Thursday, September 14, 2023

Museum exhibit offers look into history of community

The Old Village Inn stood at the junction of Mill Street and
the railroad tracks where a brutal murder took place in 1981.
Almost every small town in America can claim some skeletons in the closet and Plymouth is no exception, historians agree.

This Plymouth story begins with the Old Village Inn, at left, that stood at the junction of Mill Street and the railroad tracks. A hotel or boarding house stood on this location as early as 1875, according to researchers.

Names changed through the years, including San Francisco House, Commercial House, Hotel Victor, Hotel Anderine, Hotel Nelson, and finally the Old Village Inn. 

Because of its location just east of the train depot, the establishment was frequented by rail workers and later by transients and renters. 

While murder was not entirely unknown at the Old Village Inn, the brutal murder of Stacey Hurrelbrink on Aug. 23, 1981, was the beginning of the end for the hostelry. Hurrelbrink's body was found under brush next to the tracks near the Inn. She had been beaten extensively with a hammer, which was found by a police dive team in Wilcox Lake about two weeks into the investigation into her death.

A resident of the Old Village Inn, Ronald Hartwig, was found guilty of second-degree murder in January 1984 and he was sentenced to 13 to 35 years in prison. 

The Old Village Inn was repeatedly cited with building violations and experienced numerous fires. The owner, Eugene Leblanc, lost the property when it reverted to the Plymouth Community Federal Credit Union in 1983.

In 1985 the building was razed and there is now a warehousing building at the site, historians noted.

This is only one of the historic revelations in the current exhibit, "Hidden Plymouth," at the Plymouth Historical Museum at 155 S. Main St.  Museum hours are 1 - 4 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.