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Goucher Hotel won't open this year

Updated: Thursday, August 21 2014, 06:27 PM EDT
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio – One of the area's top haunted attractions -- the Goucher Hotel in Toronto -- will not be open for the Halloween season.
That information may have been expected by folks in the valley after a fire at the hotel in July, but no one could have anticipated the damage crews would find inside the building after the blaze. The damage was so extensive, the Goucher has a condemned sign on the front door.
Owner Buster Bowman takes pride in the hotel. For 6 years, he's poured his heart and soul into it. Typically the hotel is preparing for scares and fun this time of year. This year, it's all work, as Bowman and his crew try and fix the damage.
“I didn't believe it at first,” Bowman said. “I didn't know what to expect. We put a lot of time and effort into this place, and it just kind of breaks my heart and all of our volunteers who spent time away from family. Any time we weren't at real work, it seemed like we were all down here.”
Bowman said it's hard knowing they had just completed some major upgrades to the facility, only to see them washed away.
“It's a mess,” Bowman said. “We've had a lot of prop damage and water damage and the growth of mold. Things like that are running rampant with the weather and the heat.”
Bowman say's they're moving props and still finding water. And things that were an integral part of the haunt keep finding their way to the dumpster.
“Right now we are just trying to salvage what we can and pick up the pieces -- see what we got left,” Bowman said. “We are planning for next year. We're not done, done. This is just a pothole in the road for right now.”
Bowman says he'd love to open this year, but there's just no way they can have the 120-year-old building ready by September.
“It's a time thing now,” he said. “We don't have the time or the manpower to actually rebuild the haunt and bring it back for this year not in this short a time.”
Bowman said they'll continue to work on the site and hope that piles of paperwork between insurance companies and investigators can move along quickly so they can be open by next year.
In the meantime, he said he is going to take his crew to other haunts, to get ideas how they can come back, bigger and better.

Goucher Hotel won't open this year

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