Deetjen's Big Sur Inn

Also known as: Deetjen's
CA 1 N of Castro Cr., Big Sur, California


Deetjen's Big Sur Inn

1. View north from across State Highway 1 toward Inn. 'Big Sur Inn' Building (HABS-CA-2611-A) visible at left, 'Hayloft' Building (HABS-CA-2611-B at right center, and 'Antique' Building (HABS-CA-2611-C) and 'Champagne' Building (HABS-CA-2611-D) out of sight behind trees at right.

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress


Street View 


Deetjen's Big Sur Inn, at Castro Creek Canyon and State Highway 1 along California's spectacular Big Sur coastline, was one of the first visitor accommodation facilities to offer overnight lodging and meals to travelers as a response to the opening of the Carmel-San Simeon Highway in 1937 (destined to become California's first officially-designated scenic highway in 1966). The Inn's builder, Helmuth Deetjen, employed the vernacular wooden building traditions of his native Norway in its design, carefully integrating the rustic architecture of the inn into the coastal chaparral and stands of redwood trees that characterized its scenic setting in Castro Creek Canyon. The five buildings that form the historic core of the inn, built between 1936 and 1941, possess a high level of integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association as an historic district. The rustic hand-crafted character of the Inn and its Old World ambiance set a standard for quality in the context of recreational development associated with the opening of the Big Sur to the tourist trade. Its architecture embodies the distinctive characteristics of its vernacular Norwegian sources in type, while its hand-crafted design conveys high artistic value. The strong architectural and historical significance of Deetjen's Big Sur Inn qualified the historic complex for listing in the National Register of Historic Places on September 13, 1990, at the local level of significance. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS CA-2611)

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 13, 1990
Reference number
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Norwegian rustic
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic functions
Hotel; Restaurant
Current functions
Hotel; Restaurant
Period of significance
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 4
Non-contributing buildings: 1

Update Log 

  • February 28, 2017: New Street View added by Bill Eichelberger