Canaseraga's Hotel Kingston suffers partial collapse
CANASERAGA — Canaseraga village history is crumbling before resident's eyes.
The Hotel Kingston, located at 40 Main St. in Canaseraga, suffered a partial collapse on Sunday evening, while six people were reportedly inside, working to repair the issue.
Bricks and roofing materials tumbled from the Main Street facing side of the building, impeding traffic on Main Street. The street had been completely closed to traffic on Sunday night, but was opened to one lane of traffic by Monday around noon.
According to Mayor Peggy Sleight, danger to the public had passed, but officials were advising the public to avoid the area.
"Anything else than may fall will fall straight down, so as long as pedestrians stay away from it, there isn't a danger at this point," she said.
The Hotel Kingston has served as a landmark for the community for generations, a symbol of resiliency that was built in the aftermath of an 1895 fire that claimed 25 stores, two hotels, Union Hall, a bank, newspaper office, T.G. Wooster Manufacturing Co. Furniture, and 34 homes.
Completed in 1898, the building spent its early days as an opera house, before becoming a renowned hotel, then apartments before being abandoned. The Hotel Kingston was an elegant place to stay back in the days of the railroad.
"There's a lot of memories in the building, and something the community wanted to see restored, whether it stayed apartments, or became a community building. A lot of the village is upset, unfortunately the landowner did not heed our inquiries to do something about it before this happened," she said.
Charles Mann of Canaseraga has owned the hotel since 2009, and had been working on getting it fixed up. He owns several properties in the village, including the former State Bank building at the corner of Main and South Church Streets, which had experienced similar problems, but has been successfully braced with help from an engineering plan, according to Codes Officer Steven Kilmer.
Mann was on the scene on Sunday, and removed portions of the walls threatening to collapse with a backhoe. He could not be reached for comment on Monday.
In the wake of the collapse, the village will insist that the remaining walls are shored up before winter makes conditions at the property worse, but will not demand that the structure be torn down.
"We're giving him the opportunity to brace the two remaining walls," Sleight said. "If he doesn't do anything before the winter sets in as requested, we will have to take further action."
It's thought that the building has suffered major structural damage. The mayor and Codes Officer Kilmer both returned to the scene on Monday, to further assess the damage. Whether or not work on the structure can continue remains unclear.
Kilmer said he anticipated that the danger may be too great.
"This building has been falling down for nearly 40 years ... I assume I'll be posting the building not to be occupied," he said.