MENTONE, Ala (WHNT) — Fire can destroy a building – but it cannot take away a dream. And the dream to recreate the legacy of The Hitching Post in Mentone still stands.
“It was kind of a gathering place for the community and when I first bought it that was my vision was to recreate it to what it once was,” said Jerry Clifton, the owner of The Hitching Post.
What was was a century-old landmark is now ash, debris and rubble.
The Mentone Hitching Post was engulfed in flames on February 2, leaving the structure essentially destroyed amidst a major renovation.
Hours before the fire sparked, there were people inside working on those renovations.
“We had friends in there Thursday afternoon working because there was actually going to be folks moving in [and] getting stuff set up,” Clifton said. “The plan was to have stuff up in operation in a couple weeks.”
Days later, the smoke still lingers in the air and many still mourn the loss of the iconic building.
“My main thing is that it was lost for the city,” he added. “I know how much they loved that structure and I’m more hurt for the citizens than really what happened to me as far as owner of the building.”
Fire officials are still investigating how the blaze began.