The Bass River Hotel, store, and Post Office was a forerunner of our present day strip malls. (Circa 1880 photo courtesy of Franklin W. Gray.)
Hopalong Cassidy was my favorite cowboy hero of early 1950's television. Does anyone remember the name of Hoppi's horse? (Photo from Google Images.)
Franklin (1825-1885) and Mary Ann Adams were the proprietors of the Bass River Hotel in it's early years. (Photo courtesy of Franklin W. Gray.)
Franklin Willets Gray in high school. (Photo courtesy of Franklin W. Gray.)
Business Section at New
Swept By Fire
Post Office, Store, Restaurant and Pool Room in Ashes:
Result of Mid-Night Blaze
POPULATION HELPLESS IN ZERO WEATHER
TO BATTLE SAVE TOWN HALL
The population of New Gretna were given a shock Friday night when at about the store of Milton Cramer caught fire. The fire started from some unknown cause after Mr. Cramer closed for the evening and when discovered was beyond control, citizens who gathered to witness the spectacle were helpless to combat the flames as the zero weather had cut off the water supply and with practically no fire-fighting apparatus little could be done to save the property.
The fire quickly spread to the old hotel building and the post office and with the store all were reduced to ashes in less than two hours.
For some time it looked as if the big K. of P. [Knights of Pythias] Hall would be destroyed but heroic effort of a volunteer force of firemen saved this building. It caught on fire on several occasions.
The store owned and occupied by Mr. Cramer, was an old land-mark of New Gretna and was built by the late Levi French more than a half century ago. In the building Mr. French carried on a general merchandise business for many years. Later the business was taken over by Francis French, then Burr French and Howard Mathis. Later Mr. Mathis and his brother Ashley formed the partnership firm of Mathis Brothers and when this firm dissolved the business was continued by Ashley Mathis until his death, when the property was bought by the present owner.
The old hotel property is also an old land mark with an interesting history and many gay times have taken place there that can be recalled by the older residents of that town.
This old building was erected by the late Frank Adams and later owned by his son-in-law, Charles Deacon. Since then it has had a long string of occupants in different lines of business. At the time of the fire the building was occupied by Levi Downs and was owned by Fred Miner.
The post office building was owned by Howard Mathis. The store and stock was covered by $2,500 insurance, the hotel $1,000 and the post office was a total loss, there being no insurance.
[Transcription of a 1/10/1917 newspaper clipping by Pete Stemmer.]
Munchies Deli is now located on the old Bass River Hotel site. (March 6, 2007 photo by Pete Stemmer.)