Historic Rexmere in Stamford vanquished by flames in an hour


The Rexmere Hotel, a Stamford landmark for more than 115 years, was destroyed in less than an hour Tuesday morning when a wind-driven fire leveled the seven-story wood structure. Hundreds of firemen from at least three counties, answering a mutual aid call, were still arriving at the scene shortly after noon when the building had been reduced to a flaming pile of debris.

Fire officials at the scene say the first 911 call came in at approximately 10:45 a.m. Stamford firemen were first at the scene but by the time they arrived the fire was out of control. A brisk wind fanned the flames and within minutes of the fire having been reported, the building was totally involved.

The Rexmere was built by Dr. Steven Churchill, a prominent name in Stamford’s history and opened with much fanfare on July 15, 1898. Stamford, long known as the Queen of the Catskills, once boasted 40 resort hotels, with the Rexmere being as grand as any. At one time the hotel boasted its own golf course, a riding stable, and its own orchestra. The hotel closed in the 1960s and then became known as the Cyr Center after famous educator Dr. Frank Cyr, the father of the modern yellow school bus, brought the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to the former hotel. Because of rising costs, BOCES announced two years ago that it would vacate the building and it was currently listed for sale by the Stamford office of Coldwell Banker/Timberland Properties. Photos by Dick Sanford
SMOKE SIGNALS: This photo, taken from Back River Road, shows how the wind played a major role in boosting the fire's spread.SMOKE SIGNALS: This photo, taken from Back River Road, shows how the wind played a major role in boosting the fire's spread.