A fire sparked by old electrical wires destroyed an Eastport tavern Saturday morning, leaving behind a boarded-up shell of what used to be a popular place to play pool and throw darts.
Built before Eastport became part of Annapolis in the 1950s, the bar was once owned by Warren B. Duckett Jr., a former county state's attorney and now a Circuit Court judge, who gave the establishment its current name, The Wharf.
"I hope the person who owns it re-establishes it," Duckett said yesterday. "It holds a lot of rustic community history."
The two-alarm blaze started above a tile ceiling over the bar and eventually spread throughout the building.
No one was injured in the blaze, which occurred about two hours after the tavern closed.
When firefighters arrived on the scene at 2:47 a.m., they found flames shooting through the roof. "The building is old," fire investigator Dan A. Earlysaid. "The wires up there are original."
Early said rafters supporting the roof were badly damaged, causing parts of the ceiling to cave in. The tavern, located on 4th Street and Severn Avenue, is a total loss, he said.
It took 40 firefighters about an hour to bring the fire under control. Early said bad weather may have contributed to the fire. Water leaking onto the wiring may have caused a short, fireofficials said. The Annapolis Fire Department does not estimate damage loss.
Duckett bought the tavern -- then called the Sportsman's Bar -- in the early 1970s from the man who built it in the 1940s, John Hayes. Duckett was then a lawyer and represented District 6 on the County Council. His partner in the purchase was a local doctor, LarryKizmang.
Duckett said he and his partner renovated and expanded the tavern, also opening up a package goods store.
Behind The Wharfwas a little green building that served as a county police substation for Eastport in the 1940s, Duckett said. After Annapolis took over Eastport, the building -- which was not damaged in the fire -- was taken over by gamblers.
"A lot of local people used to play poker there," Duckett said. "They were still doing that when we owned The Wharf."
Duckett sold the bar in 1973 when he was appointed county state's attorney. "I realized a state's attorney should not own an establishment with a liquor license," he said.
Since then, Duckett said, little had changed. People still played pool, shuffleboard and darts. And the judge still remembers the original tile ceiling and hardwood floors.