There is a lot of mystery and myth that surround the nunnery that is located a quarter mile past Preston Valley campground in Logan Canyon. I have never been there myself, I have yet to muster enough courage to tresspass and visit the seemingly “spooky” place.
I’ve heard many stories about that place and it peaked my intrest to do a little research. There are many legends about St. Anne’s Retreat. Some of them are just dumb and some are pretty “dark”. Either way hearing the stories, weather you believe them or not, makes it a creepy place.
One of the legends is that located on the property is a pool where a little boy drowned. Currently the pool is empty but there is a cold spot about 2 or 3 feet in diameter. At night the pool is believed to glow. Many have claimed that have seen the ghosts of the children that were killed there.
Jacob Jensen, a physical education major, has researched the legends that encompass the old nunnery. According to the legend, Jensen said murders took place in the ’40s on the property.
Some speculated that a nun had become pregnant and the child was drowned to keep the secret others included expanded versions of the story featuring a suicide; still others speak of a child’s voice by the pool and sightings of a woman dressed in black.
This mystery about the children, make the playhouse an espeshilly creepy part of the property.
I’ve always imagined the place like a huge fortress, but the property is now run-down and consists of 21 buildings and structures, including two main lodges, six smaller cabins that surround one main lodge, a playhouse, a pool house and generator house, along with a fireplace, fire pit, fountain, bridge and swimming pool. At one time, it also was home to a small theater with an adjoining ticket booth. The nunnery is known by various other names, including Hatch’s Camp, Forest Hills and Pine Glenn Cove, or St. Anne’s Retreat.
The pool on the property is now empty. Currently, there are security guards who patrol the area for trespassers who are consequently ticketed.
While the buildings are now owned by Pine Glenn Cove LLC of Holladay, Utah, the land they sit on is owned by the U.S. Forest Service, which leases it to the property owner, Chad Godfrey, who has plans to renovate it.
There is actually a lot of history to this place, that I found to be very intresting (and may be intresting to history buffs…Holly and Joe).
The nunnery was built during the 1920s by Hezekiah Eastman Hatch a prominent Logan businessman who built the first cabin there. They used it as a family cabin and his descendants expanded it and around the 1930′s. Two of the descendants-L. Boyd Hatch and Floyd B. Odlum — became self-made millionaires. As directors of the Atlas Corp. in the 1930s and ’40s, they invested in, manage or controlled numerous businesses including Greyhound Buslines, Paramount motion picture studios, the Hilton Hotel chain, Madison Square Garden and various mines, utilities and banks. They lived in New York City with their families but spent summers at the camp, where they entertained Hollywood actors and actresses (Marylin Monroe) and directors, politicians, corporate executives and even the czar of Russia!
By the 1950′s, the family stopped using the camp and offered it first to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and then to Utah State University, but neither were interested. It was then offered to the Catholic Church through St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Logan. The sisters renamed the camp St. Ann’s Retreat and occupied it sporadically through 1978. The church actually wouldn’t refer to it as a “nunnery” because the sisters were not permanent residents.
After the church stopped using it, it was a children’s camp. It’s now owned by Chad Godfrey, and was just approved by the state Board of History for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. It’s guarded, due to rampant trespassing and vandalism, to keep away snoops like me who are curious to see the place.
According to a story in the Herald Journal, in October 1997, about 30 teenagers were ambushed, shot at, handcuffed, tied together by their necks and threatened with their lives by three men who claimed to be security guards at the area formerly known as St. Anne’s Retreat, in Logan Canyon. I was talking to my sister, Carrie, and she said she remembers this happening when she started going to USU.
Groups of teenagers in separate increments went to the old nunnery that night, and as each group arrived the three men surrounded them with guns, tied them up and forced them into the empty swimming pool that resides on the property, according to the Herald Journal.
The hostages were strapped together by ropes around their necks which the guards told them were linked to explosives and would, “blow their heads off,” if they tried to get free, according to the Herald Journal.
According to the article, one boy was butted by a shot gun, several girls were sexually molested and all of the kids had wrist marks from plastic, store-bought handcuffs.
The guards shouted obscenities at the teenagers, according to the article, and told them if they tried to run they would, “shoot off their legs.”
According to the article, after several hours of holding the teenagers captive, the guards called the cops on the kids for trespassing. When the cops arrived, they replaced the plastic cuffs with real ones and escorted them to the sheriff’s office where they were cited for trespassing and then released.
When the victims’ parents found out what happened, the trespassing charges were dropped and the guards went to jail for several months.
The Legend of the former nunnery that makes it such an intriguing place, Burke said, is the reason the kids were drawn there that night.
I thought it was interesting to find out more about this place and Mark teases me like I’m obsessed with the creepy nunnery, but I just find the history fascinating.