February 26, 2024

Los Serranos Country Club in the 1930s and 1940s | Belief and Commentary

4 min read

Paul Spitzzeri

Opened by Extensive Beach front investors and headed by Harlan C. Davison, in 1925, Los Serranos Country Club was the former Property Ranch of Joseph Bridger, supervisor of the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino in advance of 1880.  The club, nevertheless, struggled as the Wonderful Depression burst forth in late 1929 and shut for 50 % a yr right before reopening the upcoming spring under the management of Victor Claridge, who had worked at beach front clubs and restaurants in Santa Monica and later ran places to eat in Palm Springs and Laguna Beach front. In 1933, rumors in Chino claimed that the club was to be bought by the homeowners of the perfectly-acknowledged Agua Caliente on line casino and racetrack in Tijuana, with the purpose of making a observe at Los Serranos.

Alternatively, the property was obtained in spring 1934 by Harry A. Jones Associates, which planned a posh well being vacation resort at El Caballero Estates close to Van Nuys, and Jones and his wife moved to Los Serranos to operate the club.  Jones died in late 1937 and the facility was bought to Dudley L. Smith, a true estate salesman and properly-recognised regional beginner golfer, and Arthur Longridge, who also worked in real estate, with both of those taking care of the assets.

Among the the significant attempts carried out by Longridge and Smith was the advancement of a major southern California event held in 1939 with proceeds benefiting Casa Colina, which served disabled little ones by its facility nearby adjacent to Boys Republic. The next 12 months, the regional chapter of the Expert Golfers Association (PGA), agreed to maintain the Southern California Open up at Los Serranos, with Casa Colina again remaining the beneficiary of resources elevated all through the event.  

An additional critical determine in the course of these many years was class pro Alex Follmer, who arrived to the club in 1933 from the San Gabriel Place Club and served bring these key tournaments to Los Serranos.  Follmer skilled in 1936 for the Countrywide Open up in Denver, even though he did not progress previous the initially spherical.  4 many years afterwards, he all over again experienced for the countrywide PGA match at Hershey, Pennsylvania, but contracted malaria during the trip. Regardless of this major illness, he ongoing to operate at the club and played in community tournaments, like 1 early in 1941 in which there was a rainstorm. Follmer contracted pneumonia and, irrespective of blood transfusions once he was hospitalized, died at the age of 34.

At the conclusion of that calendar year, Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan and the United States entered World War II.  Whether wartime situations were being a variable or not is unfamiliar (the club was essentially used at minimum after for a nationwide protection assembly early in 1942), but Smith and Longridge made the decision to promote Los Serranos in Oct 1942 to James M. Fisher, the extended-time Ford vendor in Chino who was also president of the club’s board of governors.

Likely on the lookout to broaden outreach and carry in more customers additional familiar with Pomona than Chino, Fisher altered the title of the facility to the Pomona Valley Place Club.  Between other changes was the separation of Los Serranos Lake, the male-created reservoir designed with the place club challenge, from the management of the clubhouse and rented cabins, which were to be operated by a lessee.  All enterprise operations underneath the Smith/Longridge regime were being terminated and memberships voided in favor of new types.

Inspite of the reorganization, Fisher only owned the club for 3 yrs, as rationing of gasoline and elements and other war-similar problems could have hampered profitability.  In any case, another sale took place in 1945, as 3-time regional newbie winner Johnny Dawson, also a realtor and program designer at Palm Springs, and associates acquired the club, which was renamed Rancho Don Lugo.

Just after a different 3 yrs, the facility was all over again offered, to Melville and Consuelo Rogers (she was a previous silent movie actress), who, on taking possession in spring 1948 made the decision to return the club to its Los Serranos title.  Though they introduced there would be lots of improvements to the property and company improvements, the pair was in money difficulties by the finish of the ten years and we’ll pick up the story of Los Serranos from then in a afterwards column.