1957 to 1970
It was H.C. Leighton, President of the Interstate Company who is responsible for discovering the location of the Feather River Inn. His company provided restaurants, hotels, and news services for railroad passengers. He was interested in establishing a place where wives and other female guests could be adequately accommodated while accompanying their male counterparts on hunting and fishing expositions.
Newspaper reports in 1915 indicated that tourists were flocking into Blairsden with the arrival of every train to stay at the recently opened Feather River Inn. It is believed that the much-anticipated Inn was rapidly filling up with guests due to good publicity and favorable traveling conditions.
It was designer, Harold Sampson who was the chosen architect of the nine-hole golf course. His claim to fame was for the design of the Wawona Golf Course in Yosemite, which was to become the earliest documented nine-hole course in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He was also known for his construction of the two holes (sixteen and eighteen) at Pebble Beach in Monterey. The purpose of the Feather River Inn Golf Course design was so players could simply enjoy their game of golf.
The nine-hole course is completed featuring 3,050 yards and fine grass greens. Complete with a makeshift caddy shack that contained clothes lockers, this predecessor to the wood constructed pro shop was located along the first fairway.
The course opens on June 1st, 1921.
The first confirmed tournament at Feather River Inn was reported in the San Francisco Chronicle as being played on August 20, 1921. Harold Sampson himself led the tournament, however, it is not clear as to who was the actual winner of this tournament.
Monday, March 7, 1921 a small blaze in the silver and linen room was discovered which suddenly took a dramatic turn when an explosion erupted and nearly blew the roof off the lodge.
As reported in the Saturday evening edition of the Sacramento Bee, the $200,000 improvement project was complete on the lodge, tennis courts, golf links and swimming pool. The bulk of the money was allocated to the main lodge to reflect “the latest thing” in resort architecture and equipment.
The Pro Shop was constructed sometime early in this decade.
The pro shop did not exist when the golf course opened in 1921, instead a small structure alongside the fairway served as caddy shack and clothes locker. The closest approximation of when the pro shop was built is sometime in the early 1930's.
Largely to accommodate travelers to the Inn, a grass airstrip of 2,600 feet was built west of the golf course. In order to accommodate this airstrip, it required changing holes #4, #5 and #6 of the golf course to realign them parallel with the County Road. By relocating these holes, it allowed them to grade the pasture, which was very short and ran parallel to the #5 hole.
Albert Favetto, Swiss restaurateur, created a destination resort with an up-scale atmosphere complete with dress code, fine dining, room service, bell captain. on-site barber, doctor and baby sitter. Guests were not only wined and dined, but entertained in the Rainbow Theater with impromptu productions and danced all night long in the Gold Nugget Saloon.
Tahoe Academy purchases the Feather River Inn to operate as a boarding school for students.
The goal of the institution was to provide a college preparatory education for students of average to above average ability. The school offered an alternative to the public school system.
The Tahoe Academy sells Feather River Inn to the University of the Pacific. The school’s directors voted to transfer ownership of the school and all of its assets to the University of the Pacific. While under the ownership of UOP, they ran alumni camps, retreats, meetings and conferences.
The University of the Pacific sells Feather River Inn to the Schomac Group, who is in the process of restoring the lodge back to its grandeur.
The Schomac Group becomes the current owner of the historic lodge.
In 1915, the Feather River Inn opened its three story Swiss alpine style lodge for guests to stay in either the main lodge or the individual chalets. Back then, guests could dance to the Inn’s band in the Gold Nugget Saloon and amuse themselves with amateur theater productions in the Rainbow Theater.
Vacationing at Feather River Inn required guests to adhere with a dress code. Swim suits were allowed at the Tea House near the pool however,”abbreviated play area apparel” was not allowed in the main dining room with its linen table clothes, silver cutlery and crystal. Essentially a small city within itself, Feather River Inn generated its own electricity. The Inn also raised its own cattle, operated its own dairy, ice plant and laundry facilities.
The Western Pacific Railroad was the primary route guests traveled when visiting the Inn. This mode of transportation became extremely convenient when the railroad completed its scenic route in 1909. Once the highway opened in 1937, Northern California and Reno, Nevada, became interconnected and made for an easier journey to Feather River Inn. Then in the 1950s, an airstrip was built west of the golf course to accommodate guests traveling to the Inn via airplane.
In 1969, with factors of increasing labor costs and the number of guests declining, owner Albert Favetto decided to sell the Inn. It was sold to Tom Long, founder of Long’s Drug Store and University of the Pacific Alumni. By 1970, the Feather River Preparatory School owned and operated the Inn for only seven years until the University of the Pacific took over operations.
Currently, the Shomac Group owns and operates the Feather River Inn and is in the process of restoring and renovating this Great Lodge. Guests will soon arrive at The New Inn and be rewarded with lasting memories and unique experiences found only at the historic Feather River Inn.
1914 World War I breaks out in Europe after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, catapulting most of Europe into a cataclysmic conflict within months.
1915 Long-distance telephone service begins between New York and San Francisco.
1919 The United States establishes Grand Canyon National Park and Acadia National Park.
1920 Prohibition goes into effect; sales of coffee, soft drinks, and ice cream floats skyrocket.
1921 Signalling the rise of the automobile, the German Avus Autobahn, the first road for motor vehicles, opens.
1926 Erwin Schrodinger determines that an electron behaves like a particle and a wave, thus extending knowledge of subatomic particles and of quantum theory.
1930 Pluto, the ninth planet, is discovered by astronomers.
1950 North Korea invades South Korea, sparking the Korean War. President Truman sends U.S. military troops as part of a United Nations effort.
1957 Inaugurating a new era in exploration, the U.S.S.R. launches Sputnik I and II, the first earth satellites.
1970 126 runners show up for the first New York Marathon and run around Central Park four times.
1977 In finance, the leveraged buyout is introduced by the firm Kolhberg Kravis Roberts.
2005 The Schomac Group purchases Feather River Inn. The rest is history.
*Historic events courtesy of The History Channel.
The History of Feather River Inn. Click the icon above to view the main history page.
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