Old Shelby Hotel catches fire, deemed total loss

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

SHELBY – A historic hotel that was first constructed in 1885 has been completely destroyed after a fire was reported the night of Sunday, May 26.

The hotel has a long and proud history in Shelby County, that includes being the first hotel in the state to have running water and electricity located at the intersection of Shelby County 42 and Shelby County 308.

The Shelby Volunteer Fire Department was among one of the department’s that responded to the fire on May 26, and deemed the structure a total loss according to a Facebook post following the blaze. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

“As most of you are aware the old Shelby hotel caught fire tonight,” the post read. Unfortunately, the structure was a total loss. A big thanks to all the surrounding departments for their assistance tonight. Furthermore, please be advised that it will continue to smolder and flames may be visible for days to come. If you think there is a threat to any other structures or risk of the fire spreading at any time please do not hesitate to call 911.”

The hotel has experienced several other fires in its past, including one in late January of 1900 and catching fire again in February of 1912.

Although flames are no longer visible at the site of the fire, the Shelby Volunteer Fire Department urges everyone to stay clear of the area near the hotel.

“We ask that everyone please stay out of the hotel,” a Facebook post read. “The structure is very unsafe and will continue to burn. The chimneys are going to fall at some point and nobody needs to be around them. The County has taped it off to keep people out and they will continue to patrol it. Everyone please help us out on this, we do not need any wrecks or people getting hurt here due to on looking.”

For more history on the Old Shelby Hotel, former director of the Shelby Conunty Museum & Archives Bobby Joe Seales has more information at Algenweb.org/shelby/shelbyhotel.html?fbclid=IwAR3nnn42cL3Uwv7X965JYELKlS__ii5ApzVeKcT1-c5ofrHD_ZQhCHokTr8.