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Our Unique History

Pine Hills, once the gathering place of San Diego County's socially elite, continues to offer excellent accommodations in a rustic setting. At the turn of the century, the lodge was originally built as a romantic hideaway in the mountains amongst the surrounding apple orchards and forests. The history of the Lodge is a fascinating part of its unique ambience.

The Pine Hills Lodge was built in 1912 by Col. Ed Fletcher, a prominent real estate developer and banker in San Diego. The Lodge was designed by world famous architect Richard Requa, known for many of the structures in San Diego’s Balboa Park and Zoo. The bark-on wood log construction is considered irreplaceable and was done by builder Charles Engebretson.

In August 1925, the Lodge was sold to Fred A. Sutherland, owner and operator of the Sutherland Stage and Yellow Cab. He was a friend of Jack Dempsey, the prize-winning professional boxer. Sutherland built a gym at the Lodge and convinced Dempsey to come to the lodge to train for his second fight against Gene Tunney. On September 23, 1926, Dempsey lost the fight, but the gym he trained in remains standing to this day.

Over the years, the gym was used as a local movie theater. In the era of the 1920’s- 1940’s cabins and tree houses were built to accommodate the demand for more guests visiting the property. The tree houses are now gone. In 1980 the new owner, Dave Goodman, transformed the gym into a dinner theater for local amateur productions of known plays. After a 23 year run the theater closed in 2004 as the demand waned.

Since the purchase in 1998, major renovations have been completed, restoring "the famous Lodge" to its former splendor. In July 2003 the Lodge was acquired by new owners who plan to continue the legacy of rustic ambience. Under new management, the Lodge staff aspires to rekindle a reputation for delectable foods, gregarious service, and above all a genuine feeling of tranquility and amicable hospitality; a step back in time to a romantic hideaway.


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