MENTONE, Ala. (WHNT) -- The Mentone Springs Hotel has been a staple in the small mountain town of Mentone for more than a century. Over those years its history has intertwined itself into the memories of the small community's residents.
The town of Mentone, Alabama has its roots firmly embedded into the mountain it's set on. Like most small towns, many of its residents' roots run deep. A similarity between those generation stories is the Mentone Springs Hotel.
Sunday residents gathered around the bright yellow caution tape surrounding the rubble that, until Saturday night, was the hotel and White Elephant Antiques. "This is just a disaster. That's the icon of Mentone," one resident says.
"I have a lot of great memories in there," Mayor Rob Hammond says, "I've enjoyed a lot of special events there, a lot of dinners with friends and family."
Mayor Hammond says the hotel has been a major focus in the town for years."When people think of Mentone they think of the Mentone Springs Hotel," he says.
Mayor Hammond says the community is taking the loss hard."It anchored our downtown area, our historic square area here," Mayor Hammond says, "To watch it burn last night and the White Elephant galleries next door, it was a painful experience for a lot of the residents in Mentone to be up here watching that last night."
The hotel had been a popular vacation destination that was a source of revenue for the area, but to the residents the hotel has always been a lot more than merely dollar signs. "This was the landmark for our town," Mayor Hammond says.