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Lewiston's Frontier House purchased by group of local developers

Kdm85 at English Wikipedia

What is called the jewel of the Village of Lewison has new owners. The Frontier House, which has a history ranging from hosting prominent American guests to housing a fast food franchise, is now in the hands of a group of local developers.

It's included in the National Register of Historic Places but in more recent years fell into disrepair. A partnership including two local developers, William Paladino of Ellicott Development and Jeffrey Williams of Great Lakes Real Estate, have purchased the landmark and, according to Village of Lewiston Mayor Anne Welch, restore it to its former glory, possibly as a place to again stay.

"We've talked about it but it's up to them what they want for it. We've discussed maybe the possibility of a boutique hotel," Welch said. "They want to restore what's there. They don't want to go in and gut it and redo the whole thing. I think they want to restore it, mostly what is there. No change to the outside right now."

WBFO called the offices of Paladino and Williams for this story but neither call was returned.

The Frontier House in the Village of Lewiston was built in 1824 and, throughout its history, hosted numerous prominent figures, including New York Governor DeWitt Clinton, President William McKinley, statesmen Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, opera legend Jenny Lind, and authors Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.

More recently, from the mid 1970s until 2004, it was home to a McDonald's franchise which had the unique distinction of being fitted within the building and not forming to the fast food giant's typical layout.

It's considered a certainty such an arrangement will never happen again within the Village of Lewiston. Welch, who says finding a private owner of the Frontier House was a promise made to residents and taxpapers, says the village takes its history and heritage most seriously.

"The building itself is so unique," Welch said. "We do have a lot of historic properties in the village and even I live in a historic house in the Plain Street District. People love their history.

"I think it was Jimmy Carter who said it was one of the most historic miles in the country."

The Frontier House, Welch added, is referred to within Lewiston as the Jewel of the Village.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.