From the Vault: Commissioning Artwork for the Hotel Lobby

As most of the people reading the Turtle Bay blogs are already aware, we are currently building the Sheraton Redding at Sundial Bridge. During this process we have received a lot of calls from artists and artisans who wanted us to use their artwork or products in the hotel. This was not, however, Turtle Bay’s deci­­sion to make. A team of interior designers working within the Sheraton brand framework made all of those selections.

Turtle Bay was given the opportunity to guide the process of commissioning a signature piece of art for the hotel lobby–a task we were very happy to take on. I am very pleased to announce that an artist has been selected and is already hard at work on the project.

Sheraton Redding at the Sundial Bridge
The Sheraton Redding at Sundial Bridge front entrance. Imagine walking though the lobby doors and looking to the left.

People have asked me how we arrived at our choice. Like all public art commissions, it was a process. The first thing we did was put together a committee of Turtle Bay staff and community partners with expertise in public art and interior design. Our Creative Services Officer, Miki’ala Catalfano, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, Cristy Kidd, and I (your fearless Curatrix) were joined by Debra Lucero, Director of the Shasta and Butte County Art Councils, John Harper, artist and Shasta College art instructor, and Eve Berg Pugh, artist and interior designer.

We knew we wanted a unique piece that represented our location and the Turtle Bay mission and vision, as well as design ethos of Starwood, Sheraton’s parent company. We also wanted the piece to be visually pleasing and accessible to hotel guests of every background and not to clash with its surroundings (as there is plenty of room for challenging and provocative art in the museum’s art gallery). But we also did not want something that was simply part of the décor. It had to be inspiring.

Lobby floor plan. The artwork will hang on the wall on the left side where the grouping of four chairs is shown.

The committee reviewed the lobby floor plans and 3D renderings in order to familiarize ourselves with the space. Then we took a close look at the interior design choices, including the artwork that had already been chosen for the rest of the lobby and the other public spaces. This gave us a framework for our vision.

We began looking at images of large-scale pieces in the types of media we thought would work for the space. Pintrest was a useful tool for sharing ideas with the committee and other interested parties.

We knew we wanted the artist to have a Northern California connection. After we agreed on the type of feeling we were trying to achieve, John and Debra began showing us works from specific artists and we started to narrow down the field. They made a lot of calls and sent a lot of emails soliciting interest from the artists we thought would fit the project.

3D Rendering
Looking in through the lobby doors into the 3D walk-though of the hotel. The wall is on the left. It is about 12’ x 14’.

Once we had a pool of artists who thought they might like to work on the project, we took a closer look at their work and their availability, as well as their fees. Unfortunately, the budget for the piece is not unlimited. We selected four artists, two working alone and one wife and husband team, to submit proposals for the commission.

The artists, who all have strong Northern California connections, were Frank LaPena, Lucinda and Dan Kasser, and Bob Nugent. We hosted a group meeting where we discussed the project in depth, toured the site of the then un-built lobby, and had a spirited lunch at the Thai Cafe. After this face-to-face meeting we knew we had an amazing and diverse group from which to make our selection, and that the final choice would not be an easy one. The artists joked that they were going to get together and make a single proposal.

Armed with the hotel plans and style guides from Starwood, the artists went back to their studios to come up with their proposals. In May, we regrouped and the artists submitted their proposals to the committee and a representative from Azul, the company that will be managing the hotel for Turtle Bay. Azul works directly with Starwood, which had the ultimate decision-making power based upon the committee’s recommendations.

After this intense process, Starwood chose Bob Nugent to create the signature piece for the hotel lobby. Bob has an extensive background in public art, including hotels, and we are very excited to see what he comes up with.

Bob Nugent's art
An 11” x 11” sample representing the type of piece Bob Nugent is proposing for the lobby. The finished product will almost certainly not look exactly like this, but it evokes the mood.

They might not have received this commission, but we are already making plans to work with Frank LaPena, who had a solo show in out Art Gallery in 2003, and the Kassers on future projects in and around the museum.

Julia Pennington Cronin

Curator of Collections & Exhibits

Follow me on Twitter @CuratrixJulia

Summer Science – Bubbles!

Although summer’s end is approaching, let us remember that there is plenty of time left for some our favorite activities! We would like to share with you one of our personal favorites: blowing bubbles! Sure, bubbles on the back patio these summer evenings can be relaxing and fun, but we challenge you to take blowing bubbles to the next level with these hands-on activities.

First, you will need plenty of bubble solution. If you already have some on hand, awesome! If not, here is our go-to recipe. Feel free to look up any DIY bubbles recipe for these activities.

DIY Bubble Solution

1 gallon of water

1 cup of Dawn dish soap

2 tablespoons of glycerin (available on Amazon or Carolina Biological)


Gently mix all ingredients in a large container. Let it sit overnight for best results! Once you’re ready, divide the solution into smaller containers to reduce risk of spills and maximize the potential of fun. Plastic food containers and dish pans work well. If you plan on using the solution over a longer period of time, keep what is not being used inside a closed container in a cool area, like indoors.


