From left right, Alex Williams, Patrick James, Chrissie Green and Westly Christy of Medford are making a horror movie in the former Mon Desir restaurant building. pennell photo - Bob Pennell

Dinner and a Movie

Former owners and patrons have lamented the dilapidated state of the vacant Mon Desir Dining Inn, once at the height of fine dining in Jackson County.

But for amateur filmmakers Patrick James, 25, Alex Williams, 23, and Westly Christy, 22, all of Medford, the scene of broken windows, matted cobwebs and walls colored with graffiti, mold and rust was food for their imaginations.

"We thought it would be a really good place to film a horror film," Williams said. "Already it looks like a horror film."

In the movie, titled "The Mon Desir" by the trio's AP Pictures production company, three friends (no coincidence) break into the old, abandoned Mon Desir to camp out and tell scary stories.

Each horrible tale comes to life in the timeworn mansion with each friend playing a character in it.

In one scene set in the 1950s, a teenage girl, Stacie Tinnerman, who is dining with her family at The Mon Desir is brutally murdered after disobeying a waiter and going into the restaurant freezer.

There's a twist in the seemingly harmless camp-out at the abandoned restaurant, but the producers, which also include Chrissie Green, 22, aren't giving any hints as to what it might be.

Auditions for the movie are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 5-6 at the mansion, 4615 Hamrick Road in Central Point.

The movie, AP Pictures' first feature film, will be taped at the Mon Desir with permission from the property's new owners.

Developers Edic Sliva, Jonathan Jensen and Ryan Csaftis who acquired the property in 2005, plan to restore the mansion to how it looked when it was built in 1910 for A. Conro and Grace Andrews Fiero.

The home was built as part of a 140-acre orchard estate known as "Woodlawn Acres" where the era's elite partied with Conro, a millionaire from Chicago, and Grace, a former Broadway actress.

With the arrival of World War I, the couple couldn't keep their fruit business afloat and lost Woodlawn Acres to creditors.

The building was renovated to accommodate a restaurant that opened in 1946 serving Southern-style chicken dinners.

About six months later, Alex and Julie Tummers purchased the property and transformed it into a fine-dining hall, which they christened Mon Desir (French for "my desire").

Stan and Tommie Smith, of Medford, bought Mon Desir in 1965 and continued the fine-dining tradition until 1979.

"It's a sad shame to see it sitting there like that cause it used to be the place to go in the Rogue Valley," Stan Smith said. "I remember one New Year's Eve when we were told, 'Get ready. We will have 100 people tonight,' and we had 300 people."

During the past three decades, Mon Desir saw several owners and fewer customers until it finally closed in early 2005.

Plans now call for making the mansion the centerpiece of a new early 20th century-style shopping center, which could begin construction in 2008. Once it's restored, the mansion could be leased out as a restaurant, Csaftis said.

Christy plans to produce a documentary about the history of the mansion as a follow-up to the horror film.

The horror movie is slated to debut in the spring, possibly at some film festivals.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or

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