Fire Destroys 110-Year-Old Building In Afton

Wednesday, July 1st 2020, 6:31 pm

AFTON, Okla. -

A fire destroyed a more than century-old building in Afton.

Volunteer firefighters from at least 20 agencies worked to put out the flames Tuesday and are still trying to figure out what caused the fire.

The 110-year-old building has served many purposes over the years, and while firefighters said it is a total loss, many hope to save the original neon sign.

The fire started back up Wednesday afternoon, putting a haze in the air along Route 66. Flames destroyed the former Palmer Hotel Tuesday night. Throughout the day, smoke was seeping through this brick wall, built back in 1910.

Rebecca McClintock, the Afton Town Clerk, said her grandmother stayed at the hotel, which later became apartment units, for just $2 a week.

"I hear it was really, really quite the place there, ya know, back in its day,” McClintock said.

McClintock is the daughter of the building's current owner. She said her mom, Dorothy Hinkle, took over the building in the 90s. The bottom floor was once a cafe. Then it became a vintage shop, before the family used it for storage.

"Oh, if these walls could talk, the stories they'd [tell]. Cause you're talking horse and buggy days when this thing was built,” McClintock said.

The family kept the hotel beds on the top level. And while those are now ruined, Twyla King still has her childhood memories.

"We could run up and down the hallways, bounce on the beds. And then for breakfast, we'd wake up go down the stairs and have freshly made donuts from the restaurant,” King said.

The family was able to save quite a bit from the fire, including old dolls, baby carriages, and instruments like a fiddle, guitar and banjo. 

The family is grateful for the more than 100 firefighters, some from Kansas and Missouri, who volunteered their time in the summer heat to knock out the flames.

The Afton Fire Chief said two firefighters and another person went to the hospital for heat exhaustion last night but said everyone is going to be ok.