Wednesday, 29 March 2023

Lake County 150: The historic Lucerne Hotel

The Lucerne Hotel in Lucerne, Calif., was built in the 1920s and after several owners and many uses, the building now is owned by the county of Lake, which is renovating the building. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Lake County this year, Lake County News is publishing a series of historical stories about the county, its people and places. This week's feature is about the historic Lucerne Hotel. Most of this week's piece was written in March 1963 by Ellory Moorehead, with updates added regarding recent developments.

In the 1920s, when the Clear Lake Beach Co. purchased land to start Lucerne, they purchased the small western portion from Frank Henry. The portion between George Morrison’s and the George Pierce place was bought from Will Jones.

The Lucerne Hotel Corp. was started by Richard Palmer and Louis Becker, both heavy investors in the Clear Lake Beach Co.

They started selling stock for the hotel corporation in 1925. Construction of the hotel started in 1926, with Frank R. Phillips of Lakeport as contractor.

Work stopped on the hotel in 1929 due to the Great Depression.

The Cruickshank Co. filed a lien of $87,000 against the hotel for the cost of construction supplies. Mr. West of the Cruickshank Co. took over ownership of the hotel for the amount of the debt.

In 1934 the Clear Lake Beach Co. went into bankruptcy. West purchased the adjoining golf course property from the bankruptcy in 1936.

In the spring of 1938 Mr. West finished the hotel. He opened the hotel the same year and ran it until 1939, when it was closed. About that time West sold out.

The new owners opened it for a short time and then closed.

Dr. Hamer and others bought it in about 1944. The others withdrew until Dr. Hamer owned it alone.

They never opened the hotel. It was their intention to open it up as an Adventist hospital at one point but the doors were too small to accommodate a gurney.

In the early 1950s an organization, Northern California Baptist Association, bought the hotel from Dr. Hamer, but not the golf course. The golf course was sold to others by Dr. Hamer in about 1960. They opened the hotel until about 1955.

The hotel was then sold and resold, and opened and closed for short periods but always went back to the Baptists for the debt.

It was owned by the Federation of Baptist Churches until 2010. In 2010 the county of Lake purchased the hotel for $1.35 million. The building currently is undergoing renovation.

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Upcoming Calendar

03.29.2023 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Virtual town hall
03.30.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
03.30.2023 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Character Design~Art Class for Teens
04.01.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
04.01.2023 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Lake County Spring Dance Festival
04.01.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Lake County Spring Dance Festival
04.03.2023 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Courting The Muse~Mixed Media Art Class
04.06.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
04.06.2023 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Character Design~Art Class for Teens

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