When Gary and Nancy Hill bought the second oldest building in Superior in October of 1992, the couple purchased not only a business but their home of the last quarter century.
On Saturday, May 11, the historic Hilltop Motel caught fire and kept crews battling the blaze until almost 2 a.m. The Hills’ two-bedroom home, motel office and the only laundromat in Superior burned to a crisp. Superior Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the scene on Saturday, May 11 at around 7 p.m. and after mutual assist units in St. Regis, West End and Frenchtown responded shortly after the initial dispatch. “The motel was fully engulfed and destroyed and the other buildings (nearby) are still sustained,” St. Regis Assistant Fire Chief Kat Kitteridge said. Officials suspect that laundry driers at the Hilltop Motel ignited the fire, but Nancy Hill says they are waiting to hear back from her insurance company for official results. “It was just a neat old house,” Hill said. She says the fire was so difficult to fight because of its construction. “It was a well-built home,” she said. Hill was once told it was built in 1901, but Kay Strombo from the Mineral County Historical Society thinks it was probably constructed sometime between 1907 and 1910. “We have a picture of the building in 1910, we can see that it’s not there when they were building the Milwaukee,” Strombo said. Strombo also found photos of the Milwaukee Railroad from 1907 and says the building was not yet built, meaning it was built sometime in that time period. The Hills moved to a two-bedroom home behind the main house that burned down and remain on the property. “We’re fortunate to have this home behind us,” Hill said. “We’re not homeless and we are still on the property. The property is home.” The Hilltop Motel will likely be demolished, and Hill hopes to go back into business. “We’re undetermined,” Hill said. “As far as I know we’ll go back in business but we’re not sure to what extent.”