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'A Real Gathering Spot': Suspicious Fire At Eaton's Sugar House

two people visible though a hold in a burned building.
James M. Patterson
Valley News
Vermont State Police Fire Investigator Matt Hill, left, and South Royalton Fire Chief Paul Brock, right, look over the remains of Eaton's Sugar House in Royalton, which firefighters responded to at 10 p.m. Thursday after its front steps were lit on fire.

The White River Valley has lost one of its most popular roadside attractions.

Eaton's Sugar House in Royalton was destroyed by fire Thursday night. No injuries were reported, but Vermont State Police say the blaze was suspicious, and that someone earlier in the evening set fire to the front steps of the building with gasoline.

Royalton selectboard member Tim Driesbach says Eaton's was a well-known tourist attraction and was immensely popular with  locals.

“Ninety percent of the people in there are local people,” Driesbach said. “It is a place where the communities, plural, of all the surrounding towns, go to congregate. Lot of working meetings there, breakfast meetings there, senior citizens. It's a real gathering spot for all around the town and the different communities in the nearby area.”

Dreisbach says Eaton’s also employed many local people at a restaurant and gift store.

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