Couple restoring fire-gutted Fort Loudon Inn

Dick and Dawn Gogin want to start creating bed and breakfast in part of building

Dick and Dawn Gogin want to start creating bed and breakfast in part of building

December 16, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

FORT LOUDON, PA. -- A love of history is driving Dawn Gogin to restore what is left of the Fort Loudon Inn after a fire 11 months ago.

Gogin and her husband, Dick, have rehabilitated two motel rooms and three apartments since the blaze gutted their late 18th-century building. They want to start creating a bed and breakfast on the other side of the structure, where only exterior walls remain.

While doing that, the couple hopes to maintain a historical feel and reincorporate their antiques.

"There's not one bit of old in here except the stone walls," Dawn Gogin said.

Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Jeff Sarver said the cause of the Jan. 27 fire was not determined, although he believes bedding might have come in contact with a wall heater. The fire broke out in a bedroom and killed a 19-month-old girl.

The Gogins, who purchased the inn three years ago, saw the renovations they had already accomplished go up in smoke. Dawn Gogin said she was driving in Greencastle, Pa., when she received a call about the fire on her cell phone. When she arrived, Gogin said she was shocked by the extent of damage.


Not only did the fire itself damage the inn, but smoke, heat and water damage affected most everything. The bed-and-breakfast side was without a roof for four months during the insurance investigation, leading to extreme mold that was professionally treated. The third floor of that portion of the building was destroyed.

The layout of the bed-and-breakfast side will remain very similar to what was in place before the fire, Gogin said. Four rooms will be on the second floor, where guests will stay, she said.

The Gogins worked with the Shippensburg Small Business Development Center to develop a business plan, attend marketing classes and learn more about financing. Dawn Gogin spoke highly of the organization, which provides consultants at no charge to businesses with 500 or fewer employees.

"We are funded through the Small Business Administration at the federal level and through Pennsylvania in the governor's budget to help any business out there with its challenges," director Michael Unruh said, saying many clients are entrepreneurs starting businesses.

The Shippensburg Small Business Development Center works with approximately 300 clients a year in York, Franklin, Cumberland and Adams counties in Pennsylvania.

"A lot of folks approach us with the need for assistance to develop a business plan. ... We help them get ready to approach their local banks or other entities for financing," Unruh said.

Gogin said she misses hearing a knock on the door and meeting someone with questions about the inn's history.

"I'm just looking forward to people coming back," she said.

The inn was built around 1790 as part of a wagon stopping station, Gogin said.

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