"Easy to find but hard to leave."
Ipswich fire and ambulance crew member Michael Hammrich might have captured the essence and popularity of Craven Corner with that statement better than anyone.
Hammrich was one of the crew members on the scene Wednesday as the iconic restaurant and bar burned to the ground.
Craven Corner was a nondescript building just off Highway 12, about five miles east of Ipswich. Many residents might say their cars knew the way to the bar; for outsiders, the red cocktail glass sign was about all the signpost you'd get.
Craven Corner opened May 1, 1950, and made it just more than 61 years.
That's a mighty long time.
Over the years, Craven Corner played host to many fine musical acts, including Kitty Wells, Stonewall Jackson, Johnny Paycheck, Tammy Wynette, and the Tijuana Brass. In addition, local musicians counted Craven Corner as a regular stop, and the venue hosted many dances and celebrations over the years.
But just as important as the food, friends, music and good times is the sense of place Craven Corner represented.
It was named after Craven, S.D., and, no, you won't find that on a map anymore, either. A search for "Craven, S.D." on Google Maps pinpoints the intersection of highways 12 and 45 — Craven Corner.
That lone building was a brick-and-mortar memory of a place that no longer exists. And without the brick-and-mortar, will people remember Craven at all?
In this region, where people talk about distance in acres and strong communities can spring up in the middle of nowhere, those local landmarks take on added significance. There just isn't as much opportunity for a building to last that long and still hold onto that much history.
The cause of the fire at this point is unknown, and the investigation continues.
Owner Flint Jeschke, a Roscoe native now living in Hot Springs, told us last week that he hopes to rebuild.
We hope that whatever happens at the corner of highways 12 and 45, the good times of a place called Craven remain in our memories.