AUGUSTA — It has been nearly two years since the historic Bunkhouse Inn in Augusta was engulfed by a fire. While there were no injuries, the Bunkhouse Inn was declared a total loss.
Firefighters worked to contain the flames through the night and into Sunday morning on October 10th, 2020. The fire did not spread to any other structures in town. The cause of the fire remains a mystery.
The Bunkhouse Inn was a major hub for tourists in Augusta, dating back to 1912. The owners, who just took over a month prior to the fire, said the building was "completely destroyed."
Shortly after, the owners announced plans to begin construction that was supposed to take place on February of 2021. But a year and a half later, there are only a few remains of the building left from the afternoon of the fire.
MTN talked with owner Matt Folkman about what the plans are regarding the historic hotel.
Folkman said, "Back then, lumber prices went down, and we got super excited, then in a second turned back around and went up again, so a little bit disheartening. As far as our project is going, we still plan on going ahead with it. We're just kind of waiting for the timing to be right. My wife and I own Wagons West down the street from where the Bunkhouse was, and in the last month or so, we actually sold that place to a great couple, and they're moving ahead with it, and we just plan on being able to get going with the Bunkhouse, hopefully as soon as we see changes in lumber prices."
Matt added that while the delays have been frustrating, it has also allowed time to gather ideas on what they would like the hotel to look like. He mentioned that they still want that historical look, but with some additions.
Folkman said, "The plan that we have drawn up right now will have 12 rooms, a big lobby area, a two-story building, and a couple of offices. It will set back off the street a little bit further so there's more of a patio space available out on Main Street. The options that we are considering would be to add a third story which would add spaces to offices, and we've had a lot of input from people that really liked the balcony because the balcony that existed previously overlooked Main Street, so we've looked at ways in bringing that back, so there's some fun things involved. Then again, all these things add up to pennies and dollars. It's fun to dream, but sometimes you get to the multimillions and wonder where the end is."
He added, "We're doing this for the community. Building anything where you're spending millions in Augusta is probably not something where you recoup your money back. We're just doing it because it's a fun place for the community."
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OCTOBER 11, 2020: