Fire In A Ghost Town: Rebuilding the American Hotel at Cerro Gordo


Thank you to everyone who has supported this project along the way. It really does mean the world to us and gives us the encouragement to keep pursuing the dream of Cerro Gordo. More below…

Ways to support rebuilding the American Hotel:

1) Donate on GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/cerro-gordo

2) Purchase any items in our online store and 100% of proceeds go to rebuilding: https://store.cerrogordomines.com/collections/all

3) Volunteer with the rebuild, especially if you have a skill related to construction. You can signup to volunteer here: https://forms.gle/TD7BRMkqPNkQjT29A

4) Subscribe to this channel, share, and follow along with the rebuild on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brentwunderwood

Thank you so much!

I haven’t even told many people this yet but my goal and something that I would work until my hands bleed on is. I want this hotel open July 4th of next year by July, 4th 2021, I’m hoping we have a grand opening party of the new American hotel and a lot of you can hopefully join that point. So It’s been about two weeks since the American hotel burned down and admittedly that first week was really hard. It was one that I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever been through a traumatic event like that and see that burn down in front of you. It was pretty raw, it was pretty difficult.

The first couple days, I stayed in my house – didn’t really do much but uh. I want this to be more of a positive note. You know over the past two weeks since this happened, we’ve seen an outpouring of support. We’ve had 150 people volunteer to help out money on gofundme letters of support, all sorts of great stuff, and you know after I kind of hibernated for the first week that weekend even the first weekend, we had seven people up here, helping move sheet metal scrap out Of the way, the next week was full of just a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy type stuff. We had a number of fire investigators come out.

The conclusion seems to be that we had old, wiring and one specific wire that the fire investigator found was a contracting wire that was running directly from the box in something called a double lug, where I guess they put it on a breaker that already existed. They brought it down, they had spliced it into a smaller wire to run smaller wire around and in that splicing that kept being reduced. I guess caused a lot of heat cheated up some stuff and you know cause the fire ultimately. I feel like I’m a lot better place than I was. You know when I put out the last video. It’s been one where now It’s just part of circle’s past and we’re trying to look to the future.

So if I’m looking to the future and I’m looking to positives, you know we have the original blueprints of the hotel. They were gonna, do a remodel in the late 90s and they created the exact floor. But so luckily we have those the original plans of the bar, so the beautiful bar that was in the hotel. As you went in and you look to your left, you would see it. We have those plans and we have the guy willing and ready to rebuild that once we have the building, we have the support from the county. The county has been very sympathetic and understanding.

So far, we’ve met with a number of officials there, and they also want to see this. This thing come back to life, quick. You know we have the support of a lot of our followers. You know a lot of you have come out and helped move stuff or donated money or bought some merchandise to help you rebuild and that’s been fantastic as well. We have, you know, a clear direction now we before we’re doing a lot of different projects, and that was important to get a lot of things done. But now It’s a very clear focus. You know the American hotel has to be rebuilt, and so everything that we’re doing is laser focused in on that and for me, what It’s done is just even further emphasize my dedication to the place.

You know, even I have to be up here – 12 hours a day working in the middle of the snow or whatever to do uh we’re gonna. Do it you know yeah. My hope is that in 300 years from now you know Cerro Gordo is still here and at that point the hotel will be 300 years old. Yes, the rest of the buildings will be 400 years old, but it’ll still be a really old town, and this town will still exist for people to come. Learn about its history, learn about its impact in Los Angeles and California as whole, and you know There’s a responsibility there now you know we have to rebuild this thing and we have to get back up, and so I’ve been working pretty hard. Um on you know directly in the dirt moving sheet metal to working with architects to working with planners, to get the plans in to get the permits that we need.

So It’s been a non-stop couple weeks, but uh I’m feeling a lot better about it and that’s that’s a pretty good thing and as far as like what needs to be done now, you know the plans. It stands. This There’s a lot of moving pieces, but we’re clearing the site, we’re going to clear the site of all the blade, the large debris now that all the investigations are done, Let’s eventually get all pushed in so could become a parking lot for the place house, but Some of these stoves are pretty heavy and uh a lot of fun.

