle of a lounge. In one corner of the same room sits the bar. Photo by Kathy Weiser, July, 2003.

 

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Eagle Nest Lodge

Eagle Nest Lodge May, 2004, Kathy Weiser

 

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