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Fountain House
Fountain House - Slateville Springs, NY
Opened in 1871 - Destroyed by fire 1916

Fire, Starting From Burning Leaves, Wipes Out Well Know Hostelry, Causing $15,000 Loss Local Firemen Help protect Other Buildings

[from page 3, Friday Evening, November 10, 1916, Ithaca Journal]

The Fountain House at Slaterville, one of the landmarks in Tompkins County, was practically destroyed by fire late yesterday afternoon, causing a loss estimated at nearly $15,000, which is partially covered by insurance. The fire threatened the residences in the vicinity, but the timely arrival of an Ithaca fire company and a heavy rain prevented a more costly conflagration.

The fire was discovered shortly after 4 o’clock by Miss Lena HAUSLANDER who lives in an adjacent house. A high wind soon gave the flames a roaring start. A bucket brigade which had organized did valiant but futile work to control the blaze. A telephone message to the Ithaca Police Headquarters summoned Chief REILLY and Number Nine’s fire truck.

When the firemen arrived, the blaze which had evidently started in the lower house, had crept to the roof and almost the entire eastern end of the structure was ablaze. Three streams of water were played on the blaze, the water being pumped from Six Mile Creek nearby. The wind velocity was such that the streams of water could hardly reach the windows of the upper stories. The firemen, however, were successful in preventing the fire from spreading to adjoining buildings. The cinders were large and were carried by the wind for a considerable distance.

History of Building: The Fountain House was built in the early 1870’s by the late Charles M. BENJAMIN and A. F. and C. F. HORNBECK. It originally consisted of two stories and a porch, comprising the west end of the building which burned yesterday. The hotel, intended as a sort of sanitarium, because of the proximity of magnetic mineral springs, soon became popular.

When Moses DIEDRICK took possession of the property he erected a three-story addition on the west end, making the building twice as large as it was when first built.

W. J. CARNS bought the place about 25 years ago. He was also the owner of the Magnetic Springs Home which was destroyed by fire about five years ago. Yesterday’s fire is believed to have started from leaves set afire by children. Until about a year ago the hotel had been conducted by Miss Martha B. CARNS who died in Philadelphia last winter. The ownership of the building then reverted to her brother, Lyman B. CARNS, at present residing in Philadelphia.

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