Skip to comments.Fire in Catskills Ravages Site of Old Brown’s Hotel
Posted on 04/17/2012 5:41:52 PM PDT by nickcarraway
A fire over the weekend swept through a condominium complex in the Catskills that was once the Browns Hotel, where Jerry Lewis and other comedians entertained crowds of vacationing New Yorkers.
The fire began around 6 p.m. Saturday and moved quickly through the complex, destroying seven of nine buildings, Steven Vegliante, the town supervisor of Fallsburg, N.Y., said in an interview on Sunday.
About 100 people were in the buildings and were evacuated, he said, noting that many were staying at a makeshift shelter at Sullivan County Community College.
Were just pleased that no one died and no one was seriously injured, Mr. Vegliante said. It was a horrific fire.
Detective Travis Hartman of the Fallsburg Police Department said that the cause of the fire was not known and that the department and two local fire departments were investigating.
Earlier this year, Fallsburg had threatened to condemn the buildings because of fire-safety and other building-code violations, but the condominium board reached a settlement with the town under which it agreed to address the problems, Mr. Vegliante said.
The fire code violations we believe were all remedied at the time of the fire, Mr. Vegliante said. He added that it appeared that all the alarms had worked.
The condominium board had also agreed with the city to institute a fire watch a procedure under which security guards would walk around the building every half-hour.
Its my understanding that the fire watch found the fire, Mr. Vegliante said.Browns Hotel was opened in 1944 by Charles and Lillian Brown. During the 1950s and 60s, it was one of the three most popular borscht belt resorts, along with the Concord and Grossingers.
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Whatever; it got the job done.
Did Woodstock destroy the place?
why do you say “Divine intervention”?
I must have missed something in the article. All I see is that an old building burned down, people safe.
Thing here is, when a hotel or old building burns down, 99% of the time it’s for the insurance.
Last year I was driving through the Catskills and went through a small village called Nipple. The Catskills are a pretty weird place.
Cheap air fares and air conditioning.
You could travel to someplace exotic or stay in the city and keep cool.
Oh man, did the dirty dancing heat up the place?
The advancement of air conditioning becoming widely available made staying in the city during summer tolerable.
That, and commercial air travel, and the interstate highway system.
I remember going to Grossinger’s as a kid in the 50’s..my aunt and uncle would take me with then for a few weeks each summer. It was always packed.
Monticello was the heart of the Catskills..Monticello Raceway was a very popular harness track..they’d have 30K people there on a Saturday night..
Thanks. Makes sense.
Many people blame the decline on modern transportation. During the prime years (1920 - 1965), most people didn't have the means to fly off to some exotic city for a long weekend. When they wanted to get out of New York City for a few days or even the summer, Jews, Eastern Euros, Germans, and the Irish choose the Catskills because travel time was relatively short (less than a day) and readily accessible by car, bus, train, and boat.
The decline of the Catskills began in the late 1960s as people realized that in the same time it took to travel to the Catskills, they could fly to Miami, New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Juan, etc. By the end of the 1970s, relatively inexpensive airline travel throughout the Americas and Europe gave more and more travel and vacation choices to people of nearly every economic class, any many of these people were the people who used to go to the Catskills.
I’ve been to Kutchers and another for ballroom dance weekends. They’re still elegant, but waaay dated. What incredible overhead in a shrinking market!
The Catskill’s are within easy commuting distance from New York City. Many people wanted to get out of heat (summer time) so drove up, or took the train, less than an hour, to what they thought the temperature was cooler. Also easy commute for celebrities to come and entertain. In the old day’s fantastic hotels were built and was the place to go!
The real Catskill Mountains are beautiful and are about another one hour North.
Great skiing at Windham and Hunter Mountains.