By his mid thirties, Doug Plummer had given up on acting in Manhattan. In the spare afternoon hours that he had once spent chasing auditions, he now sat on the stoop of an abandoned brick building in the middle of Upstate New York and stared across the street at an abandoned wooden one. “I want to save you, but you have to show me how. You have to help me,” he said, taking a coin out of his pocket and throwing it up onto its second-floor porch.
Plummer and his husband Garth Roberts had first spotted the building in 2000. They were in the car on their way to buy a run-down dairy farm, which they planned to transform into their weekend home, when they stopped to look over the dilapidated structure. As soon as Plummer saw it, to his own surprise, he was enamored. “I really am the idiot that can stand in front of a supermarket shelf with sixteen different kinds of peanut butter and have almost a breakdown because I can’t decide,” Plummer says of himself. But as soon as he saw the American Hotel, he knew he would someday save it.