Message About Loss of Riverside

Submitted by Elaine Rachocki on Sun, 05/07/2017 – 16:27

May 2, 2017

A Message to the
Community of Cambridge Springs
Alliance College Alumni

The entire Alliance College family mourns the tragic loss of The Riverside Inn in Cambridge Springs, Pa.  The news of the fire was heart breaking.  The Riverside Inn held a special place in our history and in our hearts.  For us, the Inn was truly one of the last vestiges of Alliance College in Cambridge Springs.

When enrollment was at a peak in the 1960’s, the grand Riverside Inn served as a dormitory during the off season for Alliance students.

Through the decades, the Riverside Inn hosted countless weddings and special events involving our alumni.  The Inn was the site of our reunions, alumni and board meetings. The beauty of the Inn, and the commitment of the employees of the Riverside Inn was incredible.

By all historical accounts, when the Rider Hotel (then home of Alliance College) burned down in 1931, the Community of Cambridge Springs were heart broken, and together with the Alliance family mourned our loss.

Today, we mourn together again.

To Mayor Gorske, the Halliday family, Jeremy Ball, the employees and the Community of Cambridge Springs our sympathy is extended by the loss of this icon which has held such a special place in our hearts.

On Behalf of the Alliance College Alumni Association,

Mike Anderson

President, Alliance College Alumni Association

Riverside Inn Destroyed by Fire

Submitted by Elaine Rachocki on Tue, 05/02/2017 – 19:19

From the Meadville Tribune

CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS — Fire swept through the 132-year-old Riverside Inn early Tuesday, completely destroying the historic building and leaving a hole in the community where it had played a central role for generations.

“We have a plaque in the fire hall with every one of our chiefs on it and it’s been the biggest nightmare call for every one of those chiefs,” said Tom Glenn, safety officer for the Cambridge Springs Volunteer Fire Department, “and unfortunately, our current chief is having to live it.”

None of the three employees or 12 guests present at the time of the fire were injured, according to Glenn, but two people at the scene were hospitalized with injuries of unknown extent. One resident was injured when they fell in the parking lot, while an unnamed firefighter was struck by a vehicle as he directed traffic at the scene, according to Cambridge Springs Fire Department Chief Jeff Murdock.

The injured firefighter was taken to UPMC Hamot, according to Murdock, who had not been updated on the firefighter’s condition as of Tuesday afternoon.

“We got everyone out and that’s what matters,” said Jeremy Ball, general manager at the inn, “but a piece of Cambridge Springs history is gone.”

Ball returned to the inn at around 1 a.m. after being contacted by employees about how to turn off what they at first believed was a false alarm. Ball checked the kitchen door when he arrived, finding it too hot to open.

Cambridge Springs firefighters were dispatched to the fire at 1:10 a.m. and arrived at the scene within three or four minutes, Glenn said. Smoke could be seen coming out of the eaves and front door as they arrived.

The fire was the worst he has seen in 32 years with the Cambridge Springs fire department, Glenn said.

“Most of the materials in that building are 132 years old. You’re talking dry-tinder wood filled with antiques,” Glenn said. “It was just a nightmare.”

About 20 fire departments from Crawford and Erie counties responded to the scene of the fire, along with the Pennsylvania State Police and the Crawford County Scuba Team.

For more on this story, check later with Photos from the fire were posted to the Tribune’s Facebook page around 3:30 a.m.

Internet Links Showing The Fire’s Magnitude
by Lori Burke
​by Jeremy Ball, Riverside Manager