In 1905, Theodosia Button Murphy purchased the property when it was only an orchard. She built The Lodge as a dining hall and added tent cabins among the orchards, catering to the San Francisco elite who liked summering on the Russian River. Guests from the city stayed each summer anywhere from six weeks to three months.
The Murphy family sold the resort to Peter Pender in 1978, which he transformed to Fife’s Resort, one of the first gay destination resorts in Sonoma County. Rebranded as Dawn Ranch in 2005, the property is known as a worldwide destination wedding location, as well as for unique corporate retreats, large-scale family and social gatherings, and as a unique getaway for transient leisure guests.