the earthquake of 1906, the original lodge was removed and a larger
one built to host the various heirs, their families, friends and
business associates who vacationed at the ranch near the farm
community of Cloverdale. As many as two hundred guests would be
entertained on an estate that boasted the first swimming pool
in Sonoma County. Guests drank liquor produced on site and wine
made from grapes grown in the local vineyards. The barn stocked
fifty horses for visitors to ride the area's trails, hunt big
game and visit the nearby geysers. In these years, the grounds
were manicured by almost three hundred Chinese
laborers, initially brought to the area to work on
1929, Crocker's heirs sold the property to two men who ran it
for several years as a dude ranch. They put up additional buildings
that are now gone. On the meadow across from the current parking
area there was a building even larger than the existing lodge
that served as the ranch community center. It had a large kitchen,
a grand piano, a dance hall and a covered wagon for a bar, where
patrons would sit and wait for the bartender to pony up.
By 1931, the entrepreneurs had moved on and a rancher named Amos
Elliot lived on the property until his death in the late fifties,
raising cattle and dealing in surplus from the war.
1960, Patty and Jack Black bought the 560-acre ranch and split
it up to develop the Palomino Lakes subdivision. The Blacks invited
bankers, promoters and agents from San Francisco as guests to
the lodge to help sell lots. They held rodeos and cookouts to
bring crowds and attention to the new neighborhood. Eventually,
zoning restrictions made further subdividing difficult, so Black
negotiated with Kampground of America (KOA) to create a flagship
campground on the remainder of the property. The five remaining
acres, with the lodge, barn and various cabins were sold in 1975
to Kay and Jack Goldsmith who converted the master bedroom into
a dining room and another bedroom into a commercial kitchen and
opened a restaurant. Locals remember The Cloverdale Inn as one
of the best eateries in the area, until it closed in 1979.
property remained vacant until 1982 when Dorothy and Fred Houston
discovered it and transformed it into the Old Crocker Inn Bed
& Breakfast Retreat. During the summer in the mid-eighties,
dozens of couples were married in small ceremonies on the grounds.
In 1987, Karl Von Mecklenburg purchased the property and used
it as a private residence until 2000. The legend of his collection
of clocks remains.
and Scott Roberts purchased the property in 2000 and remodeled
the buildings with new foundations, modern septic systems, electrical
wiring and central heating. In 2003, the Roberts moved to Panama
and sold the ranch to Susan and Michel Degive, who did further
remodeling and decorating before opening for business in April
2004. Eager to try new projects, the Degives sold the ranch in
late 2005 to Marcia and Tony Babb of Menlo Park, who continue
to operate it as a bed and breakfast retreat.