Arrowhead Springs Conference and Retreat Center

San Bernardino, CA

February 2012

Geographic formation on the side of the mountain in the shape of an arrowhead - 1375' x 449' - 7.5 acres.  It consists of light quartz and supports a growth of white sage in contrast to the surrounding chaparral and greasewood.


The focal point of the property is the Arrowhead Springs Hotel

North side of the Hotel

South Side

The first infirmary/hotel was built in the mid-1860s.  This building and a second hotel built in 1886 were destroyed by fire.  The third hotel was built in 1905.  In the 1930's the hotel became the hangout for big name celebrities like Loretta Young, Mary Pickford, Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart.  In 1938 the resort was purchased for $800,000 but shortly thereafter the hotel was destroyed by fire.  The above $1.5 million hotel, built of concrete and steel opened in December 1939.  Judy Garland, Al Jolson, and Rudy Vallee were among those featured at the grand opening. World War II brought the end of Arrowhead Springs as a luxury resort. The 139 rooms  were taken over by the military and used as a naval hospital from 1944 to 1946. After the war the hotel went through a succession of owners, no one however, was able to make the operation a financial success.  By 1962 the hotel has closed and had become a real "white elephant".   In 1962 Bill Bright/Campus Crusade for Christ purchased it for $2 million as their international headquarters and moved in on December 1, 1962. This went on for the next three decades until Campus Crusade decided to relocate to Orlando, Florida in 1991.  Campus Crusade continued to use the property as a conference center until 1999 when they thought the property was going to be purchased.  Fires in 2002 once again damaged the property. Five outbuildings were accidentally burned during a fire-training exercise and two more were destroyed in 2003.   The property has yet to be sold and the hotel is being rented for day events.   


Around the Grounds
The entrance to the front gate which is kept locked. Rick had to make sure the sign is accurate.  It is!! Mud baths
Only one of the five pools is full of warm water Courts on which to play A small prayer chapel was built in 1969
The pool, built in 1939, was named after Esther Williams whose movies were shot on site.  Like the hotel, it is heated by geothermal springs.   Arrowhead Bowl/amphitheater, seating 2,500 was constructed in 1967 to meet the needs of staff training and large conferences.  Palms sprout up in places where they aren't wanted.
9 bungalows were built in 1925. Since meals were taken in the hotel there were no kitchens.  Campus Crusade converted the porches to kitchens for staff residences. Our MMAP group has the use of this 3-bedroom and 2.5 bath bungalow.  It also contains a laundry room.  The MMAP crew all settled in.  The view from across the road from our RV sites, over looking San Bernardino.  It is really impressive when we come out at night and see the lights of the city!
The Quonsets built when the military had possession of the property.  The grave marker for David N. Smith, the founder of Arrowhead Sanitarium.  1831-1885,  Two others are also buried there. 

Rick clearing the trail to the steam caves.   One of the fires went through here.  
There was an elevator from the hotel to the steam caves.  
One of the hallways with steam rooms off to the left.  That is steam in the picture and it was very warm in there.  We were walking in warm water.

The Team

Morris & Helen Weaver Jim & Jean White Dennis & Jean Kilishek Rick & Helen Wiebe
The MMAP group working at Community Bible Church is also parked at Arrowhead Springs.  The two groups have devotions, games night etc. together.  
Charles & Naomi Estey, Stan & Joan Carpenter, Rod Rehfeld and Jim and Fran Leasure. 

There is work to be done

The cabanas around the pool are in serious need of repair.
Monday morning they learned that the entrance to the pool needed to be spruced up for a fashion shoot. Morning break beside the pool.  Are we suffering yet?
After two days of scraping paint the guys get to do some painting and then . . . .

it's back to more scraping and grinding.   

 What a difference a coat of paint makes!

Rick, on the other hand,
 pressure washes day after day. 

After 4 days on the ground, Rick has moved up in the world.  He is pressure washing the roof of the cabanas.  

Feb 21 - the owner of the power washer needed it for most of the day so Rick joined the guys in painting louvers. 

The more easily seen louvers are finished.  Feb 22.  Rick is back to pressure washing the stairs, 
Morris and Jim continue to paint. 
They got the white painted along the stairway.  Next month the stairs and gates will be painted green. Rick spent 10 days pressure washing the stairs.  There's another set of stairs on the other side.  Next month the cabana roofs are to be painted white. 


