BALTIMORE - The cause of the fire that destroyed the famed Mt. Washington Tavern remains unknown, two months after the building nearly burned to the ground.
So what does the future hold for the very popular bar and restaurant?
Owners of the Tavern tell ABC2 News that while the cause has not been released they are moving forward in getting the North Baltimore landmark rebuilt.
The Mt. Washington Tavern nearly burned to the ground in the early morning hours of October 31st. The fire was so intense firefighters were unable to enter the building to battle the fire allowing the fire to do even more damage. After the smoke finally cleared, the fire had done $2.5 million of damage and the building was declared a total loss.
Today, you will barely recognize where the building once sit. Demolition is nearly complete which is great news for co-owner Dave Lichty.
"I hope the rest of the (Mt. Washington) Village hears the sound of hammers and saws soon instead of jackhammers," Lichty says. "It will be nice to have the smell of sawdust in the air instead of fire."
Lichty tells ABC2 News that they hope to keep people working. Once the demolition is done, the building will start. Blueprints have already been produced and Lichty says he hopes there will be no delay in starting construction.
The big question that remains, when will the Mt. Washington Tavern reopen?
"We hope to be open next fall hopefully in time for the holidays," Lichty says.
Lichty also says that while the Tavern will certainly not be open in time for the Preakness, they will not let the weekend go by without some type of presence.
The Mt. Washington Tavern is even more popular come Preakness Week and is a prime place to see horse owners, trainers, and jockeys hanging out, sharing stories, and talking with everyday Baltimoreans. They all then return after the big race to celebrate the week of racing and especially the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
This year, the tavern's owners are hoping to get a one-day license and fire up a grill in their parking lot so they can throw a Preakness party. "It helps keep our name out there as we rebuild," Lichty points out.
Of course the new Mt. Washington Tavern will be very different. An elevator will exist to help patrons reach the second floor and there will be certainly other ways the tavern will have a more modern day feel. After all, much of the grand-old parts of the building were destroyed in the fire including the large, wooden bar in front and many of the old artifacts.
So while the Baltimore City Fire Department hasn't released the results of their investigation into the fire, life moves on. For those who have made the Mt. Washington Tavern a part of their lives for so long, that means making sure to rebuild the favorite bar and restaurant as soon as possible so those who have had great memories and good times can come back and create new ones.
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