The name commemorates Peter Lebec,
a French trapper who was killed in
1837 under a tree near Fort Tejon
by a grizzly bear that he had shot and
More noted by the magnificent Lebec Hotel
built in 1921 by Thomas O'Brien,
a saloon-keeper from Bakersfield and Cliff
Durant the automobile manufacturer and airplane instructor
The hotel had Spanish Mission type architecture.
It was a playland for Hollywood executives and
stars in its hey day. Clark Gable and
his actress wife Carole Lombard as well as gangster
Benny "Bugsy" Siegal frequented the
Shortly after the hotel opened, Durant apparently
tired of his investment and sold his interest to Foster
Curry, (son of the concessionaire at Yosemite)
Curry and his wife brought a series of lawsuits
against O'Brien to rescind the sale, alleging that O'Brien had
improperly instituted a foreclosure on Curry's note.
Somehow O'Brien managed to gain control of the hotel
as a result of an in-court settlement with Curry.
Over the years the hotel fell into disrepair.
It was officially closed on November 13, 1968 in
response to health department charges concerning its substandard
water system and dilapidated condition.
The hotel went into receivership and was acquired
by the Tejon Ranch Company. They torched the
hotel and demolished the remains on April 27,1971
only two weeks after acquiring the property.