The Last of the Sandberg Apples – Lillian Grojean

UPDATE: There are a few Sandberg Apple trees still out there! Thank you John Kelley! Going to look around for them next weekend.

Sandberg’s Summit Hotel, on the Ridge Route, was famous for their apples. Fit for a king… or actually multiple presidents, their orchard produced some fine fruit. Marian Sandberg made delicious apple pies and homemade cider. So where can you get a taste of the Sandberg’s apples? Without the use of a time machine, you can’t find the actual apples, but some Sandberg’s apples do remain! Just in the form of pottery.

After Harold Sandberg’s death in 1939, things start to take a wild turn for the hotel. There are lots of rumors and theories out there so when it comes to research, it’s a bit hard to find solid information. There’s talks of gambling and prostitution as well as a German spy during World War 2.

The last one is who we’re going to focus on. Her name was Lillian Grojean. There is no evidence she was a spy… though that does make for a great story! She did, however, make pottery at Sandberg’s with her signature “Sandberg’s Apple” adorning most of the pieces.

Her pieces are recognizable by the apple, varying shades of green and her signature on the back. She lived at Sandberg’s while it was a 3 story log cabin. Sometime between 1944 and 1951. The foundations of Sandberg’s can still be seen south of the intersection of the Ridge Route and Pine Canyon Road.

Her pottery was sold at Kellems Pasadena and much of it can still be found out there in the world! You just have to know where to look to get your very own Sandberg Appple!

Learn More…

My favorite article about Sandberg’s and how I found out about Lillian Grojean: “Sandberg’s Lodge on the Old Ridge Route” – Clairitage Press

What Sandberg’s looked like: “Sandberg’s Summit Hotel” – SCV History

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