Colorful History, Ghosts, and New Life for Owego Parkview
5/22/2012 (Updated 5/23/2012 9:19:59 AM)(Source: Jason Weinstein)
When Beth Johnson bought Owego's Parkview Hotel and restaurant she knew the 145-year-old building had a colorful history.
"There was some kind of fun house with a bunch of ladies in it a couple of houses down so the cowboys used to come back pretty drunk," said Johnson.
It also had it's colorful characters, including Vic Hooker who lived there 20 years. He won 45 million dollars in the lottery and still didn't move from the Parkview until three days before his death. In fact, some would say he - and others - never left.
"We have a waitress who sees a lady in a ballroom gown in the dining room. She's been working here six years before we owned it. Then we have Jim Dennis who lives upstairs who says he sees Vic in his white T-shirt. I've seen things moved around upstairs even though nobody's been up there. But, who knows?" said Johnson.
If not supernatural, it took an almost other-worldly leap of faith for Johnson and her husband to buy the Parkview. September's flood destroyed the inside of the building one week before Johnson was supposed to close on the sale.
"What we did is call the bank and see if they'd still back us up. Our vision for the building wasn't deterred. We were going to redecorate it and in some ways this kind of gave us a clean slate," said Johnson.
Johnson opened the bar just before the new year and the restaurant just before St. Patrick's Day. She hopes to fully restore the 23 hotel rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors within five years.
"Someday it will be somebody else's but for now we'll keep it under our wing and breathe new life into it," said Johnson.
****In Owego, Jason Weinstein, FOX 40 news****
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