BLANCHESTER — As the remains of a village landmark are cleaned up, Blanchester is looking to the future.
The building in historic downtown Blanchester suffered massive fire damage in March, and the loss to the community has been devastating, according to Mayor John Carman.
“The main thing now is to get the village back to a sense of normalcy,” said Carman. “At the same time … we’re hoping to find something to help fill in that spot.”
Carman told the News Journal there was a possibility of it becoming the new location of Blanchester United Dairy Farmers. But that decision would be up to the building owner.
He also hopes that the loss will eventually lead to growth in the community.
“Sometimes we have fires and then you have growth. Not to say sometimes good things come from bad things, but we’re hopeful that with the pandemic and everything that’s going on in the world today that maybe we’ll get a break,” he said.
Carman told the News Journal he has contacted Blanchester-Marion Township Fire Chief Don Walker about information on the fire. Walker has not confirmed any details, according to Carman. The News Journal has also reached out to Walker.
The fire struck in the early morning hours of March 20.
Blanchester-Marion Township Fire Department Assistant Chief Terry Pell advised they arrived on scene to see “flames through the roof.”
Due to the severity of the fire, additional fire departments were called in, including Wilmington’s.
The building — once know as the Bindley Block — was constructed by John Bindley in 1896 and housed the Merchants and Farmers Bank, according to information provided by the Clinton County History Center, and the second-story housed the 28-room Bindley Hotel.
When the bank closed in 1928, the space housed the A&P grocery store and later Spence’s Pharmacy and Haines’ Town & Country Store.