First Posted: 5/16/2013
A fire on Wednesday afternoon and evening in Wyoming didn’t just severely damage a building, it may have destroyed a significant piece of the borough’s history.
The three-story building at 87 Wyoming Avenue, most recently KB Guilford’s Pub which closed earlier this year, was originally the Union Hotel when it was built over a century ago. Before it was Guilford’s the building housed Blanda’s, the Twin Maples and Bianco’s.
While it will be up to insurance adjusters to decide if the building is a total loss, Wyoming Borough Fire Chief Joe Kopcza said the damage is extensive. “I don’t know, a contractor would have to get in there and replace a 15 by 15 hole in the dining room floor. Some of the joists were burned, there’s a hole in the hallway behind the bar. The bar was pretty well scorched.”
That’s some of the worst news for Wyoming history buffs. The bar and back bar of carved mahogany or cherry wood were original to the building when it was the Union Hotel. The bar and back bar alone may have had a pre-fire value well into five figures.
When it was opened as Guilford’s in 2011 the menu read like a quirky history of Wyoming Borough, with the Queen Esther’s Cheese Crisp, Eighth Street Bridge Salmon Burger, Wyoming Chocolate Massacre and Airport Wings, and the dining room walls were decorated with Wyoming borough and Valley-wide memorabilia such as vintage photographs and advertising.
Chief Kopcza said that memorabilia was not on the walls at the time of the fire.
The fire started in the basement and spread up the walls to the first floor. Firefighters from Wyoming, West Wyoming, Exeter, Forty Fort, Jenkins Township, West Pittston Hughestown and Swoyersville fought the fire. It was contained at the second floor. “There was minimal damage to the kitchen and second and third floors,” Chief Kopcza said.
Building owner Chris Jones had been in the process of renovating the building into offices and apartments. He could not be reached for comment.