(Middle Bass Island) - One of the most iconic buildings on the Lake Erie Islands is open to the public again, 17 summers after a deadly accident.
The former Lonz Winery is open again to the public, not as a bar and restaurant, but as a historic attraction at Ohio's newest state park.
During July 4 weekend in 2000, a balcony at the historic winery collapsed, killing one man and injuring 75 other people. The winery, which was a popular summer spot, closed to the public after that. The state of Ohio purchased the property a year later, but didn't have the money for repairs or renovations until recently.
Until the state can work out arrangements with an operator, there will be no food or drink sold at Lonz Winery. The attraction now will be the building's history, as well as its spectacular views from the shoreline, including nearby South Bass Island.
The winery's iconic tower has been restored, and so has the facade. Wine cellars and the press house have also been restored, but the main building has been converted into an open-air plaza.
(Photo Courtesy Miller Ferries)