Things to remember about bubbles…

– Bubbles like things that are wet, not dry. Dip your hands or tools in bubble solution to keep the bubbles intact, with wet hands you can catch and handle the bubbles.

– The sun and heat can deteriorate your solution and bubbles. If the indoors are not available, try to find a cool(ish) shady spot that is protected from the wind so you can enjoy your bubbles longer.

– Bubble solution is slippery! Walk carefully on hard surfaces and clean up any spills with vinegar and water. Squeegees, towels, newspaper, and paper towels are great clean up supplies when the time comes.

– If you get any solution in your eye, do not rub! Blink a lot and if necessary, rinse well with water.

– Don’t have a bubble wand? Fear not! A simple drink straw makes a fantastic instrument; just make sure to remember which end is for you mouth. When you’re not using the straw, your built in straw holder (behind your ear) is a great place to set it aside until you need it again.


Because we are scientists (bubble-ologists that is), we make observations. During these activities, watch carefully, take notes, and ask questions!!

Bubble Colors

The thin bubble film diffracts light and presents a colorful swirling surface. Watch carefully as the colors change and move around the bubble. Do you see any patterns in the colors? Do all bubbles present the same colors? Can you predict when the bubble will pop by watching the colors change?

Bubble FoamBubble Foam

Pour some bubble solution into two separate containers. Using your straw, blow as many bubbles as you can into one container; in the other whisk the solution to create a foamy mess. Compare the two containers and make some observations. Which grew faster? Which lasted longer? What is different between the bubbles and the foam? What is the same?

Bubble TechnologyBubble Technology

Find objects around your house that would make great bubble blowing instruments. (Hint: start in the kitchen!) See if you can use multiple objects to create your own instrument. Build a bubble blower from pipe cleaners, yarn, or straw!


Bubble FestivalBubble Festival: August 13th from 11:00-3:00 in the classroom

Excited for more bubble fun? We sure are! We will be hosting a Bubble Festival for our Family Second Saturday program. Here you can participate in more activities; you can make GIANT bubbles, stand inside of a bubble, and watch bubbles freeze over dry ice!! We hope to see you there so you can enjoy all the stations and leave the clean-up to us😉

Green World All Around Us: Pollinator plants and new Pollinator Garden plantings

While there are literally hundreds of lists with pollinator plants out there, not all lists are created equal. The plants that will grow happily in our area for pollinators are not the same as the plants will grow well on the East Coast and vice versa.

In practice, knowing which plants will grow well in our area can be just as much a matter of trial and error as it is painstakingly researching plants and their zones in the Sunset Garden book and other sources. I’m here to help when it comes to pollinator plants that do well in our area.

Many of the angiosperms, or flowering plants, are pollinated by some creature, be it a bird, butterfly, bee, bat, mammal or insect, these pollinators are essential for spreading genetic diversity among the plant world. (While some plants can self-pollinate, cross-pollination often results in stronger plants.)

A large percentage of pollinator plants that you see in gardens come from the same families. For example: many favorite pollinator plants are from the mint family, daisy family, figwort family, etc. While that may sound a lot to keep track of, it becomes simpler if you look at it like this: All sages, lavenders, rosemary and mint are in the Lamiaceae or mint family. They’re pollinator plants for some creature or other. Daisies, asters, sunflowers, yarrow (look closely, each little flower in a cluster has a daisy-like structure)–if it looks like a daisy, it’s in the Asteraceae or daisy family. They’re pollinator plants. In fact, the mint and daisy families of plant have so many species between them that you could easily fill a garden with plants from these two families alone that would grow happily here. Sages for example, are in the mint family; it is estimated that half of the known species are native to Mexico. Not surprisingly, sages generally do very well here. Not all of the species in these families will grow happily in our climate, but that’s where area (ours) specific research comes in.

Habitat can be just as important as species selection when creating a pollinator garden. Water is an essential element in the garden as well as safe landing spots and cover. Also a safe distance (as in a tree limb) needs to be available for birds to retreat to from neighborhood cats if you have them.

Not to beat the drought-tolerant drum, but in the new Pollinator Garden plantings the majority of the new plants are drought-tolerant; my favorite attribute of any plants because once they’re established they have a much better chance of (happy!) survival in our climate.

Originally 32 species had been planted in the Pollinator Garden, but we had a large group of mother plants that were also pollinator plants in our nursery looking for a home, so we went a little over the top and added not only those plants, but species upon species until we ended up with 57 new species.

