Emerson Family HomeEdit
This is the former family home of the Emerson clan. It was completed in 1912. It was designed by L.D. Esty as clubhouse for the Casa del Rey Golf and Country Club on Pogonip Creek. Near the creek are stone kilns from the 1853 lime industry. The lime works were owned by Henry Cowell and when he died in 1903, his son Harry Cowell took over the ranch. As a conservationist, Harry established "Henry Cowell Big Trees Park" in 1906. In 1911, boardwalk founder Fred Swanton persuaded Cowell to convert the Pogonip portion of Big Trees for a country club. Swanton wanted an affordable version of Luna Bay's Hotel Del Monte and built the Casa del Rey next to the boardwalk. The country club would feature a golf course, club house, and stables. Before the club house was finished the construction site was beset with delays and lethal disasters. Equipment and tools were damaged or went missing. Workers quit without warning or disappeared and eventually no construction firm could be found to finish the job. Eventually the project was abandoned and the site reverted back to the wild.
The club house remained vacant until after WWII when the golf course went on the auction block. It was bought by a real estate developer and sub-divided into "hobby farm" lots. The run down golf club was converted into a lodge and rented to vacationing tourists for many years. In the 1970's when it was then sold to Barnard H. Emerson and converted into a taxidermy workshop. Unfortunately, the house has again fallen into disrepair since it was suddenly abandoned by the Emerson family back in the 80's. Popular theory is that it was rendered uninhabitable by the Loma Prieta earthquake. It is currently condemned.
The Casa Del Rey hotel lasted only a short time longer than the country club. It seems it had a problem with keeping paying guests. When it came to check out, many a guest had simply disappeared leaving behind their unpaid bills. It finally went bankrupt and closed during WWII and stood vacant until it was converted into an apartment building during the early 60's.
In 1955 Henry Cowell died his park became "Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park" a preserve for first and second growth native forest. The rest of his estate went to University of California at Santa Carla, Cowell Beach, First Congregational Church on High Street, Mills College, Stanford University, and Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.