a black and white photo of lumberjacks of yesteryear with a massive cut redwood tree
an aerial view of Brewery Gulch Inn

The History of Our Inn

Much of the wood used to rebuild San Francisco after the Great Earthquake of 1906 came from the North Coast. Lumber mills would be located at the base of most major rivers along the coast. The Big River, just north of the Inn, was no exception. Most of the logging of the giant redwoods occurred during the summer months when the river current was not strong enough to float the logs to the mill. Along the Big River, remnants of 26 wooden dams can be found. Behind each dam was built a “log deck”. As the log stack got higher, its weight pushed the lowest ones (called "sinker logs") deeper into the river silt. When the winter rains would come, the dams would be dynamited and the logs released to float down to the mill. The “sinkers” were left behind. They remained at the bottom of the Big River for over 150 years.

In the last part of the 20th century, during an earthquake retrofitting project on the Big River bridge, these "sinker" logs were found deeply embedded in the silt. Perfectly preserved by the cold, mineral-rich ocean water, these 100-150 year old logs ranged up to 16’ in diameter. Guiltless virgin redwood, 15,000 board feet of these logs were eco-salvaged from the mud and used as a major component in the 2001 construction of the present-day Brewery Gulch Inn. The effect of the mineralization of this redwood as it lay under the river is evident in the color variation of the paneling in the reception area.

The location of Brewery Gulch, part of the original 10 acre farmstead of Mendocino pioneer, Homer Barton, has spectacular views out over Smuggler’s Cove and borders 48,000 acres of unoccupied meadows and redwoods of the Jackson Demonstration State Forest. The inn can be seen on the left, and the original farmstead of Homer Barton can be seen on the right.


What People are Saying


The 10-room inn, designed by architect Caroline La Pere, is a worthy tribute to those ancient trees, with a central common room and dining area built around a huge four-sided fireplace made of glass and welded steel plates by a local shipbuilder. The view down-slope to the pounding Pacific is, in a word, stupendous.

– Delta Sky Magazine

The Brewery Gulch Inn is a fine place to get a taste of local history and an eyeful of local wood…virgin redwood, that is.

– Sunset Magazine