Pentwater - Fire destroyed a Pentwater landmark Monday morning.
The historic Nickerson Inn caught fire around 6:30 a.m. Monday. WZZM 13 backpack photojournalist Jon Mills arrived shortly after, to find flames shooting from the roof and back of the building. No one was injured in the fire. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause.
The Nickerson Inn at 262 W. Lowell, opened in 1914, and served as a bed and breakfast, hotel and fine dining establishment. It was renovated in 1990 from 14 rooms to 10. As the building burned, many in the community watched with obvious emotion.
The inn's website posts the following apology:
"We regret to inform you that The Historic Nickerson Inn was destroyed by fire early this morning, May 21st, 2007. We would like to thank all of our guests for their patronage and the many wonderful memories you have given us."
It goes on to explain that guests booked for this weekend will be moved to other nearby locations.
History of the Pentwater Inn
The Nickerson Inn was founded by Charles and Medora Nickerson in 1913 and opened for business on July 1, 1914. The Inn has been in continuous operation since 1914 and is one of the longest running businesses in Oceana County.
Charles Nickerson had an unfulfilled dream after owning the Clendee Hotel in Pentwater. Charles sold the hotel and bought 22 parcels of land, including the present site of the Inn. The Nickersons built the cottage at the foot of the hill in 1913. Construction on the Inn began in 1913, and opened for business July 1, 1914. Charles died in 1916 and Medora, her daughter and son-in-law, Robert Webb took over the Inn. Medora died in 1935. Fannie and Robert operated it until 1945, when they sold to Ray and Drucilla Baker.
The Bakers operated the Inn for 26 years, from 1946 to 1972. They added the porch on the West Side of the building. The lobby is named in honor of the Bakers.
Mrs. Baker sold the Inn to Harold and Myrna Carlin in 1972. They screened in the porch, added the railing to the veranda and obtained the liquor license. They sold the Inn to Norman Kuhne in 1982. Mr. Kuhne ran the Inn for three seasons and the Carlin's took over the Inn in 1985 and ran it until 1990.
In 1990, Dave and Terry Rose purchased the Inn. They started renovating the Inn, converting 14 rooms with two bathrooms, into 10 rooms all with private baths and individual air conditioning. Two rest rooms were added on the first floor for dinner guests.
The current owners, Harry and Gretchen Shiparski, purchased the Inn in June 1992. They continued the renovations by upgrading the screened in porch to an all-season dining porch, updating the rooms, and added new lighting and table coverings in the dining room. Two suites were added to the third floor, converting the attic. The kitchen was completely remodeled in 1997. The third suite, Lakeview, was added in 1998 as well as updated landscaping and paving the parking lots and driveway.