Adobe Creek Lodge Story
Part 2

Late in 1974, with deadline to end Adobe Creek Lodge's commercial operation just over a year off, Bellucci offered the town a compromise, the first of several attempts to make over the business into a sort of non-profit cooperatively owned venture. He had been against the non-profit route, he said, as he had invested considerable capital in the business, but now there seemed no other way out. In 1976 he did make the club non-profit, leasing the land and club to the members while living on the property himself. In 1978 there appeared questions by members as to what use was made of their money. Adobe Creek Lodge continued operation under a conditional use permit until matters came to a head. At two meetings of the town council, Bellucci did not appear. Another was scheduled for late September 1978, with a public hearing on the lodge's status. Now, Bellucci was proposing outright sale of the property to the lodge's members, excepting the parcel with his home, for $2 million dollars. The alternatives, he said in a letter to club members, were to change the zoning ordinance - there seemed little chance of that - or, again, sell the property to residential developers for subdivision. However, late in 1978 the town revoked Bellucci's conditional use permit, and Adobe Creek Lodge ceased commercial operation in January, 1979.

Over the next six years Bellucci made several proposals for re-opening. In 1979 he retained Pangea Coporation of Los Altos to submit a use permit to the town planning commission, remodel buildings, and start a supper club. The planning commission approved Bellucci's latest proposal, but apparently the town council did not. In 1980 Bellucci offered the property to the town itself, which would finance the purchase with revenue bonds. In September, 1980, however, a consultant advised the town that operation of Adobe Creek Lodge as a private club, now without a restaurant, was of doubtful value, and the town would not qualify for tax-exempt status.

Another deal had fallen through. The property deteriorated. On September 13, 1980 Bellucci endured the ignominy of selling the lodge's movable property at auction. "A throng of restaurant owners and barkeeps," said the Town Crier, "bid on the collection of restaurant furnishings, kitchen equipment, garden furniture, tennis nets, and other relics of the club's heyday." Los Altos Hills administrator Karen Jost recalls Bellucci from this period, or possibly afterwards. He would come to the town on a motor scooter, in a terry bathrobe, saying that he didn't have money because the town had taken it all.

In June, 1984 Bellucci offered another proposal, this being for a "family park," in which an anticipated 1,750 ownership interests would be sold. The resultant private park, to include open space, tennis courts, a tennis center, swimming pools, and a "youth activities center," would be for day use only with no food service. That proposal requiring an environmental impact report, Bellucci followed in November, 1984 with an interim use permit application to form a 300-member non-profit club. As this would just reinstate a long-established use of the property, no EIR would be necessary. Once the ownership-interest plan was processed, he would abandon the interim proposal. In 1985, with Adobe Creek Lodge still closed, Bellucci withdrew the latter proposal. Naturally, Bellucci still faced resistance. After polling Los Altos Hills council members informally, he found that he could not muster a majority to approve the 1,750-member plan.

Bellucci put the property up for sale in June, 1985. He still tried one last gamble to re-open Adobe Creek Lodge commercially. By August he had gathered signatures on a petition for a ballot initiative to affect all 15-acre sites zoned for recreational use in Los Altos Hills. His proposal, which appeared on the November, 1985 ballot as Measure E, would change the town zoning to allow recreational use of Adobe Creek Lodge without the original conditional use permit. Predictably, Measure E was controversial, even bitter.

Bellucci and his supporters touted Measure E in environmental terms, saying it would save open space; opponents said it was only to save Bellucci's hide. There being no businesses in Los Altos Hills, Bellucci asked stores in Los Altos to display "Yes on E" signs. Those who did heard from Los Altos Hills opponents of E. Bellucci charged "Gestapo tactics." Measure E opponents accused proponents of pulling down "No on E" signs, and cutting away trees by Adobe Creek Lodge to display "Yes on E" signs more prominently. Predictably, Measure E was resoundingly defeated, 782 Yes to 1,312 No.

Bellucci's last plan was in 1987, when he proposed a senior citizens facility, like the Sequoias in Portola Valley. A portion of the property ended up subdivided with one-acre lots.

Bellucci continued to live at Adobe Creek Lodge until early 1993, by one account. He moved to between Santa Cruz and Capitola, taking up residence on Pleasure Point Drive, and operated Bellucci's House of Poker in Live Oak.

On the morning of Friday, June 11th, a 911 operator got a call for help from Bellucci. Medics found him at his house savagely beaten by a blunt instrument. He had head injuries, and torso and arm fractures. Taken to Dominican Santa Cruz Hospital, he died during surgery. Like so much about Bellucci, his violent death causes speculation. Was he the victim of a random attack? Did he have mob connections? Was he threatened because he owed money? Did his attackers go too far and panic, leaving him to die? In any case, his murder is unsolved and probably always will be. He left several ex-wives and children.

Adobe Creek Lodge passed from Bellucci's ownership to a Savings and Loan's. After that went bankrupt, the property passed to the Resolution Trust Company. In 1994 Robert Wayman, chief financial officer of Hewlett-Packard, and his wife Susan bought the buildings and six surrounding acres.

Adobe Creek Lodge's original buildings had deteriorated. Bob Wayman remembers a lizard poking up through a hole in the main house's floor. Wayman, who of course knew quite a lot about electronics and communications, also found the property had been equipped with 200 telephone lines. Again, one can speculate about Bellucci. Had he been running a bookmaking operation?

The Waymans hired the architectural firm Moyer Associates, lead architect Dave Miller. Landscape architect was Thomas Klope of Los Altos. Interior designer was Michelle Stojoanovich, of Room With a View Interiors, Los Gatos. The Waymans consulted the archives of Los Altos's history museum, and recycled or reproduced original paneling, grilles, doors, cabinets, and fixtures. The original designs were retained as much as possible, and added to in good taste.

The Waymans added a second story to the Tally Ho Club, which was remodeled as a guest house. Landscape architect Klope designed a stone walkway to frame the large back lawn and connect with the casino and the new swimming pool. I venture that Milton Haas would approve of the Waymans' work.

I conclude with a tour of Adobe Creek Lodge today.

Just left of the main entrance off Moody Road is a creek with a stone bridge. If this looks familiar, that's because it's the logo of the LAHHS newsletter. Courtesy Ralston Independent Works

The main entrance is here.

Courtesy Ralston Independent Works








Inside left of the main entrance is a large living room in Tudor style, preserved much as it originally appeared.

Courtesy Ralston Independent Works





The landscape architect's path curves around to a view of the main house.

Courtesy Ralston Independent Works







A second story was added to the Talley Ho Restaurant, now the guest house.

Courtesy Ralston Independent Works






The adjoining Tap Room was retained.

Courtesy Ralston Independent Works







Lana got this shot of me taking the panorama as Bob Wayman looks on. Courtesy Ralston Independent Works

This concludes our tour. Bob Wayman generously lent, among other things, a large scrapbook, actually more of an album, compiled by his daughter.







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