- Associated Press - Friday, September 9, 2016

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A decades-old lodge in Delta Junction that was burned to the ground in 2014 has been rebuilt and is now open for business.

The Clearwater Lodge was set on fire by 18-year-old Vasiliy Malyk, who pleaded guilty to the arson in April. Maylk was also charged with burning down a neighbor’s home and given a time-served jail sentence for the arsons in April, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (https://bit.ly/2bXE0F1).

Johni Swinte, the lodge’s manager, said the new structure is more than twice the size of the old lodge, which was built by Montana homesteader Al Remington in 1954. The lodge also features a new deck for a view of the Clearwater River and has been rebuilt with reclaimed wood.

Owner Kevin Ewing said the wood gives the lodge a rustic look. Fairbanks artist Sean Herring carved salmon into some of the timbers, and Ewing hired an Anchorage concrete artist to create inlays of salmon and grayling in the deck.

“It’s obviously nicer,” Ewing said. “We wanted to build it like it looked like it had been there. We didn’t want something new and sterile feeling. We wanted people to feel comfortable.”

In 2001, Ewing and his late wife, Patsy, purchased the lodge from Remington’s grandson and had made renovations to it before the fire.

“It was a total loss,” Ewing said. “The old lodge had a lot of character. It’s hard to explain if you hadn’t seen it.”

The lodge reopened its bar on Sunday and the Ewings expect the restaurant to open in October. The menu will offer steaks, hamburgers, wraps and a nightly chef’s special.

“The old one will be missed,” said Ewing’s son, Lowen. “But this new place will blow people’s minds.”


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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