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Work continues on Old Emmitsburg Hotel

Richard D. L. Fulton

(3/29) Work on renovating a gutted historic hotel in Emmitsburg was renewed again after a prolonged hiatus.

Work crews began to off-load dry-wall and other supplies in mid-March at the old Emmitsburg Hotel, located at 2 East Main Street at the Town Square and owned by owned by David George, while other work progressed inside the previously burned structure.

The observable work marked an end to a perceived extended lull in renovating the old hotel which had been intentionally torched around 5:59 a.m. on April 3, 2010.

The fire was started by 43-year-old John W. Bushman, Sr., a resident of one of the 17 apartments the hotel had been converted to. Bushman was subsequently sentenced to eight years in prison for the arson.

Stavroís was the only business located in the building at the time of the fire, and was able to reopen at its previous location last year. Only the top three floors of the hotel had been involved in the fire, while the remaining building below sustained smoke and water damage.

No one was seriously injured in the fire, but a number of pets died before they could be rescued. The fire was fought by over 125 firefighters until it was brought under control about three hours after it had commenced.

Reconstruction of the burned roof was commenced in 2010, and new trusses and shingles and a third floor porch was reframed as part of the "phase one" permit issued by the Frederick County Department of Permits and Inspections, according to Pam Moulton, the departmentís customer service supervisor.

Subsequently, Moulton stated, a second permit was issued in the fall of 2010 for structural repairs to the upper floors and building, the work having been completed before the end of that year.

An additional permit was issued in 2011 for dry wall and ceiling work, and the replacement of light fixtures, which has also been completed, the supervisor said.

This year, work was slated to continue into spring, which included installation of a sprinkler system. The hotel had no sprinkler system in place when the fire broke out.

The 2010 fire was not the first significant fire in the hotelís history. The building was also a victim of the "Great (Emmitsburg) Fire of 1863."

During the past nearly 200 years, a hotel has existed on the spot in various forms and names since the original structure, the Eagle Hotel, was erected on the site in the 1820s.

At various other times the building has also been known as the City Hotel, the Western Maryland Hotel, the Slagel Hotel, the Morndorff Hotel, and most recently the Emmitsburg Hotel.

One of the notable Marylanders associated with the old hotel was Francis Scott Key, author of the Star Spangled Banner, who gave a speech from the balcony of the hotel, according to Michael Hillman, president of the Emmitsburg Area Historical Society.

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