Earlier this summer, I received a phone call from a woman who was the great granddaughter of the last proprietor of the Fish House Hotel. She was doing research and was hoping I could help her locate a photo of her great grandfather, Martin Kelly and to learn more about the history of the hotel.
So I set out doing research, using old newspapers, to find out the chain of proprietors. Searching old newspapers can be frustrating. Many times, back 100 years ago, they would report who what having tea with whom, who went to visit relatives. One of my tools that I use is Old Fulton NY Postcards,,,I have learned so much from that website!
I was able to put together a timeline of proprietors, as well as some other information on the hotel, but I still have not found a photo of Martin Kelly. As for why the hotel burned, the reference books I used stated that the hotel burned down in 1920, no other specific information. I turned to looking through old newspapers but my big problem was that I was referring to the hotel at the Fish House Hotel. Apparently when Martin Kelly took it over, it started being referred as Kelly's Hotel. Using that title, the great granddaughter was able to find an article about why the hotel burned down and she sent me a copy.
Below is a photograph of the hotel circa 1906, the year Martin Kelly bought it. He ran the hotel successfully until it burned down in November, 1920. The article,below, is from the Amsterdam NY Evening Recorder, November 19, 1920.
I am delighted to know why and exactly when the hotel burned down. Now if I can only find a photograph of Martin Kelly. Maybe that is the man standing on the porch of the Fish House Hotel in the photograph below. I might never know, but I will keep searching.