Getting a nibble of California history beneath Mt. Shasta
“I’m getting to be one of the oldest people in McCloud,” Alice says as she opens the doors to what used to be a living space for the housekeepers. In those days, when logging was king, Alice only dreamt of owning this palatial residence. Born the daughter of a California girl and an Italian emigrant, Alice grew up sneaking peaks at the McCloud River Lumber administrative guest house and its endless lush lawn, just a parcel of the six-acre property surrounded by oak and pine.
McCloud River Lumber was king until the '60s when it sold all the houses it had been renting to loggers for so many years, houses that all bore that same cookie-cutter A-frame shape. Renters received first choice at ownership, paying anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 a house. That was nearly 50 years ago – about as long as U.S. Plywood Company promised they could continue to supply timber and keep the town prospering. But U.S. Plywood, which bought out McCloud River Lumber, couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain. As the timber industry died, the town of McCloud watched “Mother McCloud,” as the McCloud River Lumber Company was once called, give way to Father Time.
Now the town is attempting to rebound, boasting a few eateries, including the White Mountain Fountain where one can grab a snack before heading off to hike McCloud Falls or take a dip with locals. Stay the night at Alice's sprawling estate, the McCloud Guest House, and experience history before it sits desolate under the shadow of Mt. Shasta.