A raging fire early this morning destroyed the landmark 57 Hotel in Kunkletown, Eldred Township.
The blaze at the more than 100-year--old business was discovered shortly after 3 a.m. When firefighters reached the scene, heavy flames were erupting from the frame structure.
The 57 Hotel is located at the intersection of 57 Road and Christman Road. It has been a popular gathering spot for generations.
Firefighters from Monroe, Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton counties were dispatched to the scene to fight the inferno.
Among those fire companies were Kunkletown, Polk Township, Aquashicola, Trachsville, Palmerton, Bowmanstown, Parryville, and Franklin Township. Especially utilized were tank trucks which hauled water to the site.
At the height of the fire, flames leaped high into the air creating a reddish glow that could be seen for miles.
There were no reported injuries.
A state police fire marshal reportedly has been summoned to assist local fire company officials in the investigation into the cause of the fire.
The history of the 57 Hotel goes back over 100 years.
Raymond Anthony, 82, of Kunkletown, said at one time the building was divided into a hotel and a general store. He was born in the store.
He said both the hotel and general store were owned by his grandfather, Nathan Anthony, at the time. His grandfather died in 1943 and the hotel and store were sold.
Eventually the store closed and the entire building was converted into a hotel.
Firefighters battled the blaze for over 2 1/2 hours before it was declared under control.
The roads around the fire scene were closed from after 3 a.m. until nearly 10 a.m. because of the firefighting activity.
Fire police from throughout the region worked together for traffic and crowd control.