Castella’s 1926 Castle Stone Cottage Inn Vacation Cottages & “Boardwalk Empire” History With Fly Fishing Fame
Story by Bob Hailey & Bob Stevens, Iguana Media Group
Castle Stone Cottages, with a rich historical website: www.castlestoneinn.net, located in Castella, California is Shasta County’s equivalent of the Emmy Winning HBO Series Boardwalk Empire and the Atlantic City 1920’s Prohibition Era, www.hbo.com/boardwalk-empire. Located on the Upper Sacramento River and built in 1926 these five fully furnished stone vacation cottages are a key part of Castella’s history. The “Boardwalk Empire” Mini-Series certainly has Castella as a historical rival. Hollywood stars, millionaires, and Bay Area holiday vacationers flocked to Castella by train to enjoy libations, rumored brothels, entertainment, lodging, and small town shopping during the 1920’s forward. As in Atlantic City’s early 1920’s, The Volstead Enforcement Act (making alcohol illegal) did little to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed in the local Castella area. The men in Castella were made up of miners, mill workers, lumberjacks and railroad workers, who all had the reputation for working around Prohibition laws.
Castle Stone Cottages are rumored to have once been the meeting place of President John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, as documented in Redding Record Searchlight, www.redding.com/lifestyle/jfk-monroe-stayedhere-so-goes-the-story. Owner Brian Theriot says: “Today’s Castle Stone Cottage Inn is a fully furnished vacation paradise anointed with decorations of past. You just show up and enjoy our hiking, river tubing, fly fishing, BBQ, running, and sightseeing. My wife Melissa and I are very active in film and television so Castella is a nice retreat for Hollywood film and television stars of today.”
“The Marilyn and JFK stay is a tale told to this day and I can only confirm what my Grandpa Hobbs told me as a kid about JFK and the visit.” Brian adds: “I do know JFK and many Democrats migrated here. JFK dedicated our Whiskeytown Dam as shown in the following video:
In 1960 President Kennedy gave a speech in Dunsmuir which you can read:
Mike’s Place prominently featured the bar favorite and near life size painting of Marilyn Monroe signed in lipstick…so you can add in the tales as told and decide for yourself.” And, the Theriots are not shy… “I personally take all calls at: 949-632-4650,” Brian states.
Mike’s Place was a bar owned by Mike Padula and the liquor flowed freely from the 1920’s forward, which added to the area’s allure. Castella is rich in high profile visits by President Hoover, William Randolph Hearst, President Taft, and musicians such as Jimmy Dorsey. Decades ago the once great Castle Crag Resort hummed with Hollywood icons and big band sounds hovering over the Upper Sac Valley. “Castella is America’s most loving hamlet and a throwback to a great America,” says Theriot. Castle Stone Cottage Inn is professionally managed by Louie Dewey of Cave Springs Resort in Dunsmuir. Co-owner Melissa Crow says: “We have five fully furnished vacation rentals with a heritage of being a part of the famous Engle Inn Resort, a hotel favorite to the stars and Presidents.” During Prohibition, the old timers say enforcement was by two different authorities. Shasta County Sheriff’s deputies would make raids in the county, while the District Attorney’s office had a dry squad of its own. Mike’s Place was located next to the Castella Post Office which was located across the street from where the Southern Pacific passenger train – the “Castella Flyer” – stopped and unloaded passengers arriving from the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley. Most of the visitors would ride the train up for the weekend and stay at one of the many resorts in the area such as Sweetbriar Resort and Crag View Resort. The first stop after a long and hot train ride from the Sacramento valley would be Mike’s Place for a cold refreshment.
The Theriots have added to the services package at Castle Stone Cottages. “Castle Stone Cottage Inn is also the headquarters of Red Hackle Fly Fishing,” says Theriot.
Red Hackle Fly Fishing Clients Are Treated To World Class Nor Cal Stream Fishing.Fishing photos submitted by Red Hackle Fly Fishing.
Red Hackle Fly Fishing – www.redhackleflyfishing.com – specializes in great streams with its home base as the Upper Sacramento River, one of Northern California’s true blue ribbon trout streams. Red Hackle also services great water sheds of the Lower Sac, fabled McCloud, the Pit, and Hat Creek. Red Hackle welcomes fly anglers of all levels to test their skills on the area’s hard fighting native rainbows. Owners Brian “Bucko” Theriot, son of Castle Stone Cottages owner Brian Theriot Sr., and Dan Giacomaro are both licensed professional guides. As graduates of the finest Guide School in the West they understand the importance of customer service and of making a day on the water an experience that will motivate their clients to pursue Fly Fishing as a lifetime endeavor. Guides can provide walk and wade trips on any of the rivers located in the Shasta Trinity area, local stillwater fisheries as well as drift boat trips on the Lower Sac which is considered by many to be one of the best Trout Rivers in the U.S. Client itineraries are customized. Red Hackle also has a Beginners Fly Fishing School – a hidden gem. Giacomaro states: “Beginner Classes are something not really offered by other guide services.
Photo of Brian “Bucko” Theriot co-owner Red Hackle Fly Fishing’s Resort Cottage Teaching School.
Plus, we provide the unique client lodging option. Where we stand out is we teach our classes in a relaxed atmosphere out on the deck then walk across the street and we are in the water fishing. It’s nice to have a comfortable clean cabin waiting for you after a long day on the water. The classes usually cover 2 1/2 days for the beginning angler. A sample itinerary is available on our website www.redhackleflyfishing.com. Lunches are provided.” ☼