THAYER -- The Chestnut Inn which was destroyed by fire last week in Thayer has a long history in the downtown Thayer community.
According to former Thayer Alderman Buddy Rogers, the building was first built by the Sloan family in 1886. It was know as Sloan Mercantile and was filled with a variety of items needed by families in the late 1800s.
Rogers said the Hiltons then bought the building, and although he doesn't remember the year, it became Hilton's Grocery. "They dressed chickens in the back of the grocery store," Rogers said.
Wallace and Owens Grocery Store was located in the Chestnut Inn at one time.
It also housed a dime store called Crains. Rogers said there were also apartments at that time upstairs.
"I even had a business there many years ago. It was B and B Supply. We sold auto parts," Rogers said.
Rogers said he worked there at one time also, probably 36 or 37 years ago, when the business was an Otasco store owned by Micky Allen.
The Chestnut Inn was bought by the Ary family and was owned and operated for 25 years by Gerald Ary who died last year. His former wife, now Rosie Case, said when the family first bought the building she operated a deli type restaurant downstairs, a gift shop and sold Hallmark cards.
"There were, I think, six units of apartments upstairs," Case said.
The Chestnut Inn was purchased last year after the death of Ary by James Hunter who lives in California. He was unavailable for comment about if, or when, he would build back the apartment house or replace it with another business.