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carole lombard 03

Where Clark and Carole (and Orson) actually stayed

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.09 at 18:00
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

During their nearly half-dozen years together -- both before and during their marriage -- Carole Lombard and Clark Gable frequently left Los Angeles for some getaways, staying in some secluded spot. One of them was not the Oatman Hotel in Arizona, where legend (not fact) states the couple honeymooned after marrying in nearby Kingman, Ariz., in March 1939. That claim has repeatedly been disproven.

But here's one place Clark and Carole did stay, and the records are there to prove it:

It's the Wolf Creek Inn, in the southern Oregon village of the same name, just off Interstate 5. The tavern's heritage dates back to 1853 (the current structure was built in 1883).

So where do film stars fit in? Well, it's no secret that Gable found fishing the perfect antidote for the hubbub of Hollywood (that 1940 photo above first ran at http://www.dearmrgable.com), and Oregon -- blessed with superlative fishing -- was both sufficiently far from southern California and near enough for a getaway. So when Clark went to fish, Carole joined him. (For all we know, Mrs. Gable took that candid.)

The author of a story in the Medford (Ore.) Mail Tribune (http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140706/NEWS/407060311/-1/NEWSMAP) may not have been aware of the Gable-Lombard marriage, because here's how she described the Hollywood angle:

"During the 1930s, movie stars came to the inn to escape the demands of a Hollywood back lot. One such visitor was Clark Gable, who enjoyed Southern Oregon getaways often and particularly liked fishing the Rogue River. Other names in the guest book include Carole Lombard and Orson Welles, obviously celebrities with good taste."

The mind reels at the thought of Carole and Orson checking in for a tryst. (Welles often said he adored Lombard, who was more than 6 1/2 years his senior, but not in a romantic way.)

But a notable author whose works were adapted into films, including one of Gable's, also has ties to Wolf Creek:

"In 1911, famous writer Jack London stayed at the Wolf Creek Inn for several weeks and completed his novel 'Valley of the Moon' in a room on the second floor that retains its original historical flavor."

The Wolf Creek Inn certainly has had a colorful history -- from Jack London to Gable and Lombard to..."hippies" and Hell's Angels:

Since then the property has been converted into a state park with nine guest rooms and a diverse menu. To learn more about the inn and book a reservation, visit http://www.historicwolfcreekinn.com or phone 541-866-2474 -- but one note: the inn will be closed for renovations on Oct. 1, with a scheduled reopening on April 1, 2015. So you only have about 2 1/2 months to catch some Clark and Carole vibes (not to mention some Wellesian ones) at Wolf Creek.

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