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Charlton Tavern ready to rise from the ashes

The phoenix is a mythical bird that starts a new life after bursting into flames, rising to its former glory from its own ashes.

It is fitting, then, that a group of local businesses and residents who have their hearts set on helping with the rebuilding of the historic Charlton Tavern have chosen to call their movement Operation Phoenix. The tavern burned down in the early morning hours of Jan. 10, after serving the Town of Charlton for more than 220 years.

Their first major fundraiser will take place on Sunday, March 1, at the Clifton Park Elks Lodge, from noon to 8 p.m. There will be dinner and a host of bands performing at a cost of $30 per person. Tickets are available at Charlton General Store and Katie O'Byrnes in Schenectady. Proceeds will be turned over to Michael Maloney, who owns the tavern and is spearheading efforts to rebuild it.

We feel obligated to help them out, said Operation Phoenix committee member Michael Carr. "I met my wife there, my in-laws there There's a lot of camaraderie and a lot of good folks who made connections there."

Maloney said that work to rebuild the tavern has already made significant progress, and that every effort is going to be made to make the new building as authentic as possible.

"The town almost felt like it was theirs as well," he said of the tavern. "We really need to re-create what was lost, and we're going to use a combination of things. When we open the door and the people who have been coming here as long as they have come in, that's going to be the big test right there."

Michael McGuire, the owner of a nearby farm, has volunteered his barn to supply the new tavern with period oak and hickory, the area woods used to build the tavern. Two fireplaces will be rebuilt, one from stone recovered out of the cellar. Maloney plans to rebuild the tavern's original porch before adding the windows, an addition made by his father. The columns supporting the porch's overhang will be emphasized.

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