Historic hotel destroyed by storm

Historic hotel destroyed by storm

The old Maribel Caves Hotel building crumbled under the high winds
MARIBEL, Wis. (WFRV) - Peter Rotter and his daughters stopped by Thursday for one last look at the old Maribel Caves Hotel.

"As a kid I remember coming out here," Rotter recalled. "Then a few years ago, I was out here with my family and took some pictures in front of it and talked about the Maribel Hotel ghosts and that type of thing."

It seems Wednesday's storms have written the final chapter of the historic building with a storied past. Built in 1900 by two Austrian brothers, and named after the nearby Maribel Limestone Caves, it was once a lap of luxury.

"The mineral waters were actually pumped up to the hotel from the springs and they could actually drink the mineral waters," said Philip Groll, with the Manitowoc County Historical Society.

Groll said the hotel changed hands many times since its heyday. In the 1970's and 80's it was a popular tavern, until a fire gutted the inside. It's sat vacant ever since.

"Slowly but surely the roof would cave in or something like that," explained Groll. "Then the floors were taken out and all that was left was that shell."

According to the National Weather Service, wind speeds in Maribel reached more than 100 mph. Meteorologists toured the damage Thursday.

"What we're looking at is how extensive the damage is, and in particular, how strong the winds were in the hardest hit areas to come up with an evaluation of how strong the storm really was," said meteorologist Jeff Last, with the NWS.

For those who knew it as more than just an old building, now is a time to reflect on the past.

"It wasn't brick and mortar or wood and nails," said Groll. "It was something very different."

"An era is over," added Rotter.

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