Cambria Pines Lodge is a Moonstone Hotel Property Cambria Pines Lodge

    2905 Burton Drive, Cambria, CA 93428, USA.  Toll Free (800) 445-6868

Tel (805) 927-4200 Fax (805) 927-4016 E-mail Info@CambriaPinesLodge.Com

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History of Cambria Pines Lodge

An early postcard from Cambria Pines Lodge

For more than a thousand years, Chumash Indians lived in the Cambria area. By the mid-1850s they were largely displaced by homesteading immigrant ranchers from northern Italy and southern Switzerland.

Cambria has been noted in the past for logging, cinnabar mining, whaling, and as a major county seaport. By the mid-1880s, our population approached 7,000; however, the advent of the Southern Pacific railway to San Luis Obispo in 1894 signaled the decline of shipping, and Cambria relaxed into a quiet village.

According to legend, Cambria Pines Lodge was built in 1927 by an eccentric European baroness as her personal resort. She wished to live near Hearst Castle with its opulent lifestyle. Like Hearst Castle, her resort included a large Main Lodge building surrounded by smaller “guest” facilities for visitors from Europe or new friends made in America.

The baroness’s plan, alas, was shortlived. After receiving an ultimatum from her husband to return at once to Europe or live forever without him, she sold her Lodge to the Cambria Development Company.

The Cambria Development Company used the Lodge as its headquarters and as a gathering place for prospective buyers of land on Lodge Hill. By 1932, thirty-one log cabins had been added to the property.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Cambria Pines Lodge was known as a fashionable destination resort for travelers fortunate enough to set aside their concerns for a time. It was also a popular stopover for Mr. Hearst’s guests when a timely completion of the trip to San Simeon was made impossible by inclement weather.

California State Senator Elmer Rigdon of Cambria had been instrumental in winning approval of the 1919 bond that assured construction of the coastal highway originally known as the Roosevelt Highway (after President Theodore Roosevelt). Now known as Scenic Highway 1, the road that opened up the formerly impassable stretch of coastline from Carmel to San Simeon was officially dedicated on June 27, 1937, by then-Governor Frank Merriam. Mrs. Merriam attended a meeting at Cambria Pines Lodge the previous evening and said a few words of personal thanks to the people of Cambria for the hospitality they had shown during the highway’s construction.

An airfield and a riding academy were just across from the Lodge on Burton Drive. Guests enjoyed horseback riding, fishing, and backpacking trips arranged through Chief Bagley’s Riding Academy.

In the 1960s, the Lodge boasted its own zoo complete with ringtail doves, an alligator, a monkey, six Irish setters, and two hundred pheasants. Tame peacocks and peahens were the last remnants of the Lodge’s zoo. They roamed the grounds until the mid-1990s, showing off their beautiful feathers and eating out of our guests’ hands.


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