Brookdale Lodge

Brookdale Lodge
11570 Highway 9
P.O. Box 903
Brookdale, California 95007

Brookdale Lodge (Changed to Brookdale Inn and Spa in 2007) is located in the Santa Cruz mountains on Highway 9 about a 20 minute drive east of Santa Cruz.

Originally the home of the Grover Lumber Mill in 1870, the mill was purchased by H.J. Logan of Loganberry fame in 1890. Logan converted the premises into a campground and hotel.

Original Grover Lumber mill
(this log cabin still exists today)

Between 1922 and 1945 the lodge was operated by Dr. F. K. Camp, a Seventh-day Adventist physician and a strict prohibitionist. It was Camp that built the magnificent Brookroom, a dining room that encloses a natural stream flowing down its center. The lodge was very famous and was known as the second best retreat in California during it`s heyday. The Brookdale played host to Hollywood stars, prominent families, foreign diplomats, and even a U.S. President. Famous persons passing through Brookdale Lodge included: Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Tyrone Power, Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Hedy Lamarr, and President Herbert Hoover. The lodge was also famous for its first rate entertainment, attracting the best big band and swing groups of the era. There are at least three swing era songs written about the Brookdale including, My Brookdale Hideaway, A Place known as Brookdale, and Beautiful Brookdale Lodge.

Shortly before his death, Dr. Camp sold the property in 1945 to A. T. Cook and W. G. Smith. In 1951 it was again sold to a a group of San Francisco businessmen and then to Barney Marrow, who also owned the Brookdale Inn across the highway. It was during the '40's and '50's that the lodge entered its most intriguing period, becoming a home for gangsters and other shady characters. It is said that there are secret rooms and/or passageways built underneath the lodge and even some rumors that bodies may have been hidden there. To date those rumors are unconfirmed and no one has spoke of ever finding any of these passageways.

Also during this time, six year old Sarah Logan, the niece of the lodge owner, fell into the creek striking her head on a stone and drowned. It's her ghost that is most often seen at the Brookdale. But Sarah wasn't the only watery death at the lodge. In 1972, a 13 year old girl drowned in the kidney shaped pool above the mermaid room forcing its closure. The Mermaid Room is underneath the pool and there is a window on which you can see underwater. While sitting in the Mermaid Room you can observe swimmers in the pool.

Two views of the famous Brook Room. The creek flows through the center of the room and dining tables surround both sides.

 The pool                                                       The window view of the pool from the Mermaid Room

All in all, It is said by psychics that there are between 45 and 49 ghostly spirits haunting the property. Over the years there have been many sightings of little Sarah Logan. She is often seen in a white and blue dress walking through the lobby or near the fireplace between the lounge and Brookroom. She has also been seen playing on the balcony of the Brookroom, an area off limits to visitors and guests, and sitting beside the fire in the Fireside Room.

Some have even been approached by the crying Sarah asking if they could help her find her mother. As they turn to look for the little girl's mother, Sarah vanishes. The sightings aren't limited to visitors. The owners of Brookdale Lodge have also seen Sarah running about the lodges' lobby. From their description, Sarah was, "very clear, like a whole person" and wore a 1940's style formal dress. She ran silently across the lobby for about five seconds before disappearing through the office window. It is said that the owners have hired several priests and psychics to try and rid the lodge of its spirits.

The niece isn't the only paranormal activity visitors to the lodge have experienced. In the Mermaid Room visitors have experienced hearing voices, the clinking of glasses, and soft music when the room was empty. The jukebox located here has been known to turn itself on and off when nobody is near it.

When the Brookroom is empty you can sometimes hear glasses and plates clinking and people talking as if dozens of diners are having a meal. A ghostly woman, has been seen walking around the area of the brook, Psychics speculate that she is the mother of Sarah Logan looking for her daughter. The smell of gardenias often permeates the room at night although there are no gardenias in the Brookroom or the lodge.
Big band music has been heard playing faintly in the Fireside Room and in the Pool Room. People have also reported cold spots, presences, and even being touched by unseen forces in the Pool Room.

Late at night doors slam and footsteps are often heard in empty rooms. They are particularly loud from the second floor conference room. Many have reported strange smells and having a sense that the room is full of people when it is empty. It is said that psychics have identified one of the ghostly inhabitants as a lumberjack by the name of George, who chopped wood at the location back when it was the lumber company (late 1800`s).

In the 70`s the old cabins were torn down and replaced with motel rooms. Room 46, now known as room 2009 is said to be the most haunted. A woman who worked at the lodge in exchange for lodging has reported that at night objects and shapes would fly across the room. Ghosts would materialize around her bed, their faces sometimes vague and sometimes very very clear. One of the ghosts was a teenage boy and another was a man with his eye hanging loose on his cheek, and still another was a man with a knife wound across his face. She has also said that she could feel somebody sit on the corner of her bed but no one was there.

