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It was nice while it lasted…

July 11, 2004, 10:38 AM

Remember this?

Skyline Parkway Motel, September 10, 2003

For those of you who don’t know, this is the Skyline Parkway Motel, which, along with the Howard Johnson’s Restaurant, and the Skyline Parkway Motor Court, I photographed on September 10, 2003 for the Afton Mountain: Victim of Progress photo set.

Things have changed since then.

According to The News Leader and The News-Virginian, our local newspapers, the main building of the Skyline Parkway Motel was destroyed by fire this past Friday morning, July 9, 2004, in the early morning hours (the fire was discovered at 3:46 AM). According to the two articles, the fire consumed the entire roof, and left heavy damage to the center of the building, the lobby area. Take a look at this photo from The News-Virginian of the building after the fire. You’ve seen what it looked like in my photo, and this is what it looks like now:

Skyline Parkway Motel following a major fire

Pretty bad, indeed. As you can see, the entire roof was burned off, and completely obliterated the front portico – the one that had the name of the motel on it. The lobby area was also pretty much ravaged by the fire. According to the News-Virginian, most of the rooms were saved from the fire, though still received smoke and water damage. According to NBC 29 (WVIR) out of Charlottesville, investigators can already determine the room of origin, and then after they clean out the debris, they can analyze the floors and such to figure out exactly where the fire started, in order to figure out what caused it.

The fire is considered “suspicious” at this point. Consider that this is the third fire in the abandoned motels on Afton Mountain since the motels closed, and the first and second, which occurred in a second-story room in the Skyline Parkway Motel and in one of the cabins at the Skyline Parkway Motor Court, were both ruled to be arson. The Skyline Parkway Motor Court fire (mentioned in the photo showing that big roof collapse in my photo set), actually led to a conviction, with two former Dooms firefighters setting it, according to the News-Virginian.

I will be going up there probably in the next few days or so to get my own photos – from a distance. And I’ll keep you posted as to what they figure out as far as the investigation goes. Still, that’s kind of creepy how nearly ten months to the day (only one day shy of ten months) that I took my photo set, that the building is basically destroyed. According to NBC 29, the building is thought to be a total loss.

I wonder what should be done with the building once the dust has settled and the investigations are complete, and the insurance companies have made their decisions. I believe that the building was probably mostly restorable before this fire, though the accommodation looked horribly outdated. Now, I’d tend to believe that the building is finished, considering that it was in an abandoned state before, and now that it’s been thoroughly burned, plus a rainstorm has now rained on the now-open-to-the-sky second floor, which is like adding insult to injury, with more water damage.

I’d hate to see the building demolished, but I think its time is up for it to go. Especially when, considering that this building is owned by Skyline-Swannanoa, the company that also owns The Inn at Afton, which is still operating just behind it. I’d think it would not be good for business to have a large burned-out building sitting right in front of your operating property. Especially when you control both properties.

Still, it’s a shame to see it go, but I guess its time was up. Like I said, I’ll keep you posted on any developments.

Web site: From autoage.org, about the Howard Johnson's right next door...

Song: None

Quote: (speechless)