the Grand Central Burns....
A very rare photo of the fire in progress taken in 1899
by Smethport Photographer R.C. Gleason
In 1899 a devastating fire broke out in a 4th floor storage room. The entire interior of the marvelous building was destroyed and the decorative, Victorian "Mansard" roof was decapitated during the night, leaving the building without a fourth floor and the interior of the entire structure inruins. They never rebuilt the mansard roof and instead just topped the building off on the third floor. Following the destructive fire the magnificent building was only a shadow of its previous spectacular self. .
The following year the hotel across the street was massively renovated and lifted 15 feet higher from its base and the Imperial replaced the Grand Central as the elite hotel in Smethport.