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One of Missouri's older houses, the Inn St. Gemme Beauvais in St. Genevieve, burned last week. Fortunately, the damage, although extremely severe, did not bring down the masonry.

I took these photographs on Saturday, two days after the fire. It was sad to see. I had stayed in this inn some years back, and it was richly furnished with fine antiques. All were lost.

Looking in at the side of the building, I could see sky through the charred roofing.

The fire fighters' hoses had left icicles hanging from the ironwork.They would have looked a lot more attractive against an unspoiled background.

I looked into a window – was this the room where we stayed all those years ago? I couldn't remember.

I stopped by the St. Genevieve Winery later. The woman who sold me my wine did not know how the fire had started, but the old wood within burned quickly.

The inn records were lost in the flames; as I stood by the building taking photographs, a couple drove up. They had a booking for that evening. No one had been able to inform them directly of the fire. They sat in their SUV looking forlornly at the building for a few minutes before making some hopeful cellphone calls for alternative accommodation. I hope they were successful.

The owners, I was told, plan to repair and rebuild. That was good to hear. As bad as it was, it could have been worse. No one was hurt.

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