HISTORY OF LOCH LEVEN
Loch Leven was purchased Oct. 23, 1956 by the Pacific Southwest Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), but the property has had a long and varied life. Its first commercial enterprise was in 1928 as the “Dolly Varden Angling Club.” Dolly Varden might sound like the name of the glamorous hostess/proprietor and, in a way it is…it’s a variety of trout! A fish hatchery on the premises supplied the angling club’s ponds with trout for the guests to catch. Those same ponds were used by our church camp groups for fishing until 1969 when a major flood filled all the ponds with sand and rock. Their excavation has been the focus of several work camps over the past few decades.
Folklore and stories at Loch Leven are bountiful. Considering that Mountain Home Creek Road was once part of the main “Highway 38,” the lodge now known as Campbell Lodge was a prominent stopping point for hunters, fishermen, and other “sports” enthusiasts. Though gambling was illegal, it did not seem to stop them from arranging a poker room upstairs in Campbell Lodge’s Room 5, where the acoustical wallboard helped soundproof the room. And the closets in Room 4 once hid slot machines.
Campbell Lodge (named for Disciples’ founders Thomas and Alexander Campbell) is a classic example of the architectural style from the early 19th century and is the only remaining redwood lodge in the San Bernardino National Forest. It continues to be the aesthetic and historic heart of camp as it was nearly 100 years ago.