As ever, I really love a plant list with a purpose, so here is a list of 50 pollinator plants of the 89 plants in the in the newly flushed out Pollinator Garden in the botanical gardens:


  1. El Tigre
    Epilobium canum ‘El Tigre’

    Achillea filipendula Fernleaf Yarrow

  2. Achillea millefolium ‘Paprika’ Paprika Yarrow
  3. Achillea millefolim ‘White’ White Yarrow
  4. Aristolochia californica California Dutchman’s Pipe
  5. Baccharis pilularis ‘Twin Peaks’ Twin Peaks Coyote Bush
  6. Chitalpa tashkentensis ‘Pink Dawn’ Pink Dawn Chitalpa
  7. Epilobium californica ‘Gray Form’ California Fuchsia
  8. canum ‘Carman’s Gray’ Carman’s Gray California Fuchsia
  9. Epilobium canum ‘El Tigre’ El Tigre California Fuchsia
  10. Epilobium canum var. latifolium. ‘ Everett’s Choice’ Everett’s Choice California Fuchsia
  11. Epilobium septentrionale ‘Wayne’s Choice’ Wayne’s Choice California Fuchsia
  12. Eriogonum arborescens Santa Cruz Island Buckwheat
  13. Eriogonum fasciculatum California Buckwheat
  14. California Buckwheat
    Eriogonum fasciculatum California Buckwheat

    Eriogonum fasciculatum ‘Warriner Lytle’ Warriner Lytle California Buckwheat

  15. Hyalis argentea Olivillo
  16. Lavandula stoechas Spanish Lavender
  17. Lepichinia hastata Lepichinia
  18. Myrtus communis ‘Compacta’ Compact True Myrtle
  19. Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ Giant Catmint
  20. Oenethera elata ‘Hookeri’ Hooker’s Evening Primrose
  21. Pelargonium graveolens Rose Geranium
  22. Penstemon ‘Midnight’ Midnight Penstemon
  23. Phlomis fruticosa Jerusalem Sage
  24. Punica granatum ‘Wonderful’ Pomegranate
  25. Rosmarinus ‘Tuscan Blue’ Tuscan Blue Rosemary

(Just a little Sage-happy!)

  1. Hyalis argentea Olivillo
    Hyalis argentea Olivillo
    Hyalis argentea Olivillo
    Hyalis argentea Olivillo

    Salvia apiana White Sage

  2. Salvia clevelandii ‘Allen Chickering’ Cleveland Sage
  3. Salvia dorrii Desert Sage
  4. Salvia forsskaolii Indigo Woodland Sage
  5. Salvia greggii ‘Coral’ Coral Autumn Sage
  6. Salvia greggii ‘Playa Rosa’ Playa Rosa Autumn Sage
  7. Salvia greggii ‘Red Swing’ Red Swing Autumn Sage
  8. Salvia greggii ‘Teresa’ Teresa Autumn Sage
  9. Salvia involucrata Rose Sage
  10. Salvia jamensis ‘California Sunset’ California Sunset Jame’ Sage
  11. Salvia jamensis ‘Tangerine Ballet’ Tangerine Ballet Jame’ Sage
  12. Salvia leucantha Mexican Sage
  13. Salvia leucophylla ‘Point Sal’ Point Sal Purple Sage
  14. Salvia microphylla ‘Bezerkeley’ Bezerkeley Littleleaf Sage
  15. Salvia microphylla ‘Heatwave Blaze’ Heatwave Blaze Littleleaf Sage
  16. Tuscan Blue Rosemary
    Rosmarinus ‘Tuscan Blue’ Tuscan Blue Rosemary

    Salvia microphylla ‘Purple’ Purple Littleleaf Sage

  17. Salvia ‘Sally Greenwood’ Sally Greenwood Sage
  18. Salvia spathacea Hummingbird Sage
  19. Salvia uliginosa Bog Sage (moderate water is fine once established)
  20. Sedum moranense Red Stonecrop
  21. Sedum palmeri Palmer’s Stonecrop
  22. Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ Angelina Sedum
  23. Teucrim fruticans Bush Germander
  24. Verbena bonariensis Upright Verbena
  25. Verbena rigida Rigid Verbena

Come and see these new plantings, not only for the plant species, but for reference of what an eventually very full garden looks like at the start. (In 2 or 3 years this garden will be literally overflowing with plants for pollinators.)

Because of several environmental factors, pollinators are on the decline. Your pollinator garden can make a difference!


Reminder: During summer the botanical gardens open by 7:00 am and stay open until dusk.

Happy gardening, from the Horticulture staff at Turtle Bay.

Lisa Endicott – Horticulture Manager

Email Turtle Bay’s Horticulture department at for more information and/or questions.

Arboretum & Botanical Gardens Nursery open year-round Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.: Drought-tolerant plants, including a selection of California natives and others, are available at the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens Nursery, Visit our interactive Nursery inventory list at .

My Life with Animals: Owl Overnight

1It had been a great weekend. My husband and I had just arrived home from seeing the Eagles in concert in Tahoe. The Eagles are my husband’s favorite band and he had never seen them live.   Even though I had to be up since 3am to go do our monthly news spot that same day, this may have been the last opportunity to see them so we went. We left right from the news to drive to Tahoe for the concert that night, saw the awesome show that evening and the next day drove back to Redding. I had just sat down on the couch with my cats to relax after the whirlwind weekend when the phone rang. It was one of my trainers, “Cricket is in a tree.”

