Fire Destroys 184-Year-Old Landmark General Store in Kentucky

February 16, 2016

A fire has destroyed a northern Kentucky landmark – the 184-year-old Rabbit Hash General Store in Boone County.

Media outlets report the fire was reported at 9:15 p.m. Saturday. No one was injured.

Bellevue-McVille Fire Chief Jeff Herms said the cause of the fire wasn’t immediately determined, although arson has been ruled out.

Owned by the Rabbit Hash Historical Society, the store was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and had been in operation since 1831.

“We call it the center of the universe,” said Historical Society board member Bobbi Kayser, “And that’s because when you’re here, you actually feel like you’re in the center of the universe.”

Historical Society President Donnie Clare vowed that the store will be rebuilt.

An online campaign for the rebuilding effort had raised nearly $24,000 as of Sunday evening.

“I’ve heard the word devastating all my life,” Clare said. “But I’ve never really realized what devastating was until I saw this. This is part of my heart, it is a part of all of our hearts.”

The society is a volunteer group that receives money through donations. Kayser said most of its money was depleted when a landslide damaged another building on the property last July.

Firefighters on Saturday were able to pull some larger pieces of merchandise from the store, whose roof collapsed.

“We can’t replace the historic boards and the antiques that were in there,” Kayser said. “But what we can replace, I think, is the spirit with the store. We’re going to need a lot of help to do that.”

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