The story of the Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course is legendary in Laguna Beach. In 1871, George and Sarah Thurston laid claim to a 152-acre homestead and a one-room wood shack at the south end of the Aliso Canyon. The Thurston's were one of five families who originally settled the coastal area later to be called Laguna Beach. Historians note at that time, the canyon was barren and the countryside wild and desolate. The Thurston's planted fruit trees and vegetables to sell to local marketplaces and lived on the site for the next 50 years.
In the late 1940's, William “Bill” Bryant purchased an approximate 83-acre site within Aliso Canyon and began construction of the golf course. The 9-hole golf course was opened to the public in September 1950. Ownership changed again in 1956 when Ben Brown purchased what was named the “Laguna Beach Country Club” and began plans for a new destination resort. A plan was submitted and unanimously approved by the County of Orange for a 10-story hotel unit, 80 guest lodges, a special event pavilion, a larger clubhouse and restaurant, swimming pools, tennis courts, and other recreational space.
After a sweeping economic decline in the 1960's, Mr. Brown changed his ambitious vision and constructed the more understated “Laguna Beach Country Club & Village” which consisted of a 64-unit apartment complex, later converted into the present-day 62-Suite hotel units, hotel front desk, and a penthouse suite, which became the private residence of Mr. & Mrs. Brown, all around the existing 9-hole golf course. In 1967, construction began on Ben Brown's Restaurant, a new Golf Shop and adjacent locker room facility. Ben Brown passed away in 1970 resulting in control and management of the property being retained by Ben's wife Mrs. Violet T. Brown. Following his passing, the Laguna Beach County Club & Village was renamed to “Ben Brown's Motel & Golf Course” in the early 1970's, and then changed again to the Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course in 1978.
The Brown family operated the resort for the next 30 years gaining notoriety in local community before selling the property to Aliso Creek Properties in 2003. Today, the property retains its stunning setting and historic place in Laguna Beach welcoming over 100,000 visitors a year.
Historical Timeline of Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course
- 1950 - 9-hole golf course established as "Laguna Beach Country Club"
- 1956 - Golf course purchased by Ben and Violet Brown.
- 1963 - "Laguna Beach Country Club and Village" was originally designed and built as apartments and condominiums and later converted into a nightly rental hotel
- 1967 - Ben Brown's restaurant and golf shop established
- 1970 - Property re-named to "Ben Brown's Motel & Golf Course"
- 1978 - Name changes to the current: Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course
- 1998 - Ben Brown's restaurant remodeled and renamed "Canyon Lodge American Grill"
- 2003 - Purchased by Aliso Creek Properties and name changed to Aliso Creek Inn & Golf
- 2010 - Canyon Lodge American Grill converted to an exclusive special event venue with full catering and conference services