2Earlier that evening, two of the trainers were doing an outdoor, evening show at the Antler’s Campground, about a half an hour North of Turtle Bay. We had done shows there many times and Cricket, the barn owl, would fly at each one. This time, however, he decided to fly past the trainer and up into a tree. Flying off into a tree isn’t totally unusual for him and he always comes down fairly quickly, but it had been a half hour and, being away from home base, they thought they should let me know. “Do you think you are good or do you need backup?” I asked. The trainer replied, “I think we are okay for now, it is still light out and he isn’t very far up in this tree. We will call you back if we need anything or he comes down.” We hung up the phone and I sat back down onto the couch. That didn’t last long. Within fifteen minutes the phone rang again, “He moved to another tree and is higher up now. The sun is going down and we are starting to have trouble seeing him. I think we could use your help.” We jumped up, grabbed our stuff and headed out the door. Before we could go to the campsite, we made a quick stop at work to pick up supplies, like gloves, a creance line, mice and rats.

When we arrived, there he was, high up in a pine tree. It was dusk and all we could see was his silhouette. The sun was going down quickly and he had absolutely no interest in coming down. We knew it was going to be a long night, but we were not quite prepared for how long.

3As the sun disappeared below the horizon and darkness settled over us, we knew we were in trouble. Antler’s Campground sits on a cliffside overlooking Shasta Lake. If he started flying around, we wouldn’t be able to see him and navigating the area safely was going to be a challenge. No longer able to see him, we would periodically shine a flashlight towards him to make sure he was still there. Over and over we checked and there he sat, high up in the tree. We knew we had to make a plan for the night. It was only a matter of time before he would start flying around as he was an owl, after all, and he was going to get active at any moment. There were five of us there: my husband Wayne, Adrienne, her husband Kevin, Ashley, and me. We were going to need to make shifts as it could be a long night and, at that time, we still had the baby beaver and bobcat kitten at home needing to be taken care of too. So we called Lindsay for the night shift, sent Ashley home for sleep, sent Kevin home to take care of the bobcat kitten and put out calls to some of our volunteers. Now that we were confident that everything was covered, it was time to sit, watch, follow, and wait.


We stood in a circle with the tree in the middle waiting for him to fly. Every time we shined that light up at the tree, there he sat, motionless until 9:30pm. That’s when it happened, “Where is he?” one of us called out. “I don’t know,” said another. “Can you see him?” “No, I can’t!” “Did anyone see him fly?” Well, that answer was obvious, we had not. Luckily, we always free fly Cricket with a telemetry transmitter attached to his ankle so that we can track him should we ever find ourselves in this very situation. We don’t know how long he had been gone, but not only did we not see him in the darkness, we could not hear him either. The silent flight of the owl is no myth and we were experiencing it firsthand. We turned on the receiver and started to follow the beeps. “Be careful, the cliff is on that side of us,” one trainer points to our right side. “How far away?” I asked with great concern. “Not very.” So we continued carefully and followed the beeps right to him. He was sitting up in another tree as comfy as could be. This pattern continued throughout the night. We would create a circle perimeter, shine the light periodically until he was gone and then follow the beeps to him. Following the beeps in the dark was quite an adventure with the cliffside nearby, rattlesnakes active in the tall grasses and tents scattered about. We had gotten so turned around wandering in the dark that we had no idea where we were anymore. At one point, I ran right into a tent. It was about 2am and I was sure I was going to get shot! “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, we are just looking for our owl!” How many people can say they heard that while they were camping?

5At about 3am, it was time for a few people to get some sleep, so Adrienne and Wayne went to their perspective cars to get some shut eye while four of us remained traipsing through the campground. Time seemed to move very slowly as the night went on. The darkness had an eerie silence to it and we were very disoriented. Around 5:30am, we heard a sound in the distance. It was quite unmistakable as it made its way closer and closer, louder and louder. A train was approaching and Cricket was listening too, but he had never heard one before. As the grumbling sound approached with the squealing of the metal on the tracks, Cricket took off in a startling flight. We had done this all night long, so it was time once again to break out the receiver and start the hunt. As the beeps got stronger and we got closer, we looked around but could not find him. We continued to look, but nothing. “He has to be right here,” I said to the others. “The signal is strong here.” But the trees were quite tall and leaves were full and we just couldn’t find him. For over thirty minutes we searched. I held the receiver and circled the tree. There was a strong signal all the way around. I lifted the receiver high in the air towards the top of the tree and then made my way all the way down to the ground. The beeping was louder the lower I went.The most sickened feeling I have ever felt came over me at that moment. I looked at the ground and there was his telemetry transmitter laying on the ground under the tree. In his abrupt take-off, the transmitter had fallen off. Cricket was gone and there was no way for us to find him.

