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Mount Charleston Lodge Fire Hits Mountain Community Hard

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Judy Baxter/Flickr

The Mount Charleston Lodge was a getaway from the Las Vegas heat and a gathering place for nearby residents. Fire destroyed the restaurant last week.

Most Las Vegans knew the Mount Charleston Lodge as a place to beat the heat during the summer.

For the few hundred people who call Mount Charleston home, the lodge, which burned to the ground last week, was more.

“You had Christmas parties for the whole community. And there would always be for a fundraiser at a charity of one kind or another,” said State of Nevada commentator John L. Smith. “So that's really that small-town feeling.”

Smith, who lived for many years on the mountain, said “there was this kind of cohesiveness that took place there.”

“For a long time that was really was kind of almost magical,” he said. “Folks from different parts of the community would kind of hang their hats up there and get to know each other.”

Friday’s fire is being treated as an accident and likely started in a storage area under the lodge. Its owners have vowed to rebuild on the site, which has been home to a lodge for more than a century.

“By 1915 or so it started being a lodge,” said Smith. “Not just in the time before air conditioning, but even well after that, it became a place to get off the valley floor to get out of the heat.”

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John L. Smith, contributor, State of Nevada

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