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Fire destroys historic Fredericktown hotel
Tuesday, April 19, 2005

 

A fire yesterday destroyed a landmark hotel building in the village of Fredericktown, but 11 tenants escaped injury.

The fire broke out about 8:30 a.m. in the second floor or attic of the two-story Riverside Inn, which includes a restaurant, bar and hotel, said Mark Husak, chief engineer of the East Bethlehem Volunteer Fire Department.

Trooper R. Eric Graham, the state police fire marshal, said the accidental fire was sparked by an electrical malfunction. The building is owned by Duane Devecka of Fredericktown. Damage was estimated at $150,000.

A fire in 1980 had destroyed the third floor of the building, which was one of the oldest in the village along the Monongahela River near the Washington-Greene county line.

Built in 1903, the building originally was known as the Hotel Bower. Walter Bower, a grandson of one of the community's earliest settlers, built it to replace a previous hotel that had grown too small to accommodate visitors drawn by local mines and other businesses, according to "Fredericktown 1790-1990," a history of the village.

The brick building featured an ornate, double-decker porch and imposing carved-wood bar that had been shipped from New Orleans. Members of the Bower family sold the business in 1980 to Devecka.

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