Historic Elba Chamber of Commerce building destroyed by fire

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 11:52 AM CDT
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ELBA, Ala. (WSFA) - An overnight blaze has destroyed the Stinson House in Elba, a historic building that survived floods and a relocation effort over the last century before becoming the home to the city’s chamber of commerce.

The building, located on Putnam Street in the downtown area, caught fire around 11:30 p.m. Monday and despite the best efforts of multiple firefighters, is considered a total loss.

Chamber officials noted their appreciation for the multiple fire and police departments that responded to the blaze including those from Elba, Enterprise, Opp and New Brockton.

“We are sad to see such a prominent historical figure be ruined by a fire but, we are thankful there were no injuries and some material possessions can still be spared,” the Elba Fire Department later noted.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

The Chamber said the Stinson House, built in the last 1800s, was bought by Pauline Stinson from F. M. Rushing in early 1903. It remained in the African American family’s possession for 102 years until it was purchased by the City of Elba in 2002 to become the chamber’s home.

It was originally located on Claxton Street, one block south of the Coffee County Courthouse near the Pea River, and survived historic floods in both 1929 and 1990.

After being acquired by the city, the Stinson House was moved to Putnam Street, out of the path of a new levee that was being built.

“While we are devastated by the loss, we know that we are a growing and thriving community that meets adversity head on,” the Chamber said in a statement Tuesday. “Elba is open for business and the Elba Chamber of Commerce will continue to actively support the needs of our city.”

The Stinson House had just been designated as an Alabama Historic Landmark.

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