One person died Tuesday in a fire that destroyed a 200-year-old inn along the Lincoln Highway in Fort Loudon, Pennsylvania. The victim was a 19-month-old child. A dozen people were left homeless and four firefighters were injured.
Before I knew about the fire, I was at first glad to hear from Debby Heishman, community news editor for the Public Opinion in Chambersburg, who said she would be running my request for Ship Hotel information. But sadly, she told me a companion story would be about the Fort Loudon Inn, which burned Tuesday morning. That story mentions other Lincoln Highway landmarks that burned in recent memory including Sleepy Hollow Tavern near Ligonier, Swiss Chalet (former Lincoln Lodge) atop Laurel Summit, and of course the Grand View Ship Hotel. All this on the heels of the Mountain View Inn closing Sunday, and a rash of arsons in Coatesville PA, makes for a sad winter along the LH.
The Fort Loudon Hotel was not at a mountaintop but rather at the base of Tuscarora Mountain in the ittle town of Fort Loudon. Its website , filled with historical information, still shows cheery pictures of the place with tales of its recent restoration by Dawn and Richard Gogin and ambitious plans for the future. The c. 1790 house has also been known as the Laurel Hotel or Vance’s Inn to LH travelers, named by Rosie Vance who ran the inn from 1900 to 1946. The common areas (living room, sun porch, etc) had been available to rent plus the inn had 11 efficiency units for long- and short-term occupancy.