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
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
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
In the summer of 2004, I
asked around again and received the same looks of bewilderment. However, at least one person from
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."