9We needed more eyes. We woke up Adrienne and Wayne and all six of us started searching. At least the sun was coming up so we could see a little now. We searched and searched for hours to no avail. Around 8:30am I made a call to Turtle Bay’s Guest Experience Officer, Carrian, to gather up as many people as possible to help search for him. One thing you can always count on is Carrian’s organizing the troops in a moment of crisis. She was on it. Around 11am people would start showing up to help. In the meantime, we continued to look at every single tree. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. At one point, the camp host came out to help and said they thought they had seen him. With great excitement we went to see, but it was a turkey vulture. I was exhausted and the hopelessness was beginning to set in but we had to keep looking.

10At about 9am, one of the campers came over, “Your owl is in a tree right over here.” “Where?” we said reluctantly. “He was in a tree right above our campsite.” Of course we were skeptical and I didn’t want to waste time on another false lead, but I sent Wayne over just in case. Shocking as it was, the man was right! “It’s him, right over here,” Wayne yelled to us. Still in disbelief, we all went running over, but before we could get there, he took off flying. “Keep your eye on him,” we yelled. Thankfully, he didn’t go far and settled in a tree 15 feet up. As our backup started to arrive, we created a large perimeter and gave instructions as to what to do. Essentially, keep your eyes to the sky in case he flies, yell so everyone knows he is going and do not lose sight of him. When I say we are supported at Turtle Bay, I really mean it. It wasn’t just animal care and volunteers who came to help. No, we had Creative Services, Guest Services, Development and even our Finance Department there helping. We sent Adrienne, Lindsay and Wayne home to sleep. Carrian set up shifts so that we would have people all day and night. She brought coolers of food, water, and snacks. She brought phone charging cables, radios, flashlights, and blankets. We pretty much set up camp and had our very own Turtle Staff Campout under a little tree watching an owl! And that’s what we did, hung out and watched Cricket who ever so thoughtfully went to sleep.

8I knew we were in for the day. After all, he had been flying around all night and it was time for some rest. “He will most likely be asleep until dusk. As soon as the sun starts to go down, he will get active and I bet he will finally be hungry enough to come down.” I rolled out a yoga mat that somebody brought, laid down under the tree, and drifted off to sleep. Every once in a while I would awaken when I heard the murmurs that he opened his eyes. I’d get up, swing a mouse around a little to see if he was at all interested, be ignored, and go back to rest. I “slept” like that for an hour or two and then I was back up for the duration. Then, at 7pm, almost exactly 24 hours from when he flew off, Cricket woke up. He started looking around and I knew he must be hungry. We started calling him with the glove and a mouse. He looked around and stretched, “ He is going to fly,” I called out. Sure enough, he tucked his wings and took off right towards me but flew passed me, circled around and landed in another tree. “He is trying to come down, but it’s too steep,” I advised. So I stood back a little distance, held my glove up and he took off flying towards me again, but it was still too steep. Standing about 25 yards back to my left, stood Lindsay. As he passed me, he descended more and more as he got closer until his legs stretched out as he flared his wings back and landed right on Lindsay’s glove! We all gave a huge sigh of relief. We knew that there was no way to follow him at night without the telemetry and were thankful that it was over now, with him back safe and secure.

6As he sat shaking on Lindsay’s glove unwilling to eat the whole mouse offered it was apparent the last 24 hours was as hard on him as it was on us.

Over the years I have managed quite a few fly offs, but none were quite like this: in a campground, at night, at the edge of a cliff, overlooking a lake. Never had I experienced the level of support from co-workers who came out in droves to help. This is one recovery we will never forget.


Sharon Clay, Curator of Animal Programs

“One Touch of Nature Makes the Whole World Kin”

Fun in the Sun: How Sunscreen Works

With the Summer Solstice barely behind us and with the vacation season in full swing, folks here in Redding can expect hot, sunny days and a lot of time outside. This of course brings the inevitable sunburn for all but the most diligent sunscreen users. With that in mind, let’s look at the science of sunscreen and how best to protect you and your family from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

The science behind sunscreen changes with the type of sunscreen you’re using:

Chemical sunscreen
Chemical Sunscreens rub in clear, but may be a little shiny

Chemical Sunscreens protect your skin using everyone’s favorite high school science: chemistry! These sunscreens use substances such as avobenzone, which absorbs the sun’s UV rays into its chemical bonds instead of our skin absorbing the rays. The absorption of the UV rays alters the avobenzone, eventually breaking down the sunscreen. This makes reapplying necessary; but all sunscreens need to be reapplied after about 2 hours of sun exposure anyway.

Physical sunscreens (also known as mineral sunscreens) don’t absorb UV rays but instead block the sunlight from reaching your skin with a physical barrier. Just like a visor keeps the sun out of your eyes, physical sunscreens keep the sun off of your skin. Substances like zinc oxide are commonly used in physical sunscreens to block and reflect UV rays away from your skin.

Physical sunscreen
An extreme example of physical sunscreen not rubbing in well, courtesy of David Hasselhoff’s nose.

