[pct-l] Walker Pass Lodge
campydog at verizon.net
Fri May 14 13:55:02 CDT 2010
Ref: Inquiry concerning long-ago lodge near Walker Pass
The remains of the burned down Walker Pass Lodge Restaurant are located past the highway's zig-zag turns west of the pass. Parts of the former rock fireplace and concrete foundation mark the site. The restaurant was run by a man named Mr. Hauser, his first name not recalled. There were no overnight accommodations. Dinner menu options were minimal: a large porterhouse steak, although filet mignon was also sometimes available, served on a plate along with a baked potato with sour cream, butter, and chive. In addition, red beans from the kitchen bean pot were served in a GI brown plastic bowl.
Mr. Hauser didn't live within the lodge, but instead occupied a single-wide residence across the highway, surrounded by cottonwood trees. The lodge's waiting room was dominated by a bar impressively decorated with aviation squadron emblems and memorabilia. This bar had become the "official" off-site club of the then Naval Weapons Center (NWC) resident test and evaluation squadron, VX-5. Visiting personnel from other squadrons on TDY at the Naval R&D facility, or on overnight at the air facility at Armitage Field, were accompanied on after duty hours to the famous bar at the Walker Pass Lodge. I had spent many pleasant hours there during the 1960's and 70's. Mr. Hauser split his duties as both bar manager and cook.
The cause of the fire which destroyed the lodge wasn't made public. While in declining health, Mr. Hauser offered to sell the property. My wife and I discussed this proposition with Mr. Hauser, but we bowed out and the place remained unsold. Concerns existed over the durability of Mr. Hauser's on-sale liquor license. Then came the mysterious fire, and Mr. Hauser passed away soon after. In its early years, the Walker Pass Lodge served as an important way station for the public traveling between Bakersfield and points east. During WW 2 it become a pleasant oasis for the aviation community at Naval Air Station Inyokern, and also the engineers and scientists developing the first "Redeye" and "Zuni" air-launched missiles at NWC China Lake.
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