On Thursday, the citizens of Elkin will come together once again for a fundraising event benefiting the historical appeal of downtown Elkin.
The event, known as the Rock the Façade fundraiser, will benefit the preservation of the former storefront located at 115 W. Main St., known as the Greenwood Building. According to event organizer and Main Street Advisory Board chairperson Jennifer White, the event will feature live music, food, wine, beer and an overall great time.
On the menu is food courtesy of Harry’s Place, which will feature their crowd-pleasing pulled pork barbecue sandwich. Skull Camp Brewery and Elkin Creek Winery will be on hand to provide beverages.
Face the Music, a local band from North Wilkesboro, will perform during the fundraiser. The band will delight crowds with songs from the ’70s and ’80s rock in the styling of artists such as Van Morrison, James Taylor and the Marshall Tucker Band.
The event will take place at Skull Camp Brewery, located at 2000 N. Bridge St. Admission is $25 per person, including dinner and two drink tickets. Kids 12 and younger are admitted free.
All proceeds will go to benefit the preservation of the rock façade.
According to White, the project was the product of concerned citizens as well as members of the MSAB. “We’ve been having an ongoing conversation about what can be done with the façade,” said White, who has been a key speaker on behalf of the structures preservation. “We’re starting to get info slowly as to cost and options, and recommendations on what to do to stabilize. Our number one goal is to get the funds to at least stabilize and preserve the façade and then go from there.”
While the granite structure has been a topic of conversation for several months, including its near demolition on April 6, local citizens have stepped up to voice their opinion on the matter. “When the vote came down, I knew I had to act,” said White, who became the unintentional leader of the “save the façade” movement.
White, along with other members of the MSAB, have all played instrumental roles in organizing the fundraiser and rallying the local community. “We’re doing what we can. We have a very energetic group. We’re all very different but just as much involved.”
The importance of the façade for the local community also has been a topic of debate. While some thought the building to be an eye sore and of no historical value, concerned citizens reached out to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources for clarification on the issue. In an email received from the NCDCR, an explanation for the decision to consider it a contributing building for tax credit project purposes was offered from National Preservation Society Chief Appeals Officer Blaine Cliver.
“After thoroughly considering the documentation, I find that the former Greenwood Building’s principal physical features that add to an understanding of the significant character of the Elkin Downtown Historic District remain despite the removal of the interior following years of deterioration. As the historic business core of the community, the district was listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in the areas of architecture and commerce. … Centered in a row of brick commercial buildings along West Main Street, the granite-faced Greenwood Building both stands out and preserves the unbroken continuity of historic buildings along the district’s most intact block.”
National Register Coordinator Ann Swallow continued to include in the email that Bartos wanted to emphasize the support of her and their office in the preservation of the façade, as well as encouraging the town to preserve and incorporate it into the future use of the property.
The façade has been a piece of the historic downtown scenery for more than 100 years. According to the National Register of Historic Places in North Carolina, the earliest recorded use of the building was in 1915 as a furniture store. The recognizable granite exterior was not added until a few years later, creating a unique look among the other brick buildings.
In 1997, poor maintenance led to the collapse of the roof, which resulted in the demolition of the building, leaving only the storefront. Since that time, many projects have been proposed for the space yet little has been done in the way of progress.
The citizens of Elkin hope to change the buildings recent history and bring new life to a row that represents key components of Elkin’s characteristic.
Karen Holbrook may be reached at 336-258-4059 or on Twitter @KarenHolbrook00.