What with the cold, rain and wind the guys were given an inside job, scrape and paint a hallway.   



A tour of the Arrowhead Springs Hotel by Rod Graton, manager
Left side of lobby Looking into the lobby and further into the Wanhi Room which originally was a patio but Hilton enclosed it with windows.  Right side of lobby. 


The dining room 
Bold furnishings in a room off the dining room.
The Gold Room is used by current day bridal parties.  The powder room across the hall Imagine a bride standing before the many facetted mirror. 
One of the bedrooms in the penthouse where Elizabeth Taylor and Nicky Hilton spent their honeymoon. View from the penthouse.  There had been a pool in the middle of the arrowhead but Bill Bright had it filled in so as not to distract the office workers. In 1939 a sign of "class" was that there was some marble in the bathroom.  Often it was around the shower (as seen here) and at the threshold.  The bathrooms were small but the closets were large. 
Dorothy Draper original furnishings 


Do you get the connection?


Work for the ladies

Design and determine how much it would cost to make inexpensive curtains for at least part of these windows to block some of the hot California sun.  There are two more windows, for a total of 7 and 9 if panels containing doors are included.  
While we consider the above. . .
We touched up the black walls, doors and baseboards on the main floor of the hotel.
Then Helen and Helen touched up 85 of the ?? dining room chairs. 


Free Time

While waiting for the others to arrive for games night Charles and Rick play a game of pool.  Mexican Train at this table Pegs & Jokers at this table


The two groups got together for a spaghetti supper on February 14 to celebrate Valentines Day and Rod and Rick's birthday.


Knife Sharpening class


San Bernardino History & Railroad Museum

In 1886 the Santa Fe Railroad arrived in the area and San Bernardino became Santa Fe's "gateway" to Southern California

Facing the street Facing the tracks Lounge area in the Women's room
Restored 1918 Santa Fe Depot now serves Amtrak and Metrolink passengers.  Over 100 freight trains pass by each day.
Waiting area.  Behind the glass on the right side was the Harvey House Restaurant.  Uniform for a Harvey Girl.  She wouldn't have been allowed to wear lipstick and would have worn a hair net. Recreation of the inside of a 1910 RR station


 Originally trains in the West did not offer meal service.  Fred Harvey established a series of restaurants on the Santa Fe lines.  The Fred Harvey Company would recruit women via newspaper ads from towns and cities across the United States . The women had to be of good moral character, have at least an eighth grade education, display good manners and be neat and articulate to work in his restaurants.  In return for employment, the Harvey Girls would agree to a six month contract, agree not to marry and abide by all company rules during the term of employment.  They were paid $17.50 a month.  Harvey opened his first depot restaurant in Topeka , Kansas , in January of 1876. It is estimated that more than 100,000 girls worked for Harvey House restaurants and hotels and of those, 20,000 married their regular customers.
Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) Machine 1878 hose cart pulled by the firemen


1890 horse drawn hose wagon



Heritage house
1891 Queen Anne design with period furnishings. sewing machine
Toilet fancy bird cage What is it?  No one there knows.
San Bernardino's first jail was a self-contained one-room box made of boiler plate and riveted together by hand shortly after 1858.


Awesome sunset Feb 21.



In October 1948 Dick and Mac McDonald closed their McDonalds BBQ and on December 12, 1948 they opened as McDonald's Hamburgers featuring the "Speedy Service" system selling 15 hamburgers and 10 fries at 14th & E St., San Bernardino.  In 1961 Ray Kroc convinced the brothers to sell him the rights to McDonald's.  In 1998, Albert Okura the co founder in 1984 of the Juan Pollo restaurant chain had the opportunity to purchase the site of the original McDonald's restaurant.  There he established an unofficial McDonald's Museum.

Rick with the Evil Grimace, the roly poly purple monster who constantly craves milk shakes. 1940 milk shake machine
A collection of Happy Meal Packs.

A collection of the McDonald's toys given to children.


Feb 25 we went poking around.  Ended up walking all around Lake Vonette.  There are fish in the lake!  Rick has since checked out what he brought along in the way of fishing gear.

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