Northern California restaurant once owned by country music icon destroyed in fire

A fire on a Northern California lake has destroyed a landmark restaurant and music venue once owned by famed country music crooner Merle Haggard.

Silverthorn Resort’s Pizza Pub on Shasta Lake burned down Sunday night. The pub was once a haunt for shows from the Bakersfield-born music icon, who called nearby Palo Cedro home beginning in the 1970s.

The “Mama Tried” singer’s old restaurant still served as a local music venue and hosted bands the night before the fire during the Fourth of July weekend.

Cal Fire’s Shasta-Trinity unit reported that firefighters responded to flames at the historic structure just after 10:30 p.m. Sunday, which had also spread to nearby vegetation. Firefighters also worked through the night to contain flames.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, Cal Fire SHU said.

Merle Haggard, photographed in Sacramento in December 2004, once owned the landmark Pizza Pub on Shasta Lake.

Merle Haggard, photographed in Sacramento in December 2004, once owned the landmark Pizza Pub on Shasta Lake.

In a social media post about the restaurant’s destruction, Silverthorn Resort, which operates the Pizza Pub and marina, reminisced on the spot’s many memories, including Haggard’s performances as well as local bands that played there.

“While we are devastated by this incident, we are also incredibly thankful for the loyal friends and customers who have shown us support. We know that in time, we will rebuild, stronger and better,” the post read.

Silverthorn Resort has a long history overlooking Shasta Lake. It was opened in 1853 by George Silverthorn, who ran one of the region’s first ferries on the Pit River, nearly a century before the federal government dammed the Sacramento River to create Shasta Lake.

Haggard owned the resort during the 1980s, according the Redding Record Searchlight newspaper. He also lived on a houseboat at the lake, which is a popular spot for house boaters, and an accommodation that Silverthorn offers. The Bakersfield-born crooner died in 2016.

The marina and dock that Silverthorn operates will remain open but their cabin rentals will be closed through summer, the resort said.

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