Follow us:

The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

April 10, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Fire destroys historic tavern in Skykomish

Fire destroyed the historic Whistling Post Tavern in Skykomish on Tuesday morning. (Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

The Associated Press

SKYKOMISH – Firefighters responding to flames at the historic Whistling Post Tavern early Tuesday were immediately suspicious when they found the door open.

The unlocked door and a report of a suspicious car leaving the scene led investigators to suspect the fire was set to cover up a burglary, Skykomish Fire Capt. Mike Janasz said.

Flames spread quickly through the wood frame building that was built in 1903. Firefighters could only pour on water from the outside as they watched the roof and second floor collapse.

One firefighter who suffered a hand burn and smoke inhalation was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Janasz said. He was later listed in satisfactory condition.

All that remains is part of the frontier-style facade that says “established in 1903.”

Heavy equipment will have to move debris for investigators to look for the cause, Janasz said. The tavern doors had been locked the night before.

News that the fire may have been started by a burglar incensed owner Charlie Brown, who said historic photos and artifacts were lost.

“It’s an idiotic thing to do,” he told KOMO-TV. “I mean, take the money and run. We can replace that, but we can’t replace some of the history in this building.”

The tavern was a community center for the town and a stopping place for food for Stevens Pass skiers, about 40 miles east of Everett on Highway 2. A residence is attached to back of the tavern, but no one was inside when the fire started, KING-TV reported.

Several fire agencies worked to prevent flames from spreading to an adjacent hotel and other buildings.

The Whistling Post Tavern was one of 11 landmark buildings along the four-block long Skykomish Historic Commercial District, dating back to the late 1800s. Railroad workers would hang out in the saloon, which was originally named The Olympian. It was renamed the Whistling Post Tavern after a fire destroyed most of the district in 1904.

“It’s a pretty heavy hit,” Skykomish resident John Ritchie told KING. “There’s only a few businesses in Skykomish and this is one of those that everybody gravitated to. The owners are real nice people. It was just a great, fun place to be.”

 The owners said they will likely rebuild the tavern, but the lost railroad memorabilia and historic photos are irreplaceable.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: fire, Skykomish, tavern

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►