Hotel Fauchere to open in December

By TOM KANE

MILFORD, PA — Built in 1880, the Hotel Fauchere on Broad Street faced the mean destiny of demolition.

Then Sean Strub and Dick Snyder decided to save the grand old building, which has a history as renowned as Milford. The partners have taken the last three years to secure permits and financing and began reconstruction in 2003. Their plan to re-open the hotel and restaurant should come to fruition this December.

“The structure was very sound but little of the original architecture could be preserved,” Strub said. “It took a large number of dumpsters to cart away all the debris.”

The original staircase, with its four-sided open banister, has been preserved as has the marble flooring in the entry hall. To save the central staircase, the partners had to seek a variance and install a special smoke evacuation exhaust system of fans and ducts. Strub said it was integral to the restoration process that the dominating architectural feature be preserved in keeping with the grand-style hotel.

“Why did we do it? I guess because this beautiful building with its rare history was worthy of being kept alive and restored,” Strub said.

“We want this to be a boutique hotel that’s a culinary destination restaurant,” he said. Plans include an additional basement bar and lounge-type restaurant, with a modestly priced menu. “The main restaurant won’t have New York prices but it will be somewhat expensive,” he said.

The project, the first investment property of Strub and Snyder’s new company, Community Building Projects, includes the renovation of two adjacent buildings. One will be developed to house special events, corporate meetings and weddings, and the other will be used for staff housing. In all, the hotel will have 15 guests rooms.

Plans will include an enclosed garden in the rear of the hotel property that can hold events as well.

“We’re also installing a tunnel between the hotel and the next door building so that guests won’t see the service workers or the functions they serve, like deliveries and removing of garbage,” Strub said.

A history of the building

Louis Fauchere, a French-speaking Swiss, married a French woman from Milford, and the couple decided to settle there in 1852. Fauchere eventually built the facility as a summer retreat for New York City society, and the restaurant soon became famous.

“Right from the start, Louis called the restaurant ‘famous’ so the idea caught on,” Strub said. “He was a renowned chef at Delmonico’s, which was reputedly the first restaurant in America that was not connected to a hotel.

“Fauchere claimed that he invented Lobster Newburg, which is doubtful,” Strub said. Even so, the hotel catered to the educated and the famous. He said the Rockefellers, Franz Liszt, Henry Ford, Pearl White, Ogden Nash, Sarah Bernhart and three presidents stayed at the hotel. “We have the old hotel records that are now stored at the Pike County Historical Society that have these names in the register.” The historical society also houses many old photos of the hotel and its guests.

In 1977, the Fauchere family sold the hotel and it became an office building for dentists and doctors. After a while the doctors relocated, and the building remained closed for a number of years.

Strub has owned and sold several restaurants, but this is his first venture with a hotel. A publisher of several national magazines, Strub and Snyder own Milford Magazine.

The cost of purchase and reconstruction is estimated between $5 and $10 million, he said. “It’s going to cost a lot more than we first intended,” he said.

All the structural work is done and only the finishing work remains. “We’re going to move fast now and open at the end of the year,” he said.

TRR photo by Tom Kane
Sean Strub, a local entrepreneur, aims to reopen the Hotel Fauchere in Milford, PA. (Click for larger version)