The red and white building stood on the corner of Main Street and Conrad Avenue in Gull Lake for 109 years. Over that time the paint had faded and the sign proclaiming “Clarendon Hotel” was worse for wear, but it was an institution in the town.
On Monday morning, the sun rose on a pile of charred black rubble at that corner – the remains of the burned down hotel.
It started on fire Sunday morning and Gull Lake’s fire department, along with two from neighbouring communities, spent the day fighting the blaze.
“The building is pretty much reduced to rubble … not much left, certainly not what it once was,” said Blake Campbell, mayor of Gull Lake.
He was at the scene for much of the day, answering questions and taking photos to post on the town’s Twitter account.
He said the loss of the hotel is a blow to the community. It was one of the oldest buildings in town and Campbell had been part of the push to get it recognized.
“We had hoped that we were going to be able to get the building declared a heritage property, but I mean, it’s been a landmark in our community since 1907.”
According to Campbell the community had close ties to the building.
“That building, as a local bar and everything, has had a place in the community with everyone at one time or another … My wife was talking to a lady who, I believe, she said her husband proposed to her there.”
The hotel hadn’t actually operated as a hotel for a while. Campbell said the owner lived in the rooms above the bar and has also lost his home in this fire.
Campbell tried to find the silver lining of the tragedy, he said he was impressed with how the community came together. Shortly after the fire started Campbell said the theatre across the street had been opened to the first responders, the grocery store brought water for them, and a local restaurant brought sandwiches as well.