Hank Dietle's Tavern, Rockville's oldest bar, was destroyed Wednesday morning by a fire that authorities believe was started by "smoking materials" on the front porch.
UPDATE: A few purported crowdfunding campaigns to help rebuild Hank Dietle’s and provide for the people who have lost have been started online; the official one, however, is here. More than $1,800 was raised in the first hour.
WASHINGTON — Rockville, Maryland’s oldest bar was destroyed by fire early Wednesday morning.
Hank’s Montgomery County beer and wine license is No. 001. The Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control confirms Dietle’s holds the county’s first Class D, beer and wine, license and is the county’s first bar.
Customers came in to reminisce about their fathers taking them to Dietle’s to hear a song on the juke box, said bartender Jenette Ford. Some even remember shopping with their grandmothers at the tavern’s home when it was surrounded by farm land.
“I had customers who actually would ride their horses over from River Road, and tie them out in front of the place and have a drink,” said John Hovde, who ran the tavern from 1971 to 1986.
Hovde’s father was a bartender at Dietle’s in the ’60s. After serving overseas in the Marine Corps, Hovde came back and looked for a job. After a few short weeks, he fell into his father’s footsteps when he became Dietle’s head bartender.
Below is a map of where the fire took place.
WTOP’s Megan Cloherty, Kyle Cooper and Anna Isaacs contributed to this report.
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