The historic Elk Bones Tavern is no more. Manitou Emergency Services Fire Department responded to an early morning alarm at the two storey structure in downtown Manitou. Upon arriving on the scene Fire Chief Red E'Lite assessed that the fire was too involved to stop. Fire crews worked aggressively to control the fire and limit it to the tavern structure.
Louis deVanner, an emigrant from Rotterdam, Netherlands, built the Elk Bones Tavern in 1854 in south-east Northgate Village near the harbour. It received Historical Landmark designation in 2016. The Tavern building has been unoccupied since summer after a challenging economy closed its doors and the business had been placed on the market.
"The structure could not be spared" Chief E'Lite told the Corran Journal "we believe it may have been arson as electrical services were disconnected in the building while unoccupied". When asked what will become of the land made available by the fire Winter Silversmith CAO Manitou Tourism said "we had planned to build a courthouse in Manitou, it is likely this will now be the location for it".
The fire brings the debate over emergency services available to the forefront again. Earlier this year it was reported that the city decided to spend additional funds it received through various tax programs on the renumeration of the city parcels. Critics presented the need for increased fire services in the city and implied that a disaster was imminent. "We are quite capable of fighting fires in our community" Chief E'Lite stated "we have fire hydrants, access to abundant water sources and helicopters in our arsenal for fighting fires."
Council will meet to discuss fire services and the construction of a new courthouse on the site of the former tavern. Clean up of the site will begin once fire services has completed its investigation.
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Kevin M. Klerks, Editor
(aka Winter Silversmith)