THE DESERT WAS HOME
History with a heart
The story of Campbell House Inn is much more than the age and origin of its bricks and mortar.
William Campbell, an orphaned LA native, met Elizabeth Warder Crozer, daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia banker, at the wedding of a mutual friend in Pasadena. It was love at first sight.
After the First World War, Bill and Elizabeth Campbell were sent to the high desert because of Bill’s declining health from exposure to mustard gas. The warm, dry environment and clean air improved Bill’s health and they decided to make the desert Home.
The Campbell’s homestead a tract of land near the Oasis of Mara and built a cottage which formed the nucleus of their beautiful home. Completed in 1925, the Campbell’s lived an adventurous life, exploring the desert and helping build a community until Bill’s untimely death in 1944. Elizabeth never remarried and sold the 400-acre property in 1946 to Allie Wrubel.
"Our hearts were singing with love, youth, and the promise of a happy future."
Exile to the desert
A desert oasis
The pioneer spirit
Elizabeth started a garden from clippings and seeds from friends' gardens
It was an exciting time at the Campbell House, children playing, music and parties with Hollywood’s A-List. Allie loved his country and community and wrote some of his best work at the Campbell House.
Hollywood songwriter Allie Wrubel, and his wife Wanda Wrubel, bought the Campbell House in 1946 after the Campbells had moved on. They bought the 11 room house with 400 acres, owning all of the surrounding property including the hill behind the house, now known as Campbell Hill.
They turned the ranch house into a restaurant, The Flying W, and within the next year had stables with horses. They lived in the main house until 1966, then moved into the ranch house near the stables until Allie passed away in 1973.
From 1966 on, two other families purchased and lived at Campbell House with fond memories.
In 1994, Jan and Gary Peters purchased the 160-acre homestead and transitioned the property into a Bed & Breakfast, the Roughley Manor.
Wanting to retire, the Peters reached out to their friend Jane Smith, fourth-generation innkeeper and owner of the 29 Palms Inn, to buy the property and keep it from commercialism, which she happily did.
Back to Its Roots
The Campbell House returns to its original name to honor and celebrate Bill & Elizabeth Campbell.
In 2016, Heidi Grunt, Jane Smith’s eldest daughter, returned to Twentynine Palms and the 29 Palms Inn to start the transition of Jane’s retirement, taking charge of the Inn. When Jane decided to buy the Roughley Manor, that meant that Heidi was also in charge of the Bed & Breakfast. Heidi moved into the Roughley Manor and ran the B&B for a year.
She started to make small changes while keeping the charm of the Campbell House intact. Looking to move away from the B&B theme, Heidi worked on attracting more groups and retreats and COVID-19 made that happen quicker with the surge of people looking to escape city life.
Today, this historic and beloved property is in the midst of exciting updates.
The Campbell House Inn team is in the process of making the property a retreat spot for groups and a place of tranquility for one’s own personal retreat. We’re elevating the experience for our guests and staying true to its special story and setting in the heart of the Mojave Desert.
The rooms are being redecorated and the gardens are being returned to their roots, bringing back a more natural desert landscape with native plants that thrive in the desert environment.