In the old days, wooden buildings existed under a constant threat of fire, and Swiss chalets were no exception. While modern materials and techniques have essentially rendered fires a thing of the past, there used to be a time when conflagrations posed a constant threat that often decimated villages with a single blow.
The world-famous resort village of Grindelwald suffered such a fate on August 18, 1892. A fire swept through the tiny Swiss village and destroyed an estimated 50 buildings, nearly half the town at that time.
An article published by the New York Times on August 19, 1892 described the scene.
The above photo shows one of the buildings that survived the fire. Note the metal roof in the upper left hand corner. Metal roofs were a notable advancement in fire prevention and suppression during the 20th century.
Today, this Swiss icon provides a home for weary travelers and maintains the charm of days gone by. With a cozy bierstube, sunny decks and unobstructed views of Switzerland’s most distinctive peaks, it’s our preferred resting place when hiking between Interlaken, Wengen, Meiringen and beyond. Don’t be dissuaded by its age, however. While the old house endures, a sophisticated, three star contemporary addition offers discerning travelers every amenity.