Nevele Hotel, Abandoned Resort Once Proposed as Casino, Damaged in Blaze

Posted on: March 27, 2024, 08:28h. 

Last updated on: March 27, 2024, 11:20h.

New York State’s Nevele Grand Hotel, a former thriving resort that’s now shuttered and plagued by decay, was the scene of a recent fire.

Fire at the Nevele Grand Hotel
A fire at the Nevele Grand Hotel, pictured above. The cause of the recent blaze is under investigation. (Image: News 12)

On March 19, the Winter Lodge building at the Nevele caught ablaze. Local officials continue to seek the cause of the fire.

Thanks to firefighters, flames didn’t spread to the main high-rise building on the 463-acre property in Wawarsing, New York. But the Winter Lodge was destroyed.

The whole building was fully involved,” Everett Erichsen, director of Ulster County Emergency Services, told News 12 . “It’s unfortunate. We are going to be investigating.”

The Nevele opened in 1901 and closed in 2009. In its heyday, the Nevele had 430 rooms, two golf courses, an ice-skating rink, swimming pools, and boasted some of the biggest names in show business as headliners.

Casino Proposal

After it closed, the Nevele was pitched as a gaming property with Las Vegas-style gambling. But nearby Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, New York, was granted the coveted license by state officials in 2014.

Recently, developers have proposed the Nevele be turned into a sports complex or once again become a hotel, according to the Middletown Times Herald-Record. So far, the various proposals have failed to move forward.

Last October, the Nevele was sold for $5 million to an entity called 1100 Arrow LLC. The Nevele remains vacant, generating many memories of a bygone era.

“The Nevele, it really has a special part in everyone’s heart,” Barbara Hoff, a local resident, told the JTA, a Jewish news agency. “Everyone worked everywhere, but the Nevele really was the largest. It was the hotel. The one with the TV commercials.”

Multiple Fires

The Nevele fire follows other blazes at nearby abandoned hotels in the Catskill Mountain region over the past two years. They were each investigated by fire officials.

In August 2022, a large building burned at the Grossinger’s Catskills Resort Hotel. Legend has it the hotel was the inspiration for the Dirty Dancing movie.

Last June, it took firefighters six hours to extinguish a blaze at the Pines Resort Hotel. The following month, the Homowack Lodge caught fire twice in the same week.

Many of these vacant properties have been plagued by trespassers. No evidence has indicated that trespassers caused the fires, however.

Likewise, no evidence has been presented that any of these fires were purposely set, though posts on social media sites theorize they could have been cases of arson in an attempt to collect insurance money.

Recently, Ellenville Fire District Chief George Budd called the conspiracy theories “slanderous remarks,” according to the New York Jewish Week.

He confirmed that the hotels in the region were once popular with their mostly Jewish guests, giving the region the nickname of the “Borscht Belt,” a reference to the food many Jewish guests ate while staying at the hotels.

The Jewish community should not be bashed over these Borscht Belt fires,” Budd added.

Some posts have nefariously claimed that Jewish property owners purposely set fire to empty buildings, calling it “Jewish lightning.”

“That term, ‘Jewish lightning,’ it’s a horrible term and I’ve seen Borscht Belters throw it out there in the past few days on Facebook groups and it bothers me so much,” Marisa Scheinfeld, a photographer who has lived in the region, was quoted by the JTA.