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Old February 10th, 2006, 05:29 AM   #21
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I think this is it.

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Old February 10th, 2006, 05:50 AM   #22
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Excuse my late response to the Bush House fire, it only now crossed my mind the NE forum might be interested.

The fire began just before 7:00 am yesterday in the attic of the hotel. In its 138 year he history it had hosted the likes of Thomas Edison and Amelia Earhart. Last July the historic Bellefonte Academy from 1805 burned down due to arson.

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Old February 10th, 2006, 05:51 AM   #23
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Damn shame, that's a nice old building.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 05:51 AM   #24
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Bush House 'a total loss,' fire chief says; no injuries reported

BELLEFONTE -- The historic Bush House, an anchor of downtown Bellefonte, was destroyed by fire this morning.

Firefighters are still battling flames, but half of the former hotel is no longer standing. The building, on High Street on the banks of Spring Creek, is home to several businesses, including Schnitzel's Tavern.

Hundreds of onlookers gathered to watch firefighters work to douse the flames and protect nearby buildings. At one point, firefighters were trimming back trees in Talleyrand Park, across High Street from the Bush House, in an apparent attempt to keep them from catching on fire.

"It's a total loss," said Bellefonte Fire Chief Tim Knisely.

Knisely said firefighters do not believe anyone was in the building at the time, but are still working to verify that.

"We have no reports of injuries," Knisely said. "We are working with the owner on verifying nobody would have been in the building."

According to a Spring Township police officer on the scene, the fire was believed to have started in the second floor of the building, which he said consisted of some combination of apartments and/or guest rooms.

Traveling toward Bellefonte from U.S. Route 220, a huge plume of smoke could be seen from miles away. The side of the Bush House nearest the train station in Talleyrand Park was gone, leaving a gaping hole in the structure from which flames were still visible about 9 a.m.

The Bush House, built in the late 1800s by Daniel G. Bush, in the heyday of passenger trains, once was known as "one of the most finely appointed, as well as one of the most commodious hotels in central Pennsylvania," according to an account by historian John Blair Linn.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 05:52 AM   #25
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Waterfront district takes a hit
Business leaders in town see loss having big impact
By Jennifer Thomas
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Efforts to revitalize Bellefonte's waterfront district took a devastating but not fatal blow, officials said, when the historic Bush House and seven businesses located within burned to the ground Wednesday.

"It's a temporary setback," said Chip Aikens, executive director of the Bellefonte Intervalley Area Chamber of Commerce.

The 16-room Bush House Hotel, Schnitzels Tavern, Daniel's Bar, Bush House Bottle Shop, Wise Eyes Optical, Clear Concept and Primerica Financial Services were destroyed in the blaze.

"Bush House was like the heart of our entire historic district," Aikens said.

"The restaurant was one of the town's biggest attractions. People came from all over."

Assistant Borough Manager Sue Hannegan said the economic impact will be difficult to measure.

"For Bellefonte as a whole, it's definitely going to impact us," she said. "Everybody uses Schnitzels. ... It's a ripple effect."

The approximately 60,000-square-foot property at the corner of High and Water streets has been a cornerstone in the community since 1868.

"It's devastating for Bellefonte, which has built its reputation on historic sites and is trying to use those sites for economic development sites," said Borough Manager Ralph Stewart.

"We will certainly continue to push for development of the waterfront district," Hannegan said.

About 30 employees of the four businesses run by building owner Ken Kempton -- Schnitzels, Daniel's, the bottle shop and hotel -- were left without jobs, said Bush House Manager Mary Bingham.

The loss was devastating for her, she said, as she had returned to Bellefonte five years ago to help reinvigorate the establishment. She said the facility had survived a flood in the past, but fire proved too much for it Wednesday.

"It was a beautiful, solid building, and it had a great history," she said. "It was a neat, neat old building."

The hotel had a small-but-steady business renting one to two rooms almost every night -- although not on Tuesday night. It was just beginning to regain its footing and was booking more events, such as banquets, Bingham said.

"We didn't pursue banquets, but I had just booked a whole bunch of them," she said, shaking her head.

Efforts were being made by the other companies to determine what would happen to their businesses and employees.

"You just start from scratch," said Wise Eyes Office Manager Debbie Cleeton, who works in the State College office of the retailer.

The Bellefonte location has been in the Bush House since Wise Eyes opened in 1978.

The first step for Clear Concept, a counseling firm that saw upward of 30 people daily for substance abuse and mental health issues, is to find a temporary home, said counselor and co-owner Mike Grabill.

"As soon as we have that spot available, we'll be doing counseling sessions," he said.

The loss of the businesses leaves a gaping hole in the town's waterfront district, which has been a targeted area for revitalization by the borough and the chamber, Stewart said.

Former chamber executive director Jean Gerber said efforts, spurred by the rehabilitation and opening of The Match Factory by the American Philatelic Society in 2004, were gaining momentum when she left the chamber in September. She said the waterfront district is a vital part of the community, and it has been included in the upcoming plans surrounding efforts to join the state's Main Street Manager Program.

"I think the waterfront is just critical," she said. "What town wouldn't love to have a resource like that?"

The goal is to mix cultural experiences, recreation and business opportunities in an attractive manner in the district that stretches from the renovated Match Factory all the way to the old Cerro Metals plant, she said.

She said the Bush House and its location were key to the district. The focus must now be on what can be done with that property to make it viable in revitalizing Bellefonte.

"The Bush House was a wonderful structure and has a lot of history," she said.

But, with the loss comes opportunity, Stewart said.

"Something very valuable could go in there," he said.

"We have a lot of momentum going forward."
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Old February 10th, 2006, 05:56 AM   #26
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video
http://www.centredaily.com/multimedi...fire/index.htm
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Old February 10th, 2006, 06:09 AM   #27
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DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN. I am mourning and I've never been to that town. That's the horrible thing, historical buildings can't be replaced. Do they know how the fire started?
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Old February 10th, 2006, 06:28 AM   #28
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It is suspected that something sparked it in an attic
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