Firefighters from five departments — Spring Valley, Grand Meadow, Ostrander, Stewartville and Wykoff — battle a fire at Johnny Ringo’s Monday morning at about 7:30 a.m. The fire started before 3 a.m. and flared up again about 1 p.m. when workers were demolishing the newer part of Johnny Ringo’s. The bar was located in two buildings connected inside. The historic building to the left was built in 1871. The entrance to Johnny Ringo’s is in the newer brick building to the right.
Firefighters from five departments — Spring Valley, Grand Meadow, Ostrander, Stewartville and Wykoff — battle a fire at Johnny Ringo’s Monday morning at about 7:30 a.m. The fire started before 3 a.m. and flared up again about 1 p.m. when workers were demolishing the newer part of Johnny Ringo’s. The bar was located in two buildings connected inside. The historic building to the left was built in 1871. The entrance to Johnny Ringo’s is in the newer brick building to the right.
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A fire destroyed Johnny Ringo’s Bar and Grill in downtown Spring Valley Monday.

The bar was located in two connected buildings, one built in 1871 that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The two buildings, which were completely open to each other on the inside, were torn down Monday afternoon to aid firefighters in completely extinguishing the fire.

The Fillmore County sheriff’s communications center received a 911 call at 2:52 a.m. Monday, Oct. 9. Fillmore County sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene within five minutes of the 911 call and reported the building was fully engulfed in flames, according to Chief Deputy Kevin Beck, who is also a Spring Valley firefighter.

A Minnesota state fire marshal along with the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire. Spring Valley Fire Chief Troy Lange said Monday afternoon just before this issue went to press that the investigation was still taking place. The fire marshal was on the scene Monday morning and stayed throughout the day.

In the early morning hours just after the fire was reported, deputies alerted residents in adjoining apartment units above commercial businesses and had them evacuate. The American Red Cross is providing assistance to tenants in those buildings.

Lange said the adjoining buildings — Minnesota Joe’s on one side and the VFW Hall on the other — received smoke damage, but appeared to be OK.

Upon arriving on the scene, the Spring Valley Fire Department, which houses its equipment in a building just behind Johnny Ringo’s, requested mutual aid from the Grand Meadow Fire Department to provide an engine pumper and manpower. After assessing the fire, said Beck, the department also requested mutual aid from the Stewartville Fire Department, which has a large ladder truck. The Wykoff and Ostrander departments were also called in early for additional mutual aid.

The Spring Valley Ambulance Service was also called to the scene to assist, but no injuries were reported.

Construction equipment was brought in later in the morning to tear down the buildings because they had multiple metal roofs on them. Firefighters couldn’t get to flames between the different roofs to completely extinguish the fire, said Lange.

The Spring Valley City Council, which includes two members involved in the blaze — one as a firefighter and the other on duty as a deputy — was scheduled to meet Monday night. City administrator Deb Zimmer said she didn’t know if anything would be done because the fire had occurred so shortly before the meeting.

The bar was located in the same downtown block as a building that was torn down due to neglect that resulted in an unsafe structure.

The Johnny Ringo’s buildings were owned by Matt Kolling, who also owns a building center in Spring Valley. In the spring of 2015, Kolling had historically restored the building, opening up the upstairs windows and uncovering tin ceilings in the 1871 building.

The building was leased by Ray Jacobson, who grew up in Grand Meadow and lives in Stewartville. Jacobson opened Johnny Ringo’s in the fall of 2007.

Prior to Jacobson opening his bar, the building housed the Spring Valley Servicemen’s Club for the local VFW organization. The VFW sold the bar, dance hall and kitchen while keeping the adjacent building on the north as a VFW hall, which still serves that purpose today.

There were no apartments above Johnny Ringo’s. The upstairs of the historic building had a couple small rooms and a large hall area. At the time of the historic renovation, Kolling said had plans to do additional work on the upstairs to utilize that area for the public.

The historic building, originally called Parsons Block and Hall, was built in 1871 for Emilus Parsons, a prosperous local real estate investor, and is significant both for its architecture and for its function as an important commercial, social, and theatrical center for the rural village of Spring Valley, according to the National Register of Historic Places.

It was constructed at a time of great prosperity and expansion in the community, and represented the epitome of commercial development for that period, according to the inventory form of the National Register. Designed in a local commercial version of High Victorian Italianate, it employed expensive local materials and craftsmanship, and was considered the finest structure in the area when completed. The first floor was divided into north and south stores, while the second floor was designed as a large hall and was in constant use for local social, musical, and theatrical productions.

Although many towns in southeastern Minnesota had well-developed commercial centers by the 1870s, few examples of elaborate Victorian commercial design such as the Parson's Block have survived, according to the National Register listing. A majority of the commercial building stock from this period was of simpler wood frame or brick construction, and most of the structures which remain in place have been greatly altered at the street level and often shorn of much of the ornamentation of upper stories.

The elaborate cornice, rusticated stone on the second level, and cut stone and cast iron columns at the street level of the Parson's Block made it an important building at the time it was constructed, as evidenced by its appearance in the 1874 Andreas Atlas of Minnesota, noted the inventory form of the National Register.