Owners hope to save Corner Bar storefront

Fire last week destroyed much of 144-year-old building in Rockford

Rockford, Corner Bar
The burned out remains of the Corner Bar in Rockford. (Aug. 22, 2017)


ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — The future of a historic Rockford bar that went up in flames last week may be more clear in the coming days.

The owners of Corner Bar, a married couple who took over 17 years ago, have vowed to rebuild, with a large focus on preserving the front of the historic building.

On Tuesday, eight days after the blaze, the charred remains of the Corner Bar were still fenced off.

Rockford, Corner Bar
A sign outside the fire-damaged Corner Bar in Rockford reads “We will rise.” (Aug. 22, 2017)

“It’s surreal. I don’t even know what else to say. Never in your wildest dreams do you think you’d look at it like that. So it’s sad. It’s really sad,” the Corner Bar co-owner Sarah Wolfe told 24 Hour News 8.

But she said she and her husband don’t have time to dwell on the devastation. They’re still assessing the damage from the fire and don’t yet have an estimate on costs.

They want to bring the bar back and the community is on their side. Signs reading “We will rise” are hung on the fences outside the bar and passersby have added messages of encouragement.

Corner Bar, Rockford
Community members have signed messages of support on banners hung outside the fire-damaged Corner Bar in Rockford. (Aug. 22, 2017)

“We are slowly starting to work through insurance and with engineers to figure out if we’re going to be able to save the front of the structure,” Wolfe said.

The history of the building — which was built in 1873 and became a bar in the 1930s — is evident in the design of the front, which is why they want to save it, Wolfe said. In the next few days, she hopes to have more answers on whether that’s possible.

“As a we begin to rebuild, so it’s familiar to people. It’s what they’ve always known and we want to keep that,” Wolfe said.

The fencing could come down in a few days, Wolfe said. She and her husband hope to reopen the Corner Bar by next summer.