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Discover Benbow Inn, which was a destination for stars including Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Alan Ladd, Joan Fontaine, and Basil Rathbone.

Benbow Inn was constructed during the “Roaring Twenties,” in which flappers, the radio, and the Art Deco movement defined the age.

When Arthur Benbow purchased 1,288 acres from Ernest Linser in 1922, he envisioned a ranch, but it soon became apparent that ranching would not be sufficient to meet the family's needs. Instead, the family decided to build the resort hotel, golf course, and riding stables. Today, the hotel and golf course are still operating but the riding stables burned down in the 1950s. The children of Mr. Benbow were Joseph, Evangeline, Burtis, Clara, Helen, Jessie, Loleta, Walter, and Robert, and eight of the children were born in Humboldt County.

When it opened on July 17, 1926, the Inn was originally called the Hotel Benbow. Electricity for the hotel originally came from two diesel generators until a dam and powerhouse was completed on the South Fork of the Eel River around 1930. This was also the first source of power for the town of Garberville.

The hotel soon became a popular destination for motoring tourists traveling up the Redwood Highway. The combination of seclusion and elegant hospitality served as quite an attraction for the Hollywood elite: Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Alan Ladd, Charles Laughton, Joan Fontaine, who honeymooned with two different husbands, and Basil Rathbone were all patrons of the Inn, as well as dignitaries including Eleanor Roosevelt and President Herbert Hoover. The most recent celebrity guest was the King of Jordan.

The Benbow family sold the hotel in 1962 and each of the four subsequent owners has added many personal touches and improvements while preserving as much of the original historic character as possible. John and Teresa Porter and Jack Macdonald purchased the Inn in 1994, bringing over fifty years of inn keeping experience with them. They have continued to upgrade and restore the Inn, including $600,000 of guestroom and hallway improvements.

Benbow Inn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

  • Famous Historic Guests +
    "Spencer Tracy, Academy Award-winning Hollywood Golden Age actor. Clark Gable, ""The King of Hollywood"" who starred in Gone with the Wind. Alan Ladd, American actor who starred in Westerns and Noir films. Charles Laughton, English stage and film actor known for The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Joan Fontaine, the only American actor to have won an Academy Award for acting in an Alfred Hitchcock film. Basil Rathbone, English actor who most famously portrayed Detective Sherlock Holmes. Eleanor Roosevelt, the longest serving First Lady of the United States. Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States."

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