Semitrailer inflicts major damage on closed Florida landmark

Desert inn truck
Lisa Mason, who ran the inn before its closure, said she had hoped to reopen the inn next year.

A semitrailer plowed into a historic inn south of Orlando early Sunday, causing major damage but no apparent injuries.

Photos show that the truck ran through the wall of the Desert Inn and a portion of the building collapsed around it. The inn closed last year and the Florida Highway Patrol says no one was seriously hurt.

Lt. Kim Montes said Mareo Cawley, 50, of Chicago, was hauling orange juice at about 3:15 a.m. when he didn’t realize he had left the road before he smashed into the building. She said the crash remains under investigation.

Lisa Mason, who ran the inn before its closure, said she had hoped to reopen the inn next year.

The inn is the centerpiece of Yeehaw Junction, a tiny respite off Florida’s Turnpike between South Florida and Orlando.

According to a 2013 article in the Orlando Sentinel, the Desert Inn dates to 1889 when it was a barroom and brothel for cowboys and lumberjacks and the look of the place hadn’t evolved much since.

Through the years, the Desert Inn has been a trading post, gas station and dance hall. Until its closure, it served as a motel, restaurant and convenience store.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.


Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


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