Poho Ridge & the Ruins of the Hotel Bret Harte

MAY 16 2010 –  I met the Cal Sierra ATV Club out at PoHo Ridge for one of their scheduled runs today. The club met at the Safeway Market parking lot in Pollock Pines and then traveled as a group to the staging area at PoHo. I could hear the rumbling of the engines coming up the canyon where I was waiting for them at PoHo as they pulled into the staging area one by one with their trucks trailering their ATV’s.  The Cal Sierra Club had a great turn out, maybe 10 to 15 trucks. I met Kevin the President, and Clay the Vice Pres. These two very down to earth good guys made me feel I was their friend as soon as I started talking to them.  Kevin pulled the group together and had a quick meeting then off we went to what they called Thelma and Louise overlooking the canyon and Slab creek Reservoir. From there we went to the ruins of the Hotel Bret Harte at Deer View and Deer View Lodge, a place I had never been before because you have to travel on some forest service paved road to get there. It was hard to believe that a Hotel that big and there so long ago (built in the early 1920’s) was almost finished but never opened. We had lunch at the hotel ruins and took some time to chat. We then headed out to go to Cable Point but the road was impassable because of trees blocking the road. So, we headed back to Slab Creek, took a break, and then road back to the staging area.  All and all it was a good long round trip and I had a great time with the people from the Cal Sierra ATV Club. Everybody was having a great time getting dusty and dirty and also testing our riding skills in some tough spots along the way.

If you want to find an ATV Club to belong to in the Sacramento area, this Club is a good one to check out. I’m looking forward to spending more time with them. They are also having a poker run at Cisco Grove in June. Check it out under our ATV Events-Rides posting or go to the Cal Sierra ATV Club web site.

Thanks for having me you guys! Happy Quading

Harvey Bolton      ONE with QUAD

Hotel Bret Hart

Hotel Bret Harte was never finished, because the owner, A.P.T. Elder, died suddenly in 1924. The heirs were not interested in the hotel, sold everything and then let the building fall to ruins


Bret Harte Hotel

Bret Harte Hotel 1924

The Hotel Bret Harte had 250 rooms and was four stories tall.

A video from You Tube and the Sierra Nevada Adventures of the Bret Harte Hotel ruins:

The video below is actually of the entrance of the two story Deer View Lodge (which is in the top picture to the left of the Bret Harte Hotel) which was already open for business. And the back retaining walls which he says are the Kitchen basement are actually I believe to be the retaining walls with built in storage rooms and walkway behind the two buildings. Looking at the entrance to the Bret Harte Hotel in the photo I do not see any walkway to the entrance to the hotel , but the artist rendition above shows an entrance walkway to the front of the building . I did not see any entrance walkway or stairs to the front of the Bret Harte building when I was there. This leads me to believe that they stopped working on the project before the entrance walkway to the Bret Harte Hotel was ever made.

(YouTube video by Sierra Nevada Adventures)


For more information on the Hotel Bret Harte and its owner, A.P.T. Elder, we found the following interesting articles on line:

Sierra Nevada Geotourism Guide
Excellent directions on how to get the the Hotel Bret Harte ruins and more fascinating historical information.

Witness sorts fact from fiction about Hotel Bret Harte
Compiled and arranged by Peg Presba, Mountain Democrat, April 9, 1998

Jim Conrad’s Naturalist Newsletter issued from the Sierra Nevada Foothills east of Sacramento, CA (the 4th article on the page:Deer View.)

Factiods on A.P.T Elder:

It is very possible the Hotel Bret Harte was named after the author Bret Harte who had been a friend of A.P.T Elder.

I see no limit to the future in art of a country which has already given us Emerson, that master of moods, and those two lords of romance, Poe and Bret Harte.
—Oscar Wilde to A. P. T. Elder, 1885

A.P.T Elder co authored the following book:
“The Light of the World” by Abram Peter Turner Elder, Our Savior in Art. “Containing nearly one hundred full page engravings, copies of the world’s greatest masterpieces of painting, from the art galleries of Europe.”

A little fraud/mail scam by the same A.P.T. Elder? YES indeed.
Found in the Republic: Sunday, February 1, 1903
“Grosvenor’s Denial is Contradicted by Letters.”

Elder published the book: Grosvenor, Charles Henry, 1833-1917. Book of the presidents, with biographical sketches (1902)

More information is found on A.P.T. Elder at the Library of Congress website.

Have fun with history! Nancy