By Natalie Simms
Today marks 15 months since a fire gutted the second story of Callier Springs Country Club, a fixture in the Rome and Floyd County community for some 84 years. Founded by the Miller family in 1935 at the corner of Callier Springs Road and Dodd Boulevard, the club building stands in need of repair as cleanup efforts and the fire investigation continues.
“Right now, the cause of the fire is listed as undetermined so our official finding is ‘no determination’,” says Mary Catherine Chewning, Fire Marshal. “We’ve interviewed over a dozen people who had anything to do with the structure and we’ve found nothing to definitely identify a cause.”
Fire crews were called to the scene in the early morning hours of May 5, 2018, where a fire had started in the attic and roof area of the building. Chewning says there was some work being done on the roof of the building the day before the fire but there is no evidence the construction caused the fire.
“The fire originated upstairs in the building on the west wall that faced the mountain,” she says. “As it stands, the cause will remain unknown unless we have new information. We can always reopen the case at any time if any new information comes forward.”
Chewning says the building itself was not insured while the golf course was. The course remains open. A temporary club house building opened in the weeks after the fire.
“The building was not insured and from my understanding, there was no money for the family to fix the building or demolish it,” she says.
Howard Gibson with the Rome-Floyd Building Inspection department says the building is one they have been working on.
“I’ve been out there numerous times and the owners have been cleaning up all that we’ve asked them to work on,” says Gibson. “The structure itself is all concrete. It is solid as rock. The family has done a lot of clean up and are hoping to raise funds soon to fix it up.
“But the building itself is not unsafe the way it stands. I have been all through it, in it and on top of it…its solid. I know it may not look great but they are working on it and it’s not currently on the condemnation list.”
Arthur (Rick) Miller and his two sons, Grant and Brian, are managing partners of the country club. It was started by Rick’s father, Arthur S. Miller, and his brother, Elmo S. Miller. According to the website, the club house was built in 1939 and was later expanded in 1946. Additional acreage was purchased in the 1990s allowing the club to expand its golf facilities and develop other projects.
Repeated attempts to reach the Miller family were unsuccessful last week. Grant Miller did post this statement following the fire last May,
“Our country club has encountered struggles over the years since 1935 and we will continue overcome them. Our membership, Board of Directors, supporters, myself and family have no intention of closing. Plans are in discussion to determine best options to establish a temporary club house. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and again thank you for all the prayers and kind words. 83 years strong and counting.”