ROCKFORD, MI - Reconstruction work on downtown Rockford's Corner Bar began in earnest this spring with an eye towards re-opening this summer.
The bar, famous for its chili dogs and its "World Famous Hot Dog Hall of Fame," was all but destroyed by a fire on the morning of Aug. 14, 2017. The two-story structure, built in 1873, was Rockford's oldest brick building.
"Unfortunately, almost the entire building was destroyed. We were lucky enough to be able to salvage a few components, including the front facade," said bar owner Jeff Wolfe.
"It would have been easier to demolish the entire building and start new, but it was important to us to do everything we could to preserve the old walls," Wolfe said. "We want the community to have something to remember their old memories and time spent at the Corner growing up."
The "World Famous Hot Dog Hall of Fame" also will be re-created with the original names from decades of tradition. The exterior will almost be completely re-built.
The new building will be rebuilt with steel and block construction, according to Orion. The work flow between the kitchen and dining room will be improved and the interior will be upgraded. A second-floor event space and outdoor patio also will be added.
"The beauty of the Corner is in our patrons and the times they've shared here with family and friends," said co-owner Sarah Wolfe. "Unfortunately, we realize that we are not going to be able to completely recreate the look and feel of a 100-year-old building, but it is not really about the bricks and walls.
"The heart and soul of the Corner is the community and we are excited for the future. We look forward to making new memories and are ready to begin the next chapter of the Corner Bar story."