So which type of sunscreen do you have? Before scouring the active ingredients list of your product, check your skin for clues. Most of the sunscreens that do not rub in clear are physical sunscreens. The white residue you see is the zinc oxide particles reflecting sunlight away from your skin. If you made an effort to rub your product in and you still look like you rolled around in powdered sugar, you have a physical sunscreen keeping you protected.

However, not all sunscreen that rubs in clear is chemical sunscreen. Thanks to nanotechnology, incredibly small particles of zinc oxide can still be used to protect your skin, even while rubbing in clear. These nanoparticles are close enough together to provide protection, but they are too small for our eyes to catch the light reflecting off of them.

As Redding turns into the hot, sunny summer wonderland that we call home, make sure to see Turtle Bay’s fun outdoor activities. These include animal shows, the Parrot Playhouse, our arboretum/botanical gardens, and of course the Sundial Bridge! Whether it’s physical or chemical, as long as you use sun protection, you can have your fun in the sun without worries.

From the Vault: Hospitable Redding

In celebration of our rapidly growing hotel, the current Spotlight on Northstate History in the Museum features the former hotels of Redding. This is the two dimensional version for those of you who cannot make it down here to see it in person – complete with artifacts and a map.

When the railroad arrived in Redding in 1872 a need for accommodations quickly arose in the new town. Hotels immediately began springing up near the new depot. Of all the hotels that have come and gone, four of the oldest that remain today are the Lorenz, The Empire Hotel building (now the Empire Recovery Center), the Hotel Redding building on Market Street and the Western Hotel building at the corner of Yuba and Oregon streets, west of the Post Office. None of these buildings serve their original purpose. Current motels and hotels are not included here.

The hotels list below is by no means complete, as information and photos are often scarce, but it gives us a picture of which early hotels have come and gone since 1872, and what is there now.

Many of these hotels were residence accommodations where people lived full time, or for weeks at a time while they were “In town.” Others catered to business and pleasure travelers.

1872 Depot Hotel
1872 Depot Hotel
1885 Depot Hotel
1885 Depot Hotel

According to an article in the 1976 Covered Wagon, “The first Depot Hotel was built in 1872 by the California & Oregon Railroad as a dining, drinking, and eating establishment for its passengers. A second Depot Hotel, considered first class, was built in 1885 at the present site of the Redding Amtrak Station. It was built when Redding was the end of the railroad and a busy place, but by 1900 it had become outmoded and unnecessary. With the Lorenz being built so near the Depot, the owners chose to tear it down. Mr. W.J. Gillespie, the manager, and his clerk went over to the Lorenz and brought with him several pieces of old lobby furniture from the Depot. The caption on an undated photo of this hotel from a newspaper article states ”old Southern Pacific Hotel stood on the lot of the present train depot.”

The Amtrak Depot 2012
The Amtrak Depot 2012

The Paragon Hotel was built in 1883 by George Groves, a native of England, who came to Redding 1878. In 1887 he built the Del Monte Hotel. It burned some time after 1903

The Paragon Hotel fire on California Street
The Paragon Hotel fire on California Street

The Stump Ranch Hotel was erected in October 1873 by William Thompson on the west side of Market Street between Butte & Tehama streets. Later proprietors were Frank & Carrie Thompson. It was the headquarters for the Redding & Copper City Stage Line. It was later named the Tremont Hotel.

Castle Hotel, Redding Restaurant and Lodging House, A. S. Castle prop was a very early hotel. An article in the Redding Independent Aug 1881 chronicles a fire that broke out on California Street between Tehama and Butte and in less than two hours consumed 11 businesses among them the A. Castle Hotel with a loss $5000 and no insurance.

In 1885 Harriet Major opened the Major Hotel on Market Street opposite the post office. An article in the Redding Free Press June 20, 1885 states “She was well-known throughout Shasta County as a splendid housekeeper and she knows what good accommodations consist of”.

The California Hotel was built by Frank Miller and was situated upstairs from the Oasis Café, and next door to the Ohio Café. As the buildings in the area grew old, the neighborhood declined into a little “skid row” and the building was torn down in 1962. In the opinion of Mabel Frisbie it could possibly have been Redding’s oldest brick building, “predating the one Mr. Bush built”. It is uncertain if there is truth to this claim.

The California Hotel in the mid-20th century
The California Hotel in the mid-20th century
Del Monte Hotel
Del Monte Hotel
Del Monte Hotel
Del Monte Hotel

The Del Monte Hotel was built in about 1887 by Mr. and Mrs. George Groves, who had also built the Paragon Hotel. It was located on the hill just south of the Court House where the jail is today. The Women’s Improvement Club was organized there in 1902. It housed many permanent residents who wished for a homelike and quiet place to live. There was always a waiting list for rooms, especially young men who wanted to rent apartments away from the noise of downtown. A well on the property produced more water than was needed, (10,000 gallons per hour) so Mr. Groves laid pipes to the business center of Redding. In 1934, Orr Chenoweth remarked that, “George Groves was a landscape gardener of considerable ability and the Del Monte grounds were a beautiful private park.” It was torn down in 1960.

