Lake Arrowhead...

Vacation destination!

In 1920 a group from Los Angeles, the Arrowhead Lake Company, bought the lake and surrounding land. They changed the name to Lake Arrowhead, and began to develop the area as a tourist resort. They improved roads, water, and sewer systems, built three hotels, a golf course, and a shopping "village" with a theater, restaurant, gift shops, and beach area. The remaining land was subdivided for private homes and cabins. The area soon began to grow and prosper.

Being so close to Hollywood was convenient to film producers, and the area became popular for making movies. Many celebrities stayed in the resorts and even bought homes. During the war years, Lake Arrowhead was a popular recreational area for service men.

Magazine advertisement from the 1930's (Rim of the World Historical Society)

North Shore Tavern, now site of the UCLA Conference Center (Rim of the World Historical Society)

In 1946 the lake and surrounding land was sold to the Los Angeles Turf Club. They donated large tracts of land to a variety of churches and organizations; including giving the North Shore Tavern to the University of California, and land and money to the Sisters of St. Joseph for building a hospital. The remaining land became known as "Arrowhead Woods."

In 1960 the lake was sold to the Lake Arrowhead Development Company, which later became part of the Boise Cascade Company. The land was further subdivided and improved, and the golf course was renovated and enlarged to 18 holes.  

After the Sylmar earthquake in 1971, the state required studies of all dams in California. It was determined that the Arrowhead dam would not be safe in a 6.5 earthquake, so a bond was passed to build a new dam just downstream. In 1974 the new dam was completed, creating Papoose Lake. Soon afterwards, property owners in Arrowhead Woods bought Lake Arrowhead from Boise Cascade.

In 1978 developers bought the old village. The buildings needed many repairs. The new owners let the fire department burn the buildings as a training exercise, and rebuilt the village with modern shops and a marina.


Lake Arrowhead Marina, with Papoose Lake in the background.


Lake Arrowhead still enjoys many thousands of visitors each year, but many people have decided to live here. Over 60% of the homes are owned by full time residents. Our community is served by excellent fire and sheriff's departments, our own Mountains Communities Hospital, and mountain children attend award-winning schools. We enjoy our wonderful four-season climate and clear mountain air. Surrounded by the beautiful San Bernardino National Forest, our community is truly unique.

Questions To Think About

1. When did they decide to build a lake in Little Bear Valley?

2. What happened in 1912?

3. Who built the first "village?"

4. Why did they build a second dam?

5. Who owns Lake Arrowhead today?