Haunted Brookdale Lodge
The Brookdale Lodge opened its doors in 1870 as the headquarters for the Grover Lumber Mill, interestingly enough the dining hall was built as a separate building making the diner cross over a bridge to get to the dining hall. Some years later the guests were to discover that there was indeed an actual creek running through the building which overlooks Minnehaha Falls. The creek in the dining hall is said to be one of the areas in the lodge that is haunted, but we will get to that.
With the lumber industry waning in that part of Santa Cruz, the lodge was sold in 1900 to H.J. Logan who then turned the lodge into a campground and hotel. In 1922 the lodge again changed hands, this time a man named Dr. F.K. Camp was to take over the running of the area until about 1945. Dr. Camp is the man who originally designed the dining hall with the creek running through it. No simple feat it was as the sole reason for this magnificent dining hall was that the nearby creek had over the years changed course and instead of moving the dining hall to another area Camp decided to take advantage of its natural beauty.
The dining hall is a luscious invitation to those who first enter, you can hear the water trickling down the creek and enjoy the natural light admitted through a then unheard of round skylight. There are indeed many ferns, trees and other foliage that grows along the sides of the creek and were used advantageously to enhance the diner’s experience. Also along with his plan for the dining hall was that none of the boulders or other large rocks were to be removed, giving the guests the true creek side experience, this decision would soon become a fatal mistake.
The records are not clear on exactly when, but sometime after the dining hall was built a young girl named Sara Logan thought to be about age 6 at the time, niece to earlier owner H.J. Hogan was being naughty and running away from her nanny, running in between tables and alongside the creek, giggling and having an excellent game slipped along the creek falling in only to hit her head upon one of the rocks left in the creek to keep its natural appearance, and died. Even her death seems to be a bit of a mystery as some say hitting the rock killed her while others claim she drowned after hitting the rock, either way she and her nanny Maria have been seen and heard chasing one another around the creek.
Sara’s death is not thought to be the only one that happened in the lodge during the 1940’s and 1950’s the lodge was bought and sold many times and was at one point thought to be the hangout for local mobsters. Rumors abound that a meat locker was used to torture and murder people and that their bodies would then be buried under the lodge’s floorboards. Also during this time many secret passage ways were built including one that ran under the road which is reportedly sealed now. In 1956 the dining area was destroyed by fire and when rebuilding took place much of the campground and surrounding area was paved over to make a parking lot, how many bodies could be under there?
Unfortunately little Sara is not the only child reported to have died in the Brookdale Lodge, in 1972 a 13 year old girl drowned in the kidney shaped pool that was then located above what was called the “Mermaid Room,” the pool was closed after the child’s death. There have also been sightings of a young boy perhaps 12 or 13 years of age throughout the lodge. A psychic once told one of the owners that there appears to be 49 different entities in the lodge and surrounding area. People have made many claims over the years from hearing voices and glasses clinking to the jukebox in the Mermaid Room turning on by itself. There have also been many sightings of ghostly figures not only that of the young boy but men with ghastly wounds, dancers have been seen in the ball room, and objects often move.
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