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Classic roadhouse in Copper Center goes up in flames

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Alaska has, perhaps temporarily, lost another one of its original roadhouses. The Copper Center Lodge's main building burned to the ground on Sunday, reports Glennallen's KCAM-Radio.

The blaze is believed to have started in the early morning hours Sunday. A maintenance worker living on site reported the blaze to lodge owner Tom Huddleston at 3 a.m., reports the Anchorage Daily News.

Fire crews from Glenn-Rich, Tazlina, Gakona, and Kenny Lake responded, but all they could do is keep the fire from spreading to other buildings.

Huddleston told the Daily News that the main building, built in part from oil-soaked logs, is a "total loss."

Investigators have not determined a cause for the fire, but Huddleston has long feared that faulty wiring might lead to a blaze.

The roadhouse sat the Old Richardson Highway in Copper Center and was first constructed in 1896 to serve gold miners. It was rebuilt after a 1928 fire.

The roadhouse wasn't only a beloved stop for travelers; it has been central to Copper Center and surrounding communites for decades. And it had been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

"It doesn't really belong to us," Huddleston said. "It belongs to the community. Lots of people are pretty shaken up."

Huddleston says he plans to rebuild. And luckily, the lodge's famous pancakes will return -- the lodge's sourdough starter burned up in the fire, but neighbors had some to spare.

Read more, here, and see some photos of the fire in progress at KCAM's Facebook page, here.