Thursday, April 5, 2018
HGB Ep. 252 - Brookdale Lodge
Moment in Oddity - Two Gravestones on Savannah Airport Runway
Suggested by: Jennifer Durham
The Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport has a really unique feature on one of their runways. Some might mistake two patches on the runway as some kind of repair work, but these slabs are actually two headstones. They mark the final resting places of Richard and Catherine Dotson, whom both passed away in the late 1800s. There was, of course, no airport here at that time since the first flight had not even taken place. The couple had been buried in a family cemetery on Catherine's family's farmland. There were about 100 burials in the cemetery. In the 1980s, the airport wanted to extend Runway 10, but this would mean that the runway would go right over many of the plots in the cemetery. Descendants allowed the airport to move all of the bodies, except for Catherine and Richard. Since they had loved the land and they were considered the patriarch and matriarch, the family felt that the couple would not want to be moved. So the airport paved over them and decided to honor them by placing two headstones over their graves. Family members can visit with an escort. These two graves are the only known graves to be embedded in an airport runway in the world and that, certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Bread Riot in Richmond, Virginia
In the month of April, on the 2nd, in 1863, a bread riot occurred in the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. The Civil War had now reached three years in length and the Union had taken over or blocked most of the coastal ports near Virginia. This left the people of Richmond nearly starving and food prices were outrageous. Prices for kitchen staples had risen by ten percent. A group of low income working women called together a meeting and called on attendees to join in an action the following day where they would meet outside the Capitol building to demand justice and specifically bread from the government men. A hundred armed women showed up the next day and demanded to see the Governor who dismissed them. Angry, they made their way toward the market district. They used axes to loot shops and stole meat from carts on the street. They chanted, "Bread or blood!" The Governor and Jefferson Davis offered them bread, but they only got angrier. Finally, a riot guard loaded their weapons and the women went home. News of the Bread Riot made the New York Times and so several women were arrested.They had to be let go because the jails couldn't afford to feed the prisoners.
Brookdale Lodge (Suggested by and interview by listener Sasha Wolfe)
Santa Cruz has come up several times on the podcast. The city is a redwood forested wonderland, but it is also a mystical and supernatural dreamland. One of the most well-known locations in Santa Cruz is the Brookdale Lodge, an establishment that has been around for over a hundred years. This was a place for the wealthy and famous to relax and later became a family getaway. Today, it is striving to recover from years of neglect to obtain some sense of its former glory. Some things left over from the past are ghosts. There is reputedly quite a bit of activity here. On this episode, our listener and Executive Producer Sasha Wolfe, interviews the members of Santa Cruz Ghost Hunters to talk about technique, theories and the Brookdale Lodge.
The area where the Brookdale Lodge is now located was once the headquarters of Grove Lumber Mill in 1870 and the property was known as Clear Creek. It was eventually purchased by James Harvey Logan in 1900. He was a lawyer, judge and horticulturist and he converted the property into campgrounds and a hotel with cabins and a small dining hall and called it the Brookdale Lodge. In 1902, he bought the town of Brookville and changed its name to Brookdale. He put in a wagon road and laid out lots in 1907. His wife, Catherine, died in 1909 and he remarried in 1910. He sold off the land the following year to John DuBois who wanted to build a subdivision. Logan moved to Oakland, but continued to do business in Santa Cruz.
In 1922, Dr. F. K. Camp, who was a Seventh-day Adventist physician and a strict prohibitionist, took over the Brookdale Lodge and he hired Architect and Landscaper Horace Cotton to design a dining room that would straddle a creek running through the lodge grounds. This became known as the Brook Room and is Bavarian in style with stained-glass windows and an expensive chandelier. The original 1870 building was also remodeled into a lobby and reading room. Camp was so strict about his dislike of alcohol that he would sniff customer's drinks and if they smelled like they contained alcohol, he poured them out into the brook. Tourists would come from all over to stay at the lodge and visit the beautiful redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. Many of these guests included the famous like Marilyn Monroe, Tyrone Power, Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth and President Herbert Hoover. The lodge’s Mermaid Room is a bar with underwater views of the swimming pool. It has murals of former guests, Humphrey Bogart and comedian W.C. Fields and the exterior has a mural of another former guest, James Dean.
