I am Brian Theriot and you can call me anytime as I live at the resort and in Southern California USA: 949-632-4650. You can text me your email address or email me at: btheriotnl@aol.com and I will send to you an introductory letter. My wife is Melissa Crow and we are devoted to Castella. I grew up here and trained for 3 Olympic Games. The environs and training allowed me to run the mile in 3:56 and 800 meters in 1:45, serve as UCLA Captain and NCAA Champion. I raised for kids with my wife, Trevor Moose Theriot (UCLA star football player), Tina Theriot entertainment executive, Danielle Theriot Specialist In Recovery, Bucko Theriot Nor Cal’s finest fly fisherman guide service. Get to know us: mcrowgroup.com; iguanamediagroup.net, Brian Theriot on FB, Castle Stone Cottage Inn on FB, and Interview with Brian Theriot – UCLA Sprinter turned Pro 800/Mile. We are also on VRBO

If you book a full day fly guide with Bucko Theriot you get 20% off your lodging after you complete your fly guide trip: westernanglersguide.com

What to bring: if winter we have wood but bring starter fire sticks beyond what we supply.

We supply starter roll toilet paper. You really only need to worry about a few extras such as paper towels and your groceries. We have a local market: Ammiratis.

http://www.ci.dunsmuir.ca.us/ is just six miles from us. Lovely Dunsmuir.

The cottages are historic. We have a town of 100 people. This is a quiet place. Your pets are okay but keep on leash.

You will have a great time. The kids too. Bring river tennis shoes to swim in the summer. Fun to wear river rubber shoes while swimming or surf booties. We have a swim hole on the turn step out left of the cottages further left under the bridge of the train is another swim hole. You can tube the river with the kids. Short run is from our place on the turn down to the next bridge. Easy walk back. You get out under the bridge. Or keep going down to Sweetbriar another half mile. Fun. Get out there and walk back to Castella with your tubes OR have someone pick you up at the Sweetbriar bridge. Castella is a town of 200 people. The road my cottages are on is a loop that you can take all the way around town and back. 1 mile. We have one store. Ammiratis Market. Great beers. Candies. Breakfast burritos. Some groceries. Buy your groceries in bulk in Dunsmuir market. In Castella you will want to visit the lower state park a mile a way. Ask Nick or Gina at the store how to get there. There is a path in the lower park that runs along the river. A rope bridge. Fun. You might have to pay a few bucks to park. Nick or Gina or anyone at the store can help you. Post office is right next door. Fishing is great if you bait or fly fish. Our swim hole has a rope swing. You can buy tubes on amazon or at the hardware stores in Mt. Shasta. In Castella you have the lower State Park across the lower Castella main bridge or the main Castle Crags State Park where you can drive in, pay, and park up the hill. Hike to the fabulous Castle Crags Dome. About a 2 hours hike. Bring water.

SKI SHASTA IN THE WINTER. We are 25 minutes from the slopes.

The Cottages are fully furnished. You have a BBQ too. All else is provided. We have DirectTV in all cottages and DVD Players.

We have WI FI at the cottages NOT FOR WATCHING MOVIES AS WE ARE ON LIMITED BANDWIDTH, but great for research and emails.

Please note. We have DirectTV. The WI FI is for Website looking and email TV and Movies can run you $80.000 a gigabyte. Beware.

Mt. Shasta is just 14 miles north. You take the kids to the fish hatchery. Thousands of trout. feed them. shop in town. and visit Lake Siskiyou. Fun. There is an entire kids area at the lake. Take a lunch. slides…jumpers…fun.

Dunsmuir is 6 miles north of us. fun… eat at cornerstone bakery. Try Pizza Factory for the kids. great local hardware store. When you check in at Cave Springs to get your keys ask louie or sylvia to show you the path to the park near them if you want to see it later. Dunsmuir is an epic town. You will want to shop the stores on main street and Sacramento Avenue. Mossbrae falls below is epic. The kids will love it. Cold water but walk over to the falls and under them. If your kids swim great. At that age even inner tubing I would wear a life jacket small just in case. The river is shallow near our cottages. But with kids always be safe. Also in Dunsmuir you will want to try railroad cafe it is great food. You will want to take the kids to the old haunted mortuary house in Dunsmuir. Ask for Nancy she is my friend. Take pictures on the old train car near the pool and park in town. Fine dining at Se Thongs or the world famous white linen Maddalena Restaurant. Spirits Sports Bar is always fun.

