The Mountain View Hotel
The Mountain View Hotel in Minerva was 112 years old when it burned down on May 26, 2002. This was the second time the fire brought ruination to the business once known as The Mountain View House and later The Mountain View Hotel.
In 1984, Joe and Linda Volpe became the proprietors of the hotel. They continued the tradition of the business being the center of social gatherings in Minerva. As an example, in 1995, when the house of Tom and Brenda McNally was lost to a fire, the Volpe’s hosted a fundraising dinner for the couple.
Then in 1999, new owners, Adrienne and Robert Landrigan, purchased the business, turning it into The Mountain View Hotel, Tavern, and Restaurant and running it primarily as a restaurant and bar. The Landrigans encouraged winter downhill sledding behind the building, an activity open to all. The Hotel was also the site of a surprise 60th birthday party for Roy Palmer, which coincided with the St. Patrick’s celebration. The Minerva Fire Department and Rescue Squad were benefited by a Pig and Turkey Roast just days before the final destruction of the building, although the business was not actively operating in the final year.
The cause of the enormous fire that destroyed the historic Mountain View Hotel was under investigation for some time by the Essex County Fire Officials and State Police, but was never determined. Landrigan was reportedly mowing the property’s lawn when the fire broke out. Minerva Fire Chief Ed Sharrow recorded that 18 area fire companies from three counties with about 150 firefighters fought the blaze.
The Crown Point and Keene Valley firefighters acted as roving patrols on the look-out for floating embers, which went as far as Minerva Central School several miles away. The heat of the fire was so intense that it melted the back lights of the Pottsville tower fire truck.
Thurman’s firefighters’ FAST (Firefighter Advanced Survival Techniques) team went into action, their job to protect the firefighters at the fire scene. Under the direction of Capt. Pete Taylor of Minerva, the FAST team removed a propane tank from the side of the burning building preventing an explosion.
Fire prevented traffic heading south on route 28N into Minerva or north on the highway for three to four hours because the road was blocked off during the fire.
Other nearby buildings on the Mountain View property, plus nearby businesses such as Gonyo’s Auto Body Shop and residences all were at risk if the fire wasn’t contained. The potential was there to lose 10 to 12 structures. One Pottsville firefighter was taken to Glens Falls Hospital for minor injuries and was treated and released.
Many locals enjoy the heyday of the Mountain View - the clambakes and parties and weddings, the music by Johnny Wade or Bev Morrison Orchestras, or later in the rock-n-roll era, tunes by singer and guitarist Mike Leddick. The destruction of this iconic Minerva landmark was a huge loss to community members, many of whom remain nostalgic for the good old Mountain View days.
Article by Cameron Dubay