The West half of the block surrounded by Court, Placer, Yuba, and West Streets today.
The West half of the block surrounded by Court, Placer, Yuba, and West Streets today.
Idanha Hotel
Idanha Hotel
Idanha Hotel
Idanha Hotel

The Idanha Hotel at the southeast corner of Pine and Yuba Streets was built in the 1880s, destroyed by fire in 1913, later rebuilt, then torn down in 1963. It was a large wooden building with a covered porch across the entire front. The Idanha was home to many local bachelors and the boarding house for Benton Ranch harvest crews. On winter evenings they would play cards in the tiny lobby in the corner of the building and in the summer they would move their chairs outside onto the sidewalk to keep cool. At one time it was operated by Mrs. Kathlerine (Kate) Lean who had a popular boarding house connected with it. Meals were 22 cents each. Later her daughter, Clara Rise, ran it for many years and did all the work herself.

Southeast corner of Pine and Yuba today
Southeast corner of Pine and Yuba today
Redding Hotel
Redding Hotel
Redding Hotel fire, November 25, 1917
Redding Hotel fire, November 25, 1917

The Redding Hotel was built in 1872 by Stewart and Gray, the former soon retiring and Gray continuing the business until August 1873, when Barney Conroy took charge and it was known as the Conroy Hotel. It included a bar, large fireproof wine cellar, and was also the location of the stage office that provided daily service to all points north and east. It stood on the site of the present post office. A photo from the 1917 Memorial Day parade shows the name Hotel Redding on one sign, and Hotel Reading on another! But it is not to be confused with the newer Hotel Redding on Market Street. This hotel burned to the ground in 1917.

The Downtown Post Office 2012
The Downtown Post Office 2012
Temple Hotel
Temple Hotel
Temple Hotel
Temple Hotel

The Temple Hotel was built by the Redding Masonic Lodge, completed in 1894 and lasted until 1964. It was located at the corner of Tehama and Market Streets and had 100 rooms and one bathroom. In the early days most people bathed once a week, so on Saturday the rush was on. The first floor housed the offices, lobby, dining room and kitchen and general operation of the hotel. The second floor was divided into rooms. About half of the 3rd and 4th floors were reserved for the use of the Masons with the rest serving as hotel rooms. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clineschmidt managed the building. In 1906 the Masonic Building Association sold the hotel to the Clineschmidts and their family managed it for 3 generations. [Covered Wagon 1970]

It was a brick Gothic revival building four stories high, making it the tallest building north of Sacramento. At one time the hotel sent an omnibus driven by two handsome gray horses to meet each train as it arrived in order to attract and carry passengers to the hotel.

In the early 1900’s waitresses received $20 a month plus room and board while the head cook was paid $56. The kitchen staff killed, cleaned, and plucked its own chickens which were sold live to the hotel for $3.75 per dozen. Butter brought by Herman Giessner from Cassel was 50 cents per pound.

Tehama and Market today
Tehama and Market today
Western Hotel
Western Hotel


The Western Hotel is on Oregon Street west of the railroad tracks near the present day Post Office at the southwest corner of Oregon and Yuba streets. The building was originally three stories, but some time after 1917 a fire burned the third floor, which was removed. Today there are businesses at street level and small apartments on the second floor.

Oregon and Yuba Streets today
Oregon and Yuba Streets today
Golden Eagle Hotel
Golden Eagle Hotel
Golden Eagle Hotel
Golden Eagle Hotel

The Golden Eagle Hotel, built at the southeast corner of California & Yuba Streets in 1888, boasted 100 rooms. It was supposed to be named the Hotel Gronwoldt but when dishes were ordered and unpacked the new service was marked Golden Eagle. The Grondwoldts gave up, kept the crockery, and it became the Golden Eagle Hotel. At the time, California Street was mostly rocks, hills and hollows. In summer the streets were inches deep in dust and almost impassible with mud in winter.

Mabel Frisbie sometimes stayed at the Golden Eagle before 1900 when her family came to town from French Gulch. Her uncle, John Lowdon, was the manager at the time. She remembers there was a large lobby on the street floor which served as a meeting place for people who came to town from the country. The restrooms off the lobby were a great convenience.

The Golden Eagle was consumed by a fire of unknown origin on Sept 22, 1962. At least one person died and damage was estimated at over $500,000. It had been one of Redding’s finest convention, dining, and rooming establishments.

