Big Sur is largely considered one of the most picturesque spots in the world. Comprising a 71-mile stretch of Central California coastline in between Carmel and San Simeon, the region is home to bucolic vista after bucolic vista. As such, it has become a frequent destination for filmmakers (not to mention influencers, much to locals’ chagrin). The area, with its jagged cliffs and hairpin-turn roadways, naturally lends itself to thrillers and dark dramas. “Play Misty For Me,” “Big Little Lies,” “Basic Instinct,” “Suspicion” and the 2020 Netflix series “Ratched” are just a few to take advantage of the striking scenery.
Sadly, Big Sur is also prone to frequent fires, mudslides and other natural disasters. In the past year alone, the region was devastated by both the Dolan Fire and the subsequent washing away of a large section of Highway 1 during a storm which cut off the area’s main – and in some cases only – thoroughfare for a whopping 86 days. And just this week Lucia Lodge, the historic motel that figured prominently in “Ratched,” was ravaged in a structural fire.
The quaint property, which sits perched atop a craggy bluff at 62400 CA-1, has long been a tourist and local favorite thanks to its stunning views, proximity to area attractions, popular roadside restaurant and historic past. So news of the blaze hit the community particularly hard.
The land where Lucia Lodge now stands was acquired by Indiana-born pioneer Wilber Judson Harlan in 1885 as part of a 167-acre parcel. Harlan, his wife, Ada, and their brood of ten children made their home on the site as well as utilizing it for the farming of barley, potatoes and wheat. Wilber also installed a sawmill on the premises, where he cut the redwood used to build his family’s two-story residence.