Monday, May 20, 2024
Mountain gem discovered by Fred Cody.

Mountain gem discovered by Fred Cody.

Park Hall was originally a livery stable, but it was later transformed into a popular entertainment venue owned by the people of Ben Lomond. In the 1930s, the theater became famous for having the “Hardest Seats On Earth.” The town of Ben Lomond was established by James Pierce in 1887 after the post office deemed the original name, Pacific Mills, to be over-used. Pierce had strategically kept old-growth redwoods standing to attract tourists and built the Hotel Ben Lomond in 1890. Many visitors to the hotel fell in love with the area and purchased land for vacation cottages. Frederick A. Cody, a metallurgist, arrived in Ben Lomond in the early 1900s with his wife and children. His wife suffered from rheumatism, but found relief in the calming nature of Ben Lomond. In November 1901, Cody purchased the Ben Lomond Hotel and became the town’s first electrician, installing lights and telephones throughout the property. The hotel became a popular destination for wealthy families from the Bay Area. Celebrities, such as State Sen. Guy Chaffee Earl, built summer homes near the hotel, attracting other notable individuals. In 1904, Cody built his own home, the Cody Mansion, on the hotel grounds. The mansion was inspired by a home in Scotland, and featured verandas overlooking the forest and San Lorenzo River. The hotel had a successful season until the San Francisco earthquake in 1906 damaged its brick chimneys. Business dwindled after the earthquake, but Cody repaired what he could and continued to attract guests. In 1908, Cody traded the hotel for a fruit ranch near Saratoga. He left Ben Lomond to work in Mexico, but returned in 1911 due to the Mexican revolution. In 1912, the Ben Lomond Improvement Club proposed creating a park on the riverfront, and Cody donated land to clear buildings for the Ben Lomond Library. One of the buildings moved was remodeled into Park Hall, a community auditorium. The hall hosted various entertainment and cultural events, reflecting a different level of tolerance in Ben Lomond. Unfortunately, in 1912, Cody’s wife Alta passed away.

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About Thaddeus Tran

Meet the incredible Thaddeus Tran, an esteemed author on our blog with a passion for history and heritage. Thaddeus delivers captivating posts that take readers on a journey through time. With his wealth of knowledge and impressive research skills, he offers valuable insights and fascinating stories that shed light on the past and inspire a deeper appreciation for our shared heritage. Follow him to discover the secrets and treasures of history!

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