This photo taken by Mercedes Mancillas in the Brookroom shows what appears to be spirit activity. These orbs have substance and proper colors associated with spiritual energy. Mercedes got to stay at the lodge right before it closed in 2011 and the place was empty. She got to visit all the rooms and reported that it was a true ghostly atmosphere.

  Although the colors do not match up to your average spirit enegy, these are not consistent with typical dust orbs and may possibly be paranormal.

Ecto mist caught in photo of The Brook Room

This photo has been circulating around the web in which the picture taker believes she may have caught the apparition of Sarah Logan along side the creek in the lower right hand corner. But upon closer review this could very well be a case of pareidolia because of the rock formation.
Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon or the Moon rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on records when played in reverse.

Cropped image of the anomaly

The Brookdale Lodge was purchased in 2007 by Sanjiv Kakkar and has undergone renovations, but the lodge was closed by the fire marshal in October 2011 for multiple building and fire code violations. As of the writing of this story, the owner is also facing workman`s comp fraud charges. Remodeling still continues and it is said that the lodge may reopen sometime around the summer of 2013.

On August 19, 2009 a three alarm fire started at the rear of the property in the two story complex that houses employees. Over 60 people were left homeless and about two dozen rooms were destroyed. The investigators from Boulder Creek Fire Protection District and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms have stated that the cause of the fire is suspicious. This is not the first time the lodge has burned, a fire in 2005 in the same area as the 2009 fire, and in 1956 the lodge was destroyed by fire and rebuilt. It was said by some that five people died in the fire, but this report has not been able to be confirmed.

A lot of the exact dates of events at the lodge have varied among different sources, including the date Logan purchased the property, to the date of Sarah Logan`s death, and the date the cabins were torn down to build the motel rooms. Below is a timeline provided by and they provide citations for where they obtained this information. Although most of those links are no longer valid, I felt it was still important to include them to show where obtained this information.

1870 - Opened as the headquarters of Grove Lumber Mill, area was known as Clear Creek

1900 - Purchased by James Harvey Logan, lawyer, judge and horticulturist, converted into campgrounds and a hotel, (cabins, campgrounds, and a small dining hall)

He is listed as John H, H. J. James, Harvey, Judge Harvey, depending on where you look. Familysearch has nothing, odd. Santa Cruz county records say Judge James Harvey.

Harvey was born in 1841/2 in Indiana, his parents were from Kentucky per 1880 Santa Cruz census. The Logan family is riddled with James and Harveys, related to Kid Curry.

1902 - Logan purchased the site of the town of Brookdale, known as Brookville

1909 - Mrs Logan died July 17

1910 - Logan married M.E. Couson August 1

1911 - Daughter was born August 14

1913 - Logan moved to Oakland but continued interests in Brookdale

1922 - Lodge was operated by Dr. F. K. Camp, a Seventh-day Adventist physician and a strict prohibitionist. The brook changes course and now runs through the lodge grounds.

???? - Camp hired Architect and Landscaper Horace Cotton, who successfully designed a dining room to straddle the live creek.

???? - Camp had the original 1870 building remodeled into a lobby and reading room. He would sniff customer's drinks and pour alcohol, if found, into the brook.

1917? - Sarah Logan (niece of owner, then Camp?) drowns in the creek

1928 - Judge Logan died

1945 - Camp sold the lodge to A. T. Cook and W. G. Smith

1951 - Sold to a consortium of San Francisco businessmen and then to Barney Marrow, who also owned the Brookdale Inn across the highway.

1956 - Brook room rebuilt after fire, campgounds were paved for a parking lot. (pave paradise, put up a parking lot, la la la la)

AP Investigations site says the fire resulted in the death of five people, a serious flood in 1955 and another fire.

1960's - Most cabins demolished, hotel rooms took their place

1972 - 13 year old girl drowned in the swimming pool.

1982 - Heavy flooding damaged much of the dining room.

1990 - Estate investor Bill Gilbert and his family paid $2 million for the lodge and surrounding eight acres

2003 - Sylvia Browne publishes a book that includes her Brookdale visit, but she sees Sarah drowned in 1950, had a nanny anmes Maria and re-enacts the fall in the dining room

2005 - Apartments were burned

2007 Oct - Sanjiv Kakkar (or Rajiv Kakkar, owner of the SF Abigail) purchased the lodge for 5.34 million


Information procured from:

Below are videos of the fire that destroyed over two dozen employee housing apartments at the rear of the lodge on August 18, 2009. Investigators from Boulder Creek Fire Protection district and ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) have ruled the fire as suspicious.
This was a three alarm blaze involving Boulder Creek, Ben Lomond, Felton, and Cal Fire, Fire departments and approximately 100 fire fighters. Although no fatalities, there were reports of fire fighters suffering minor inhuries.