The McCloud Mercantile Hotel
By Gary VanDeWalker
The Simple LifeMay 2015
By Gary Vandewalker
Photos: Taryn Burkleo
The simple life is often seen in the past. For Kevin Mathis, Hewlett Packard’s merger with Compaq gave him the freedom to seek out a time machine in the form of a new journey. His wife Darlene Mathis, a project manager for Sacramento’s architecture division, worked a skill set in which she could design the past into the interiors of the design and construction projects before her. Together with their son, Tanner, his grandparents, Lonnie and Joan, and their dog, Whisper, they found the time machine in which to create a new life for their family. Th e McCloud River Mercantile Company hosted their dreams, blending the past and their future in the creation of the McCloud Mercantile Hotel.
The Mathis’ new life began with a search for ranch property. Aft er arriving in McCloud, their focus changed to the McCloud Mercantile Building. Built in 1897, escrow closed on April Fools’ Day in 2000, changing the building’s future. Kevin managed the construction, while Darlene created the drawings for the permits. “We purchased the biggest fixer upper,” Darlene says. “We tried to keep the restoration authentic, yet a modern take on the past. Th e Mercantile is on the National Registry. We didn’t want it to feel stuffy; we wanted the architecture to stand out and have a fresh feeling.”
Life centered around electrical renovation, replacing windows, painting and turning the knob of time back to a century before. The renovations moved through different historical times. Th e 1937 soda shop, Th e White Mountain Fountain, was peeled back to its wood walls and transom windows. Th e soda joined a variety of downstairs shops. Meanwhile, the upper story is often unnoticed by visitors.
Th e Mercantile is host to a hotel with the rooms passing through the 1890s to the 1940s. Ten suites include the Arts and Craft s Room, the Railroad Room, the Hot and Tot Room, along with the Shasta Wintu Suite. They are furnished with down comforters, claw-foot tubs, whirlpools and modern radiant heat in the bathroom floors. Twelve-foot-high ceilings give a sense of grandeur. The views from the windows overlook a town caught in the swirl of the same decades imagined in the hotel. Two suites are handicap accessible and an elevator and handicap ramp make the ascent pleasant.
The Great Room now hosts the receptions, retreats and the imagination of those needing space to enclose their dreams. More than 150 people can come here at a time and sit back in time while beginning their own futures. “A lot of people think the mercantile is just the stores below,” Darlene says. “Above, there are the rooms and event space. During the summer we specialize in yoga retreats with some of the top yoga masters from around world.”
The building’s atmosphere brings one into the unique gentle nature of McCloud. The lazy winds blow with gentle puffs through the stands of trees, as the white clouds watch from overhead. “People come here, sometimes taking a day or two to wind down,” Darlene says. “We are close enough to Redding and Chico where people can in a short distance be close to home and yet far away.”
The McCloud Mercantile Hotel looks over historic downtown McCloud. Everything in the community is within walking distance. Time stands still here, holding onto history, while modernity speeds along Highway 89 over the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway. The Mt. Shasta Ski Park is minutes away, while the McCloud River with its falls holds onto its past a few miles down the road.
“The Hotel isn’t just about making memories, though it does,” Darlene says. “There is a spirit where people can come and reconnect with themselves and others.”
www.mccloudmercantile.com • 241 Main St, McCloud