California and Yuba today
California and Yuba today
Lorenz Hotel
Lorenz Hotel
Lorenz Hotel on fire in the 1930s
Lorenz Hotel on fire in the 1930s

The Lorenz Hotel site was originally a large pond full of mosquitoes reaching north to Placer Street along the tracks. Freight wagons were often mired in the bog. Then Susan Lorenz chose the site hoping to catch the trade of people coming in on the trains. Working with pick, shovel, and wheelbarrows, the area was excavated until solid ground was reached and on this ground Mrs. Lorenz built the four-story building. It is the third oldest brick building in the city that is still standing. The first is the Odd Fellows Hall and second the old Bank of America building on the northeast corner of Market & Butte streets. The sandstone blocks at the front of the Lorenz Hotel were cut at Sand Flats a few miles north of Redding and installed by William J. Masterson of the Redding Marble Works. The building was completed and opened in 1902, although Judge Eaton said when the hotel was new the numbers “1901” were high up on the front of the building.

In the beginning there were 44 rooms on each floor, 132 rooms in all and not all had private bathrooms. By 1987 there were 26 rooms on each floor and generally one bathroom to be shared between 2 sleeping rooms.

In 1903 the Shasta High graduating class held their graduation dance at the Lorenz Hotel. At the time the streets were still dirt and mud and travel was by horse and buggy. A fire in 1937 necessitated many repairs including the addition of an elevator.

The Lorenz is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Yuba and Market today
Yuba and Market today

Market Street

Hotel Redding
Hotel Redding

The Hotel Redding, at 1748 Market Street, was built in 1927 on the site of the first two-story house built in Redding in 1872 by Chauncey Bush. It is a three-story concrete and terra cotta Mission Revival building and featured a rooftop swimming pool when built. It became part of the Market Street revitalization and demonstration block in the late 1990s. Today the building is residential.

Newspaper article July 10, 1935:

You often hear of a race between the stork and an ambulance but seldom one where the stork leaves the ambulance at the post. Early this morning a son was born to Mr. and Mrs. William J. Morrison at the Hotel Redding with only a few moments warning. The ambulance, however, caught up, and did double duty in transporting mother and son to the Dozler sanitarium.

Market and Sacramento today
Market and Sacramento today

The Columbus Hotel was built by Domenico Mazzoni who came to America in 1890, eventually coming to Shasta County. He saved his money and sometime before 1908 acquired enough to go into the hotel business with a friend. He built the Columbus Hotel on California Street atthe later site of the Empire Hotel.

The Empire Hotel in Redding (there was also an Empire Hotel in Shasta) was built in 1918 at 1233 California St. on the previous site of the Columbus Hotel which had been destroyed by fire. It was partially made with large bricks, 9” x 13” x 6” thick from the Balaklala smelter smokestack at Coram. Today the building houses the Empire Recovery Center.

The Empire Hotel today
The Empire Hotel today

Hotel Casa Blanca  was built in 1950 on a 5 acre lot half that was a mile north of Redding on US 99 on north Market Street. It boasted having “50 Ultra Modern Motel Air-Conditioned Units, each with private telephone, fully carpeted, Beauty Rest-equipped, and serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails.” It was torn down about 2002 and the property is now owned by the McConnell Foundation.

Hotel Casa Blanca
Hotel Casa Blanca

Photos exist of several other area hotels but no further information has been found. They are Hotel Central, 1353 Butte St. (at the corner of Market & Butte), Yuba Hotel at 1423 Yuba, and the City Hotel on Market St in 1872.

Area hotels

Early hotel interior
Early hotel interior

News clippings

News clippings

Everything you need to know about 4th of July weekend at Turtle Bay

4th of July at Turtle Bay

How is Turtle Bay rocking out this weekend? By offering discounted admission! July 1-4, guests will have full access to the Park for just $10 for adults and $5 for kids (4-15) and seniors (65+). Members, as always, get in FREE!

But there’s even more: if you’re headed down to the Civic Auditorium for the Freedom Festival on July 4th, come in, cool off, and enjoy the Museum from 5-8pm for just $4 per person (again, Members are free!). Or grab a Freedom Freeze and snacks at the Museum Store and Coffee Bar, which will be open until 8pm, as well, on Monday. (On the flip side: the Botanical Gardens will be closing early at 5pm on July 4.)

Alright, alright, so you’ve made your plans to explore the Park this holiday weekend, what else do you need to know? Parking.

Parking in the Sundial Bridge lot may be limited this weekend, especially on July 4th, so plan accordingly. Overflow parking is available in the Redding Civic Auditorium lot. Cart service may be available for elderly and disabled guests from the Civic Auditorium parking lot to the Sundial Bridge turnaround (9am-5pm July 2-4 ONLY). The McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens parking lot (the one off of N. Market Street) is CLOSED on July 4th for a special event.

Here are some reminders about the Freedom Festival:

  • Freedom Festival live music begin on the Civic lawn at 7:30pm
  • Fireworks begin at 10pm
  • No smoking, alcohol, or dogs allowed at Freedom Festival
  • No fireworks viewing available at Turtle Bay, Botanical Gardens, or Sundial Bridge
  • Sundial Bridge Drive and surrounding parking may be closed to traffic and parking as early as 8pm
  • River Trails may close as early as 8pm
  • Sundial Bridge closes at 9pm


With all the details out of the way, Turtle Bay wishes everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!