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Clearwater Lodge Owners Say They’ll Rebuild Historic Structure Destroyed in Fire

Clearwater Lodge

The owners of Clearwater Lodge near Delta Junction have decided to rebuild the historic structure that burned to the ground in May. And now fans and friends of the lodge want to help get work started with a fund-raiser next month.

Kevin Ewing says he and his wife, Patsy, have decided to build a new lodge on the site of the old one at a scenic bend in the Clearwater River.

It’s a place familiar to fishermen, snowmachine racers and countless others from all over who’ve congregated there for the past 60 years.

“We love the place, love the setting,” he said. “It deserves to have something there that other people can enjoy.”

Ewing says he’s signed-on a local architect to design a structure that will resemble the old Clearwater, including a wall featuring photos of the many events that’ve been held at the lodge over the decades.

“We kind of want to keep it similar, so that there’s similar materials used in it,” he said. “It’s not going to be built anything like it was, obviously. I was an old creosote building with 2-by-4 walls and stuff.”

The new lodge will not have the smell of musty old creosote-treated timbers, like the old structure. In fact, it’ll feature smoke-free dining, and more windows that’ll allow diners more views, both indoors and outdoors on the expanded deck.

“The whole front now will all be view, so the deck will probably end up being larger than it was – a nice big outdoor desk, and partially covered, too.”

Credit Tim Ellis/KUAC
Patsy Ewing, second from left, talks with a friend at the site of the fire on the morning of May 15th.

Ewing says he and Patsy hope to start work on the new lodge next spring and get enough done to have a grand opening on July 4th. He says they haven’t had enough time to work on it this summer, not only because of his day job at Pump Station 9, but also due to time-consuming work on insurance issues and other matters related to the May 15th fire.

Meanwhile, friends and supporters are planning a fund-raiser to help support the reconstruction effort. Jay Miller is a Fort Greely firefighter, and he says the post’s firefighter association is sponsoring the Aug. 15th event to be held at the site of the old lodge.

Miller says it’ll be called the Clearwater Revival Music Festival. He says organizers hope it’ll be the first of many.

“We’re going to try and make this a yearly event – a music festival behind the Clearwater,” he said.

You can find out more about the event by going online to the event Facebook page, or the firefighters association's page.

Tim has worked in the news business for over three decades, mainly as a newspaper reporter and editor in southern Arizona. Tim first came to Alaska with his family in 1967, and grew up in Delta Junction before emigrating to the Lower 48 in 1977 to get a college education and see the world.