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.
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.