December 12, 1968.
The Wren Hotel was destroyed by fire on December 10, 1968. The flames could be seen for miles as county residents rushed to the scene to help extinguish the blazing inferno.
Sheriff Dan Sommers aided by local business men Phillip Andrews and Harry Bidwell risked their lives in the smoke-filled hallways to insure that all residents made their way to safety.
Rupert Tosh was assisted on the pumper truck by Elroy Harris and Lon Chambers. They ran hoses to the spring to provide a constant source of water to fight the raging flames. The fire was fueled by flammable cleaning supplies and cooking oils stored in the kitchen area of the hotel.
The Young brothers labored through the night spraying water on the bank and adjoining structures from the shooting flames.Volunteers ferried furnishings from the lobby and dining room to the park and working diligently to salvage as much as possible from the disaster.
Coffee and sandwiches for the firefighters was provided by Robert Wilson who recently purchased the late Cal Osborne's diner. He opened the half-restored building to the public for a community breakfast. His generosity was appreciated by the exhausted citizens.
The ruins were still smoldering at press time and the occasional explosion of aerosol cans of cleaning fluids sounding like gunfire could be heard. The State Fire Marshall said the site was too hot to begin their detailed work of establishing the cause of the blaze. He hazarded a guess, for this reporter, that the fire may have started near the rear of structure. He stressed that it will take several weeks for his staff to study the remains of the hotel.
The Wren was constructed in the late 19th century through the joint efforts of James S. Curtis and Burel Laurance to provide accommodations for the business men who came to Clydesville when timber and coal production was our major economic resource. The venerable structure had graced the square of Clydesville for over 90 years.
The Wren also provided excursion buggies to visitors who came to drink the waters of Chalybeate Springs and Hamby's Well to the caves along the river before they were flooded by the lake.