The Chesuncook Lake House, a historic inn 50 miles north of Moosehead Lake, was destroyed by fire early Saturday.

The remote inn, built in 1864 in Chesuncook Village, originally supplied logging operations in northern Maine. Accessible only by snowmobile in the winter, it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The owners, David and Louisa Surprenant, said in a Facebook post Saturday they are trying to make sense of the conflagration.

“We have suffered a tragedy overnight and the lake house had been claimed by fire. All of the family and employees escaped without harm,” they wrote. “Please refrain from riding up while we deal with this loss. The trail is the only way in and out for our equipment and family and we don’t want any other accidents on the trail.”

The Greenville Fire Department responded to the fire. Assistant Fire Chief Eric Nelson said he did not know where it started or what caused it.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating. Scott Richardson, a fire marshal investigator, said it would be several days before they will have any information about how the fire started.


Nelson said the inn was destroyed before firefighters were able to get to the scene. He said the fire started about 1:30 a.m. but it took the owners, whose cellphone service was cut off, about two hours to alert the fire department.

Nine firefighters set out on five snowmobiles, several of them loaned out by private citizens, hauling portable pumps and other equipment.

By the time they reached the inn at daybreak, the fire was over.

Nelson said the owners and their adult children were displaced by the fire. There was one guest who was not around when the fire broke out.

The inn was a popular stop-off spot for snowmobilers seeking food and gasoline.

A barn and three cabins on the property were undamaged, Nelson said.


He said the Surprenants planned to stay in the cabins. The couple also own the Abol Bridge Campground in Millinocket.

By midmorning Saturday, more than 250 people had written comments on the inn’s Facebook page.

The inn and several other buildings that make up Chesuncook Village were put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: bquimby

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