Why not visit Lake Siskiyou and swim, fish, just relax. or Take off to Lake Shasta. Maybe rent a houseboat or here is a fun one visit Shasta Caverns.

Maybe head up to Burney Falls: http://www.burney-falls.com/ or dip in at McCloud Falls: http://californiathroughmylens.com/mccloud-falls-waterfall-near-shasta. In short…no place in the world has what we offer.

Here is a link to Mossbrae Falls. Talk to Louie or Sylvia (530) 235-2721 at Cave Springs Resort, our property managers, on check in. you will park in a residential zone walk across tracks and up river 1/2 mile to get to falls. Not an easy walk and watch out for trains. The kids will love it. But not the walk. Take a lunch and eat by the falls. Get your lunch at Manfredis market in Dunsmuir and the entrance to Dunsmuir coming north. Best subs in the world.

Key to remember these swim spots. On the turn near the cottages is a great swim spot. Also as you crossed the tracks to get to the cottages under the bridge is great. Next. Take a trip south and get off at Sims Road. Follow it down to the open area. Park near the tracks. Walk up river 100 yards to the right is deep swim holes. Next make sure you visit the lower Castle Crags State Park near the cottages. Instead of coming off the freeway and turning right to the cottages go left to the first bridge. Go over the bridge and take a left. First left is lower state park. Park there. Pay to park sometimes. Walk up the river trail and along the river. Beautiful and it dead ends at a great swim area. Now a longer trip south is to Volmers. 22 miles. Huge swim area at Volmers.

Sacramento River tubing is a blast

Mt. Shasta Fish Hatchery always immense fun. And visit the Museum

The Castle Stone Cottages are adjacent to the Sacramento River

Get your tubes

We have trains so get ready for the fun..and a swim hole under this bridge near cottages

You can hike to the dome on the far right from the State Park

The History
During Prohibition and the 1920s, Castella was THE place to go in the upper Sacramento River Canyon. People flocked there because it was a beautiful out-of-the-way place where alcohol flowed like water.

Prohibition began on Jan. 16, 1920, when the Volstead Enforcement Act became law. It outlawed the sale of alcoholic beverages, and the manufacture and transportation of alcohol.

Illegal stills began popping up throughout Shasta County, especially in the Sacramento River Canyon area, with Castella becoming the center for the illegal stills. For the next 10 years, almost every creek, spring and water ditch became home to a still.

Shasta County was possessed of “bootleggers everywhere,” making the so-called “Noble Experiment” not so noble. Popular names of their illegal alcohol products were Jackass Brandy, Bathtub Gin and Rotgut.

Frequent raids were conducted on the saloons to try to stop the flow of alcohol but it didn’t deter them. Some of the saloon owners were arrested, but they quickly returned to business as usual. None of the saloons went out of business.

The trains stopped at the Castle Rock Railway Station full of people who came from as far away as the Bay Area to have a rip-roaring time. When the partygoers disembarked the train, they usually headed straight for Mike Padula’s Saloon across the street from the train station.

Mike’s Saloon was built in the early 1920s. Mike was only 5 feet tall but managed to rule his saloon with an iron hand.

According to a booklet titled “A Holiday Home Tour — December 11, 2004” published by the Castella Community Education Organization, “Mike’s place had a large wooden bar running the length of the room with 40 bar stools, a dance floor and stage for the band. Hundreds of pictures of beautiful women covered the ceiling, and mirrors covered the wall with the exception of a small opening covered with glass. A bottle of whiskey was housed in this opening, reportedly worth $25,000.

Mike Padula enjoyed his Rolls Royce, always parking it next to his bar. One of his favorite pastimes was to dress in his smoking jacket, sit in the backseat of his Rolls Royce (a cold drink in hand), and let the young girls of Castella drive him around town.

