For much of its life, the large white building at 248 Main St. in the hamlet of Fort Hunter was a warm and welcoming place. August Becker entertained guests there as proprietor of the Fort Hunter Hotel way back in the 19th century, and his son-in-law Orville Blanche ran the place — also his residence — as a boarding house and a barber shop well into the 20th century. Even now, current owners Jason and Katherine Downing put up a sign that reads “The Downings International House,” and since 2002 have been renting out rooms to foreign students at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.
The Fort Hunter Hotel, shown some time around the turn of the 20th century, is now The Downings International House. “A. Becker,” the name of the owner back then, is still visible on the roof shingles of the building today.
Viola Blanche Murtlow, She was the daughter of Orville Blanche, son-in-law to August Becker, proprietor of the Fort Hunter Hotel. She lived in the house until her death in 1995.
Viola, as a child, with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Orville Blanche. This photograph was taken around 1910.
Jason Downing shows off the many dog miniatures that belonged to Viola Murtlow in the living room of his home in Fort Hunter. Murtlow willed the house to Downing when she died in 1995.
Jason Downing shows off the large kitchen area where he and his wife, Katherine, cook breakfast for the foreign students staying at the house.
Formerly the Fort Hunter Hotel and now The Downings' International House, the structure still looks very much like a hotel.
Kento Suzuki, a student at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, works on his computer in the second-floor common room.
Downing looks at an old record from the 1930s-era jukebox located on the third floor of his home.
Vlaeisla Mashev, left, from Bulgaria, and Hee Wong, from Hong Kong, are both students at Fulton-Montgomery Community College and live at the Downings’ house in Fort Hunter. The building was originally a hotel in the 19th century.
The Downings’ International House on Main Street in Fort Hunter is home to Jason and Katherine Downing as well as a handful of foreign students attending Fulton-Montgomery Community College.