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Historic general store in northwest NC destroyed by fire

February 27, 2021 GMT

TODD, N.C. (AP) — A century-old general store in the northwest North Carolina mountains known as a gathering place for local commerce and memories was destroyed by fire, authorities said.

The Todd General Store, established in 1914 and identified in the National Register of Historic Places, burned to the ground Thursday night, Ashe County officials said. No one was injured.

The fire’s cause hasn’t been determined, Ashe County Fire Marshal Jonathan Stansberry told the Watauga Democrat. He said the fire pattern suggests it may have started in the kitchen.

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Originally known as Cook Brothers Mercantile, the building was operated by Walter Cook for decades, according to National Archives records posted online. The property changed hands several times since.

The historic landmark’s newest owners purchased the building in 2019 and reopened the store last summer. Locals are raising money to help the family.

“We’ve lost a huge part of our community. Please keep the owners, their family and the community in your prayers,” RiverGirl Fishing Company, which is near the general store, posted on Facebook along with photos of the fire and destroyed building.