“Many movie stars and friends from Hollywood and the Bay Area would visit Mike. Frequently San Francisco newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst would visit. Stories say he would book Mike’s place for the night and hire a local band known as the ‘Hottentots.’ At the end of the evening, Hearst would tip $20 bills under every ashtray in the saloon.

“Mike had his share of run-ins with the law, particularly during the Prohibition years, being arrested numerous times for selling Jackass Brandy.”

Brian Theriot grew up in the Castella area. Even though he no longer lives in Castella, he is the proud owner of the Castle Stone Cottage Inn. His stone cabins were once part of the Engle Inn Resort, another popular resort.

According to Theriot, the Crag View Resort was the biggest hot spot in the area where the Democrats and the loggers would party to the likes of the Jimmy Dorsey Band right along with the partygoers who traveled there on the train.

Even after Prohibition ended in 1933, the trains still stopped at Castella, but this time they were troop trains. Theriot said, “The United States Army troop trains during World War II would stop at the Castella Depot and the soldiers would seem to find their way to Mike’s Bar. Mike being an enterprising person would have many Ladies of the Night available for their entertainment. The Shasta View Hotel would always recommend the Crag View Resort across the bridge if their rooms were full, which in most cases happened almost every time the train stopped.”

The Present
According to Theriot, the Crag View Resort became a huge trailer park in the 1950s. Even though the bridge to it across the Sacramento River has been repaired, no access is allowed into the old resort area.

The old Castella post office is now someone’s home and sits across the railroad tracks from where Mike’s Saloon was once located. The stone steps to his saloon are still there to mark the spot.

Over at what was the Crag View Resort is a tree that has grown pretty tall over the years. It has a chair in it that somehow got caught in the tree during the Prohibition years and was never pulled out. Now it’s so high, it’s hard to see.

Gone are the days of all-night parties and all night drinking. Also gone are all the businesses in the old town site. Today it is a quiet and sleepy little community.

Dottie Smith is the author of The Dictionary of Early Shasta County History, the book from which this information was extracted. She is the former curator of the Shasta College Museum and instructor of Shasta County History at Shasta College. Check out her daily history blog at www.redding.com and her website at www.shastacountyhistory.com. Contact her at historydottie@yahoo.com.

» Why not read more dear friends

The History

Why not start with the facts:

  • JFK, Monroe stayedhere, so goes the story
  • Castella’s 1926 Castle Stone Cottage Inn Vacation Cottages & “Boardwalk Empire” History With Fly Fishing Fame

  • Former UCLA superstar Brian Theriot and his wife, Melissa Crow, own and operate the property. Brian grew up in Castella and used Castella Loop as his private training ground. He knew everyone in the community as did his parents and grandparents (Castella residents) Jim and Hazel Hobbs before him.

    He was good friends with Mike Padula, owner of Mike’s Place bar, the most popular bar in town.

    When the trains pulled into Castella, they stopped right in front of Mike’s. The offloading passengers usually headed straight for Mike’s Bar.

    This story is based on the eyewitness accounts of Castella residents George Costas, a silver miner; Swede, an old fisherman; and Mike Padula, owner of the bar. All three stated the meeting of President John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe took place at Castella in 1962.

    All three witnesses have since passed away, however, they told others who still remember every detail of the story.

    One of those told was Brian Theriot, current owner of the cottages. He was told when he was a young boy. He is now 54.

    Brian purchased the cottages from a friend in 2003. Since then he has spent time at the cabins cleaning and primping whenever he can get away from his home and business in Southern California.

    During one of his stays at the cabins, he found two hidden photos of Marilyn Monroe inside Cabin #5, a storage cabin. Brian was able to determine from the background of the photos that they were both taken outside the stone cottages that date back to the early 1900s.

    The following information was provided by Brian.

    George Costas, Swede, and Mike Padula all agreed the meeting between Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe took place in 1962.

    No one knew how Marilyn traveled to Castella.

    The first place she was seen was in Mike Padula’s bar, where she sat and chatted with Mike for at least three hours.

    She was alone.

