Archived, Featured News, South County


By Shareen Strauss

SNN Correspondent

A fire broke out in the largest hotel in Dunsmuir last Sunday, October 16, causing evacuation and closure of the Hotel Dunsmuir, putting a huge damper on the public debut of the movie by the same name at the end of this month.


Photo of Mark Juarez


A fire broke out in the largest hotel in Dunsmuir last Sunday, October 16, causing evacuation and closure of the Hotel Dunsmuir, putting a huge damper on the public debut of the movie by the same name at the end of this month.

Just as Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 movie “The Birds” put Bodega Bay on the map which still draws people to visit, hotel owner Mark Juarez, CEO of The Happy Company and Executive Producer of the movie “Hotel Dunsmuir” feels the same will happen with Dunsmuir. And it is already happening as people from out of the area are making reservations to stay at the hotel where the haunted thriller movie was filmed.

Just after 1 pm, 13 fire departments throughout south county Siskiyou responded after a call that reported smelling smoke. Smoke was seen coming from the windows of room 106 on the main floor of the well-known historic haunted hotel that is the top floor of the hotel as it is said that the building is built upside-down. There were 25 fire engines from Dunsmuir, McCloud Castella, Mount Shasta, the City of Weed, Lake Shastina, and Cal Fire that surrounded the building.

The unoccupied room was currently being used for storage, containing refrigerators, coffee makers, and microwaves along with the hotel owner’s personal property as the hotel is being remodeled and gearing up for its premier at the end of the month which included a tour of the hotel itself where the film was shot.

“I put the fire out with a fire extinguisher and had the hotel evacuated,” says Juarez. “We had the power turned off to the room, then the fire started back up and was even bigger 4 minutes later.”

Before the fire departments arrived, Juarez and his contractor were attempting to put out the fire and have successful evacuated all the occupants from the hotel, three people with a long stick were seen knocking the letters (Hotel Dunsmuir Movie) off the marque of the Dunsmuir theater just across the street from the hotel says, Juarez. The three people were captured on camera.

There have been many opportunities that came from the movie Hotel Dunsmuir which was written by Michael Hall whose partnerRob Gardner was a guest at the hotel a couple years ago and inspired by the hotel itself, and they both worked on the computerized special effects, Michael at Pixar and Robb at Lucasfilm. Because of Covid and travel restrictions, half the cast could not show up for the filming.

Being creative, the professional actors were replaced by many locals who were cast instead. These local folks are rising to stardom in ways that Hollywood actors dream about. This modest-budget movie took just 28 days to complete. It will be available online by Halloween through Netflix, Google, Amazon, and more.

After Michael Hall received a death threat with Peter 5:8 written on his windshield, which quickly inspired Juarez to suggest asecond movie thriller called Peter 5:8 and he brain-stormed for 6 months with Michael Hall who wrote the scrips. Based on the bible verse Peter 5:8, says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” Funding secured immediately after Keven Spacey committed to star and the filming was taken place in Dunsmuir.

Juarez is planning to make the Dunsmuir Theater into a conference center as it isn’t sustainable as a theater. The City of Dunsmuir, known as “The Best Water on Earth”, attracts people from around the world for getaways, seminars, and outdoor recreational activities.

Mark Juarez wants to enhance, building on the benefits of tourism to Dunsmuir. Juarez has been working on developing a health retreat community and a visionary village in Dunsmuir.

Over the years and after overcoming many obstacles, Juarez has strategically collected valuable real estate and historic buildings in Siskiyou County. Among them, are the historical California Theatre & Masonic Temple, the Hotel California Dunsmuir, and other landmark buildings which he will bring in new technology while restoring the look and feel of the historical building and make it public.

His goal is to develop the “Dunsmuir Visionary Village”. Dunsmuir, California, once a thriving city, now has a declining population of around 1,700, with much of its workforce currently unemployed or underemployed. Today, with many empty buildings and storefronts, Dunsmuir is but a shadow of its proud and prosperous past.

Juarez’s proposed uses for the California Theatre and the Annex building next door are to become multi-use health, performing arts, and events centers.

The Hotel California Dunsmuir with 60 rooms, located directly across from the California Theater will work in concert with the Theater/Events Center. The Castle Rock Inn on Sacramento Ave. is currently being renovated to accommodate a downstairs restaurant and bar with ten hotel rooms upstairs. His upgrades include adding the latest and advanced technologies disguised in the buildings (like being more water-efficient toilet with the state of the current droughts and the cost of water or creating heat through bio-soil).

“Showing movies in the theatre is not sustainable in itself but a 200-seat conference center can bring in thousands of dollars a day. With a stable revenue we can subsidize community events.”

Gathering momentum, Juarez is now looking for investors for specific venues.

Working with multiple groups of people, he is appealing to businesses from Silicon Valley, Portland, and San Francisco areas.

Juarez says, “The hotels and California Theatre are an essential aspect of the Health, Arts and Events Center and will provide guests with comfortable and theme-stylized hotel rooms, healthy dining, and local shopping.

The overriding goal is to create new opportunities, jobs, and commerce by revitalizing the Dunsmuir business community and surrounding areas. The establishment of a vibrant health, arts and events center will build the needed momentum and usher Dunsmuir into a new era of sustainable economic growth, an expanding job market, and a new and inspired future for Dunsmuir’s economy and community. Utilizing all the properties, alongside the health center therapies and body-mind renewal activities, the center will provide and host conferences, educational workshops, and local civic activities. The masonic temple of the California Theatre will become a mystery school.”

Acknowledging the limited parking situation in town, Juarez is working on a bussing system to and from the Bay Area/Portland.

Being an inventor with a manufacturing background, Juarez wants to showcase his inventions from his company called The Happy Company and demonstrate his successful company culture. “When you allow playfulness and a little chaos, it invites innovation and allows people to step out of the box,” says Juarez. “I want to advance ways to add therapeutic health into the workspace. I want to inspire others with new technologies.”

One of his advanced technology plans is to convert the old Dunsmuir gas station that has not been in use into a hydrogen energy charging station by converting water into hydrogen.

Terri Chen, Juarez’s partner who is working on these projects says, “Juarez’s products of inventions have been in the health and wellness area. With relaxation, aroma, color, sound, and light therapy, the body can heal itself. And this is what he is incorporating into his high technology inventions.”

Outside of Dunsmuir, Juarez is looking at Main Street in Weed, California, where a public business can improve upon, the Hemp industry by creating a convention, and exhibition hub for Hemp technology that would draw people from all over to share knowledge on growing and manufacturing various products.

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