A 1792 historic home and former gun club burned down along the North East River. Photo: Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal

Historic Gun Club-Turned-Mansion Destroyed in Fire Along North East River

A landmark property on the upper Bay’s North East River is nothing but a skeleton after a large fire last week. The 1792 building was the home of a local restaurant owner, who was thankfully not home at the time. But the homeowner’s pets’ live were tragically lost.

The fire was discovered by a neighbor around 2:40 p.m. on June 24. The Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal says it started on the outside of the house, on the right side in the area of the HVAC units. The Charlestown Fire Company responded with the help of Susquehanna Hose Company supplying extra water to the scene from the Charlestown Boat Ramp.

All together, 70 firefighters battled the flames. Charlestown Fire Company’s Mike Walsh tells Chesapeake Bay Magazine that high winds made the situation especially challenging. “It blew [fire] over to the house beside it and caught the town flagpole on fire and melted the flag.”

Fire extended to the pier next door and Charlestown Fire Company tried to get a fire boat close enough to save it, but the water was too shallow. Fortunately there were no injuries.

This real estate listing photo shows the home intact before the fire.

The historic property consumed by fire was once the Eagle Point Rod and Gun Club, located at 125 Conestoga Street in Charlestown. When it was renovated and expanded in 2000, the owners at the time used period details and salvaged artifacts, including a 26-foot-long ship’s mast as the great room’s central post. According to a real estate listing, the home boasted views from the North East River all the way to Betterton Beach on the Eastern Shore.

The 1792 home did not have sprinklers. The fire marshal estimates the loss of the structure and its contents at $2 million, plus another $500,000 in damage to surrounding structures and other nearby houses.

Its current owner is Larry Metz, owner of fine-dining restaurant The Wellwood and casual crab shack The River Shack, which also sit along the river only a couple of blocks from the fire. In a Facebook post, the restaurant owners said, “This home was not just a residence, but a cherished piece of history, filled with irreplaceable memories and artifacts. Losing it has been incredibly painful, compounded by the tragtic loss of our beloved cats.” The family plans to rebuild.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but the fire marshal’s office says high winds were to blame for the fire spreading so rapidly. Deputy State Fire Marshals determined the fire’s origin near the HVAC units with the help of their K9 officer Blondie. They will focus on “various accidental causes” in the investigation.