Dr. Camp sold the lodge to A. T. Cook and W. G. Smith in 1945 and they continued to run things as business as usual. In 1951, a consortium of San Francisco businessmen bought the property, but they quickly sold it to Barney Marrow, who also owned the Brookdale Inn across the highway. A fire started in the Brook Room in 1956 and it needed to be rebuilt. The campgrounds were done away with at that time as well and paved over with a parking lot. Many of the cabins were demolished in the 1960s and replaced with hotel rooms. Things started to go south for the lodge, starting in the 1980s. A flood destroyed much of the dining room. A real estate investor named Bill Gilbert paid $2 million for the property in 1990. Staff apartments were burned in 2005 and never rebuilt. A Sanjiv Kakkar purchased Brookdale in 2007 and under his direction,the lodge slid into health code violations and disrepair. He eventually had to place it into receivership. In July of 2015, the current owner, Pravin Patel, purchased the property for $2.75 million. He has been working to restore it ever since, but it has been a slow process. His first concern was getting the hotel back up and running.
There are rumors of hauntings at the lodge. The most famous ghost belongs to Sarah Logan,who was the six-year-old niece of James Logan. She drowned in the creek running through the dining room. She must have been wearing a blue and white Sunday dress at the time because that is what most people report her spirit to be wearing. She likes to play near the fireplace adjacent to the lobby or she does occasionally walk through the lobby. Guests have had her come up to them crying and looking for her mother. She vanishes when they turn to look for her mother. A little girl was visiting with her family and she saw the ghost of Sarah Logan. She reported that the girl was wearing an odd dress and playing by the indoor stream. She wanted to go play with Sarah, but her parents said no because they didn't see any little girl by the creek. Two recent owners were so disturbed by Sarah's presence after they saw her multiple times, that they called in clergy and a psychic to cleanse the Brook Room. Sarah still seems to be there, so they apparently failed.
The lodge also has a history with gangsters and there seem to be tunnels running around the property that they used, which you will hear about in Sasha's interview. Rumors have circulated that bodies were buried on the property and this has led to reports of other apparitions being seen and other unexplained activity. The Santa Cruz Ghost Hunters shared several experiences they have had at the lodge. A thirteen-year-old girl drowned in the pool and many guests have seen her apparition in that area. Denise Dalton worked at the lodge in the 1970s and she had a terrifying experience she described as, “I was walking in the lobby, and all of a sudden, something hit me with such force I didn’t have any time to put my hands down so I fell on the floor and smashed my face. A maid who was washing a window nearby reportedly saw me fall and screamed 'Fantasma! Fantasma!' She said there was a dark figuring hovering above me. And they found a massive handprint on my back.” Dalton also has heard the clicking of high heels enter the next bathroom stall when only a male colleague was in the bar area during closing. She looked under the stall and saw no feet. She bolted for the door, but could not get it open. “When it finally jerked open, as I was running out, I could hear a little kid giggling,” Dalton said.
Some of the rooms are haunted. The creepiest rooms are Room 2209 (whose digits eerily add up to the number 13), Room 1209 right below and Room 5. Dalton said, "You’d fix the room up, rent the room and guests would find chairs staked upon chairs, the bed mattress flipped over and the TV would be on that white shhh. You could drive by at night, look at Room 5 and that TV would be glowing. They had electricity and outlets checked, changed the TV and even moved it, but it still turns on.” Guests would quickly check out of those rooms after getting freaked out. Some of them claimed that the toilet paper would roll onto the floor, unlocked doors wouldn't open, sheets would fly off guests lying in bed, lights would randomly turning on and there were scratching sounds and apparitions. A groundskeeper saw the apparition of a man in a bowler hat and clothes from the 1800s. He vanished once he was seen.
The Brookdale Lodge is a happy memory for many people who either live in or visit the Santa Cruz area. Hopefully, it is one day restored to its former glory. Whether it is restored or not, it seems the spirits will continue to hang out at the lodge. Is the Brookdale Lodge haunted? That is for you to decide!