There is a large vacant lot on the corner of Yadkin Court and Pine St. Probably most of us, especially newcomers, don’t even think about it when we pass by. Until 1986 it was occupied by the last prominent commercial property on Pine St, known as the Commercial Block.
Tallassee Power Company had begun construction of the building in 1916. It was completed the following year. A two story brick structure, built in an “L” shape, faced Pine St and Yadkin Ct. The first floor contained 8 storefronts. Upstairs contained 7 rooms , used by the Company until 1937, and 3 apartments that faced Pine St. All the spaces were quickly rented. Over time the building had become empty and its upkeep outweighed its value to ALCOA.
In 1984 an effort was made to save it by citizens. Possible uses were proposed: a Senior Center, Historical Center and/or Information Center. They believed the most significant repair would be a new roof. Unfortunately, they failed to gain community support and grant money.
The Commercial Building named by the Historic Registry as a significant building exemplifying Badin’s history, industrial and commercial, came down on September 8 1986. The newspaper article said the crowd watched as “ an oversized back-hoe clawed away at our history”.
For most it is hard to visualize what Badin had been. A bustling community where you could get everything you needed. Population peeked at 6000, most working for the “best employer” in the area, living in modern houses with access to good schools and health care,
Badin, a reporter said at the time , was now a town of “widows and memories”. Perhaps so. The memory of that day of the Commercial Building falling into rubble reminded many of the days in 1959 when the Theater/Opera House was also taken down with a wrecking ball. If you weren’t one of the earliest residents in Badin, it is definitely hard to visualize what a vibrant town it once was.
The Badin Historical Museum is now the owner of that lot. It is our hope that one day it will be the site of the Hardaway Museum, housing artifacts of North Carolina’s earliest inhabitants and introducing people to how archaeology is done.