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Mobster Bugsy Siegal & His Ties To Lake Arrowhead ~ A Piece of Trivia


I wrote this a few years back, but thought for those who missed it, they might find it a "fun read."

Lake Arrowhead has always had ties with the Hollywood bunch. MANY celebrities now, as well as then, have called Lake Arrowhead escape from the hustle-bustle of Los Angeles and other large cities below.  But the most famous celebrity ever to own property in Lake Arrowhead was the notorious mobster, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegal." 

Bugsy (he lothed being called Bugsy) talked the Chicago Mob into backing his new venture, which is now known as Bracken Fern Manor. This Alpine-style inn opened as Club Arrowhead in The Pines on July 4th,  1929. The inn had state of the art  amenities, such as electricity! More importantly, it catered to the rich and famous, offering gambling, illegal liquor and "working girls." Other amenities included an Olympic size swimming pool, skiing, tennis courts, a bathhouse, and more.   The brothel continued operations through World War II. Gambling was maintained in the speakeasy (across the street) up until 1955.  Today, Bracken Fern Manor is a Certified Historic Landmark in the State of California.  (The door to the right led to underground tunnels).

Across from Bracken Fern Manor is where gambling took place at The CLUB. We now call this (below/left)  "The Tutor House." Story has it that when cops were on their way up the mountain from San Bernardino, and administrators were alerted, gambling tables were actually turned over, then appearing as regular tables.

Bracken Fern Manor claims to be haunted by former "working girl" named Violet.  She killed herself after the mob killed her lover. You can still smell her violet scented perfume wafting through the halls.  Another ghost of a little boy has also been seen at this historic inn.  He is thought to be the son of a former prostitute and was trampled by a team of horses.  Today his tiny footsteps are often seen in the it is told. 

After the inn became successful, Bugsy convinced the Bosses in Chicago to front him the dough for another little gambling adventure.....Las Vegas.  However, Bugsy's lavish taste caused him to go way over his one million dollar budget and ultimently cost him his credibility with Chicago. And his life. While he was having dinner one evening with his lover, Virginia Hill, at her Hollywood home, Bugsy was shot dead.

Bracken Fern Manor is located at 815 Arrowhead Villas Road, Arrowhead Villas, a tiny sub-area in Lake Arrowhead and was a B & B for many yrs.


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Comment balloon 9 commentsKat DeLong • February 03 2011 10:23AM



Posted by Kat DeLong, Realtor DRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate ( (LakeView Realty Enterprises, Inc) over 8 years ago

That is so cool...I love the history of Lake Arrowhead. Fun do all the other celebrity homes/stories for me.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 8 years ago

Karen; I'll do my best... though they (the living) do NOT like us pointing out their whereabouts. :-)

Posted by Kat DeLong, Realtor DRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate ( (LakeView Realty Enterprises, Inc) over 8 years ago


That's a very interesting story. Do they Bugsy Siegal? Just kidding.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) over 8 years ago

Thanks for the fun post, I didn't know Lake Arrowhead had such and interesting past!

Your Friend in Charlottesville

Posted by Charles McDonald, REALTOR®, Blogger, Principal Broker®, Owner (Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions) over 8 years ago

Lou:  LOL  Thanks, Lou!

Charles; Oh, Lake Arrowhead is so full of a past! :-)

Posted by Kat DeLong, Realtor DRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate ( (LakeView Realty Enterprises, Inc) over 8 years ago
Sadly, Bracken Fern Manor B&B closed March, 2010. The history of that enchanting property made itself clear in certifying it as a historic landmark in 1991. Documents were difficult to find....until the search led one block away from the property. Buried amongst old dusty was all there. The paper trail. Not unlike the current litigation the former owner of Bracken Fern has filed against the Trust that holds the Title now for fraud, embezzlement, and wrongful foreclosure. Places are a product of their roots....
Posted by cheryl weaver over 5 years ago

Cheryl;  I think the stories about Bracken Fern (and the Tutor House) will never end.    And yes, so sad about what happened in regards to Bracken Fern.

Posted by Kat DeLong, Realtor DRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate ( (LakeView Realty Enterprises, Inc) over 5 years ago

The Bracken Fern Manor and The Tudor House is a great place to visit. It is not closed it reopened recently and doing great top ten must see places in Lake Arrowhead

Posted by Visitor 3 months ago