    Mike Padula had a note saying “M car here at noon for you and J.”

    According to Mike, three hours after Marilyn arrived, a big, black, shiny limousine with black windows pulled up outside.

    When Marilyn noticed the limousine, she immediately went out and climbed in.

    Mike saw President Kennedy inside the limousine.

    For the next two days, the limousine remained parked behind one of the stone cottages down the road from the old Engle Inn Resort — its name in 1962, where President Taft, an avid fly fisherman, was once a guest.

    Also, Brian said Marilyn signed her name in lipstick on the wall at Mike Padula’s bar. That in itself wasn’t unusual, because many other stars’ signatures such as Mae West, Jimmy Dorsey, Lena Horn and Cary Grant graced the mirrors and the walls of Mike’s Place bar.

    Brian states he saw her name on the wall when he was 13 years old while sitting at the bar with his Irish setter, father Richard Theriot, and grandfather Jim Hobbs.

    Castella was a hot playground area for movie stars from the 1930s forward to escape to. It was also a place where liquor flowed freely during Prohibition. Trainloads of people would arrive from all points south, get off the train and head for Mike’s Place Bar across the road, and later to the many resorts and hotels in the area.

    The Present
    The cottages are still there. The Engle Inn Resort main building is still there. The property no longer operates as a resort; only the cabins owned by Theriot are rented overnight or as vacation retreats. Mike Padula’s bar no long exists nor do many of the hotel structures and stores that once dotted the loop such as Amos Johnson’s Hotel and Store. And the train no longer stops at Castella.

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Brian Theriot, one of UCLA’s track and field greats, recorded a mile time of 3:56 and 800 meters of 1:45.79. He is pictured here at a 1980 track meet at UCLA’s Drake Stadium. Photo by Bob Stevens

The Theriot family as a whole remains longtime guests and owners of property in Northern California, specifically the hamlet of Castella, located in Shasta County south of Dunsmuir by 6 miles. We own the historic Castle Stone Cottages. We purchased the cottages over ten years ago after my spending months in a year since 1958 visiting my grandparents in Castella. Low and behold after their passing we rented many places and eventually were lucky enough to secure the Castle Stone Cottages.

My special experiences of course include fly fishing and bait fishing in the epic waters of the Upper Sacramento River as well as the legendary lakes of Shasta and Siskiyou. The area from Castella to Dunsmuir and Mt. Shasta cities is experiencing fabulous business growth since and recovering from the tragic poison spill that victimized the region decades ago as a result of a train accident and spill.

The story I tell here is not related to the magnificent use of the outdoors from fishing or hunting perspective, but rather from the view of a former world class track and field athlete, myself, hailing from Newport Harbor High School and UCLA, two of the nation’s great in the sport. My training for decades including three United States Olympic Trials took place along the trails and into the hills of Castella and Mt. Shasta.

The proof is in the pudding for multi-sport training as my son, Trevor Theriot, was an All-CIF running back for Newport Harbor High then became starting fullback for UCLA. His training was focused toward utilizing the hills and trails in Siskiyou and Shasta counties.

I share this because many families and individuals trek to our region for physical training such as jogging, running, and multi-sport training. I recorded a sub -4 minute mile many times with a 3:56 best and 800 meters best of 1:45, both world class times in the 80’s.

I was also a dual athlete in my high school years in football and utilized the hills of the region to immense running back skills benefit. I like to think my accomplishments as an NCAA Champion and UCLA Team Captain were earned in Castella.

Within Siskiyou and Shasta counties running trails and hills abound. These conditions are ideal for running, repeat hills training, and cycling as well. You will find excellent trails in the state parks as well as along the Sacramento River. In Castella, for example, miles and miles of hills and trails are offered within the Castle Crags State Park as well as up behind the state park into the hills.

The cool waters of the Sacramento River provide ample cooling to hard trained muscles post training sessions.

So if you are a runner, a former athlete, or an exercise fan, I urge you to consider our area for your recreational and/or professional sports training.


Trevor Theriot, UCLA star junior fullback, carries for first down UCLA vs. Oregon, 2007. Photo by Icon Sports Media