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Loss of South Bend club a blow to long-time patrons

WSBT 22 photo

The South Bend Maennerchor Club is cleaning up after a devastating fire that damaged the 120-year-old building inside and out.

The private membership club is on Sycamore Street near downtown South Bend.

WSBT 22 toured the damage. We weren’t able to see the upstairs because it’s so badly burned, but the downstairs hall is nearly as bad.

The club has been in that location since 1897 and primarily works on giving back to the community.

Those who come for the occasional free beer saw this place as second home.

The downstairs hall was badly damaged because of the water from fighting the upstairs fire. The wood-paneled room has wet ceiling tiles scattered across the floor and water still dripping from the ceiling.

Water came through and ruined the wood, machines and some of the furniture below.

This club, which has about 300 members, is a place people regularly come to hang out and be with friends. That is why regulars are so saddened by this sudden loss.

“It’s a shock to everybody," said Jeff Young, club trustee. "We have some folks who have been coming down here for 50 or 60 years, so it’s a devastating loss to them. It’s like a second home to everybody.”

Club members think it’s a total loss.

“now I think people are just trying to cope cope with what it means to not be able to come down here,” said Young.

Even though the ceiling is missing and the roof is gone, Young says the club is not going to end like this.

“We have absolutely no plans on closing our doors one way or the other. Whatever happens, whether it’s here or somewhere else’s, the Maennechor Club is going to go another hundred years. We’re not going to close our doors”

The club did have insurance and is in the process of cleaning up as we speak.

Young says they will have to gut the building and start over, but the goal is just to get the doors open again as soon as possible.

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