You know picking up moving and dumping the building you love, but hopefully one day yeah we can move these down, create a flat area, maybe even a new building move that to landfill we’re gonna then comb through the ashes to make sure we don’t lose any Artifacts four days after the fire put out, I’ve been putting dirt on it every day and still four days later, keeping a close eye on I’m not going to sleep and just putting dirt and dirt and dirt on it. But just won’t go out original nails from. I got this magnet trying to just know pick up some nails and stuff so comb through them with magnets and rakes, make sure that we get everything out of there we’re gonna preserve as absolutely much as we can.

You know I’d love to work in some of the old charred wood into the new flooring. It’s kind of a nod to what happened, looks like some of the original floor that was preserved. I tried to dig that out see how much of it is preserved, because that would be amazing to put into the new hotel. Then we’re going to dig a little bit. You have to think this is a section of earth that hasn’t been uncovered in 150 years. Directly, next to the hotel, there used to be a dunk, and so you know, we’ve had a number of archaeologists reach out we’re going to do a very coordinated and planned dig to hopefully under some artifacts that otherwise wouldn’t have been found and go in a little Room of the new hotel is something that people can learn from as well after we do the dig you know, obviously by then, hopefully, our plans are approved by the city, so we can start rebuilding this hotel and we’ll rebuild the hotel.

We will hopefully have a foundation of some type poured by this winter. that’s my goal. I haven’t even told many people this yet but my goal and something that I would work until my hands bleed on is. I want this hotel open July 4th of next year by July, 4th 2021, I’m hoping we have a grand opening party of the new American hotel and a lot of you can hopefully join that point. It’s gonna be a ton of work. It’s not gonna be easy. We don’t have approved plans, we don’t have the money for it, we don’t even have the site cleared yet so that’s it July. 4Th 2021, I’m kind of obsessed now with getting the hotel open by then and getting it opened safely.

You know one of the silver linings. If we’re looking at several lightings, nobody got hurt, that’s really important, you know uh, it was a really scary time, but luckily nobody got hurt. We’Ve already had four electricians: come and walk the property with us and point out any problematic things. I’ve heard of the county we’ve already got electrical permits to replace a lot of the wiring, we’re actually replacing the wiring. As we talk now doing, everything that we can to never have a fire appear again, fires are a huge part of ghost towns. Unfortunately, you know this town used to have 500 different buildings, and now it has 20.

So we’re going through we’re reinforcing some of the structures that may have been falling down, we’re putting in water prevention systems, we’re that we’re working with a lot of different people to come up with a lot of ideas of how to do that. Um, I’ve even been looking into purchasing a fire truck uh, There’s a bunch of them on facebook weirdly enough, and so, if nothing else to have some type of thing to do. You know, however, anything like this happens here again, so that that’s kind of the plan of the next year. You know It’s going to be a lot between now and July, 4th of next year. It’s not even 12 months.

We have to work with and we need to clear the site, get permits, get money and rebuild this thing but, like I said, I’m obsessed this is this is the only thing I’m working on um, I’m gonna put everything that I can into that. Making that happen, I’m hoping to put a lot more updates on here, not just about the hotel that we’re working on, but the rest of the property as well like I was doing before, maybe even weekly updates. So if you want to help um subscribe to this channel, it does mean a lot.

You know it helps get the word out there. What we’re doing comment below if you want a specific video or to look around or have any questions about it. We have a gofundme link. If you have any extra cash, every single dollar is going to go into the hotel. If you want to volunteer, if you have an extra truck, even some pair of hands or a specific skill, you might want to volunteer, we need all the volunteers. We can get I’ll throw a link below or you can sign up for different volunteer elements and beyond that, all the funds from our store go directly into the American hotel, and so we have bandanas that have the American hotel on it.

Coins shirts, we even have original nails from the hotel 100 year old, males that we’re trying to sell to raise some money. But I just wanted to say thank you guys so much for the support. So far It’s been a little bit more of a roller coaster than I would have hoped for early on in the channel, but uh hoping over the next year to show some cool stuff. You know we’ll be doing the dig, the rebuilding the renovation of all the other projects, so there should be some cool stuff coming hope you stick with it check us out and a year from now. I hope you know to be sitting on the bar in the new hotel celebrating the fact that we got it done see you guys later and thanks for all the support.

Jason Smith

Former Marine, IT Guy & Builder of Websites.  I have 5 US states left to visit. I enjoy hot springs, adventures, hiking, photography, sci-fi, wine, coffee & whiskey.  I am fluent in sarcasm, name that tune, & speak in movie quotes.  I spend most of my time building websites, fixing computers, metal detecting, magnet fishing and gaming occasionally.

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