Reprinted from "Travelin' in Time - a weekly look at historic places or people in the north state."
Castle Stone Cottage Inn, Cabin #3, 29386 Castella Loop Road, Castella
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 cabins 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.
Book a stay in this historic cottage today!