Depauville Hotel fire leaves ‘a huge hole in people’s hearts’

Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 5:45 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A day after fire destroyed the Depauville Hotel, some are saying the place was so much more than a building.

“The Depauville Hotel was a living breathing thing,” said Robert Cantwell, a community member. “You’d to be here to feel it, to be inside the building and be part of it, from six years old having a water to, you know, last week having a beer.”

The town of Clayton’s historian says the fire on Sunday was history repeating itself. The hotel was rebuilt after the original building was lost to a fire in 1906.

Then, for a few decades, the place ran as a hotel and then became a gathering place for people to drink alcohol at the end of Prohibition.

Towards the end of World War II, the hotel became a welcome home spot.

“It was an extremely busy place for soldiers and for the community of Depauville to honor soldiers, either when they were on leave, or even after the war,” said Tom LaClair, Clayton historian.

Cantwell says not only does he have ties to some of the hotel’s most recent history but also to some of its earlier history. His great-uncle was born in one of the rooms.

“Seeing the building, the hotel in the ruins that it is in now. Huge devastation. It’s going to be a huge hole in people’s hearts,” said Cantwell.

On Sunday, the owners told 7 News that they plan to rebuild. The cause of the fire is still unknown.