LOS ALTOS HILLS — Just bought: a historic Tudor-style manor house that was built nearly 90 years ago on 44 acres in a scenic stretch of Los Altos Hills.
The recently purchased property has a rich history as a residence, a resort, an entertainment center during the Big Band era, a country retreat, restaurant, cocktail lounge, and most recently, the home of a top former executive with a storied Silicon Valley tech titan.
The seller: Robert Wayman, who for 22 years was the chief financial officer of Hewlett-Packard Co.
The buyer: a mystery at present. The buyer or buyers are operating through a group that was organized by Francis La Poll. La Poll is a former Los Altos Hills mayor and now is a Palo Alto-based estate planner and attorney with considerable real estate industry experience.
The price: $12.74 million, according to Santa Clara County records filed on Oct. 21.
Save Adobe Creek Lodge is the entity that is the official new owner of the property, at 26220 Moody Road in Los Altos Hills.
La Poll is listed as a manager for buyer Save Adobe Creek Lodge, according to state documents.
The state records show that a real estate investment firm that represents wealthy clients and handles property exchanges also is a key entity behind the transaction.
La Poll didn’t respond to multiple requests from this news organization for a comment regarding the purchase.
First Republic Bank provided the buyers with $7.6 million to help finance the purchase, county documents show.
Adobe Creek Lodge has had a remarkable history over the decades since the first structures were built on the site around 1932.
Among the milestones for the property, according to a post by the Los Altos Hills Historical Society and local historian John Ralston:
— Milton Haas, the first owner and a San Francisco chemical company executive, paid $250,000 to design and build a 17-room English country estate at the site. “The resulting property was one of the finest on the San Francisco Peninsula, where such estates sprouted after the Gold Rush as huge fortunes were made and lost,” the historical society stated.
— Henry Waxman, a San Francisco bakery entrepreneur, bought the property in 1945 and launched commercial uses there. These included two swimming clubs and a supper club that could accommodate 500 patrons.
— Frank Martinelli, a restaurant owner from San Francisco’s famed North Beach district, bought the property in 1955. Martinelli began operating picnic grounds and dining establishments on the property. Five swimming pools, hiking trails, horseshoe pits, sunbathing lawns, basketball courts, and baseball fields were added, creating a destination resort.
— In the 1950s, the incorporation of Los Altos Hills as its own municipality also established zoning rules to preserve the residential and agricultural nature of the community perched in the hills above the Santa Clara Valley.
— David Bellucci and his brother Alfred Bellucci, hotel executives from Marin County, paid $1 million for the property in 1961. David Bellucci battled for years to make Adobe Creek Lodge a permanent commercial site.
“The lodge acquired livery stables, carnival equipment, tennis courts, trailers, a trap and target shooting range, the Tally Ho Restaurant, new swimming pools, and trailer houses for employees” under the Bellucci ownership, according to the Los Altos Hills Historical Society.
Adobe Creek Lodge during the 1960s and 1970s was so popular that as many as 8,000 people would visit the property on many weekends. Vehicles choked the country roads that snaked to the site.
In the 1970s, it became clear Los Altos Hills would allow only residential uses on the site.
With the property deteriorating, Bellucci was forced to auction off numerous fixtures such as restaurant furnishings, kitchen equipment, garden furniture, and tennis nets in 1980.
Bellucci met a violent end. He lived on the Adobe Creek Lodge site until 1993 and then moved to the Santa Cruz County community of Live Oak, where he operated a local casino. He was found savagely beaten in June 1993 in his home and died soon after.
Adobe Creek Lodge tumbled into foreclosure and was seized in 1993 by the Resolution Trust Corp.
In 1994, H-P executive Wayman and his wife, Susan, bought the manor and some surrounding acreage. The property was in disrepair.
“Adobe Creek Lodge’s original buildings had deteriorated,” the historical society stated. “Bob Wayman remembers a lizard poking up through a hole in the main house’s floor.”
Robert Wayman and Susan Wayman launched a wide-ranging upgrade of the crumbling property, Ralston wrote for the historical society.
“The Waymans consulted the archives of the Los Altos history museum and recycled or reproduced original paneling, grilles, doors, cabinets, and fixtures,” according to Ralston’s post for the historical society. “The original designs were retained as much as possible.”
Ralston deemed the effort to be successful.
“I venture that Milton Haas would approve of the Waymans’ work,” Ralston said, referring to the property’s first owner.