Living Democracy

Fire destroys historic home of Elba Chamber of Commerce

Fire destroyed the Elba Chamber of Commerce building, a city of Elba owned and Alabama Historic Landmark property on Putnam Street in downtown Elba, late Monday night, July 12.

The fire was reported 11:36 p.m. Monday by three young men reportedly leaving Mike’s Gym at the time of the blaze who immediately called 911 to make the report. Elba firefighters rushed over to begin their inside attack on the blaze while units from Enterprise, New Brockton and Opp were on their way to assist.

“While we are devasted by the loss, we know we are a growing and thriving community that meets adversity head on,” said Sandy Bynum Williams, Elba Chamber of Commerce director.

 “Elba is open for business, and the Elba Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Elba will continue to actively support the needs of our city,” Williams added.

Williams explained that the Chamber is thankful for the efforts and quick response by the Elba Fire Department, the Elba Police Department, as well as the other responding fire units from Enterprise, Opp and New Brockton. Additionally, she extended her heartfelt gratitude to the young men for reporting the fire so officials could get on scene as quickly as possible.

Williams stated that the home, which was recently named as an Alabama Historic Landmark, was built in the late 1800’s. It survived the 1929, 1990 and 1998 Elba floods.

The city of Elba acquired the Chamber building from Juliette Carolyn Stinson Brown on Feb. 20, 2002, and the house was moved east on Putnam Street to be used by the Elba Chamber of Commerce as its office.

This historic house originally was purchased by Pauline Stinson from F.M. Rushing on March 29, 1903. The Stinson family owned the home for 102 years. It was located on Claxton Avenue, one block south of the Coffee County Courthouse, prior to being moved to its current location in 2002.

The home had to be moved after being purchased by the city to the current location due to being in the path of the new levee being built around the city.

The fire was finally extinguished in the early hours on Tuesday, July 13, approximately three hours after the report was made. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. However, it did appear the fire began in the back of the building where the breaker box is located.

By Oquendo Bernard
Last Updated: July 20, 2021