Changes In Cliffside Are ‘Mark’ Of Progress
By Joe DePriest
Star Staff Writer
November 20, 1976
CLIFFSIDE – Cliffside is just a name for a place.
There is no prominent cliff near the place and the man who did the naming. Raleigh Rutherford Haynes (1851–1917) got it off a pencil tablet, presumably because he liked the sound.
The name may not have any significance but Cliffside is still a “nice place to live,” said Paul Bridges, who has “lived a number of places and I still like it here.”
Cliffside is changing some–one of its oldest buildings is being torn down. That might cause a few shedding of tears by “not many,” Bridges said.
“It’s a mark of progress.”
Cone Mills Corp. is presently tearing the old drugstore (known as the old company store) building down. Cliffside plant manager Bud Willis said “ one reason” for this is that the building is a “safety hazard” and is “subject to vandalism.” He added that “it would require and expensive outlay to keep it up.”
Plans for the Haynes Memorial building and other old buildings all originally built by the Haynes company, are “indefinite now.” Willis said, “We have a definite plan what is going to be done with them.”
One thing that is going to be done is fencing the mill property to include the parking lot where some “vandalism” has occurred. Willis said.
Should the old memorial building come down, Willis said a memorial containing the structure’s clock and memorial plaque would be erected.
The Haynes plants were consolidated with the Cone Mills in 1948.
R. R. Haynes, a Rutherford County native, in 1899 bought several hundred acres of land on the Second Broad River described in a biography by the late Mrs. Grover C. Haynes, Sr. as “a wilderness of briars and undergrowth.” Work began on a mill for manufacturing gingham and in 1902 it was in operation. Meanwhile, Haynes “had the surveys of power made and as the town of Cliffside took shape, many details had to be planned and carried out, such as building houses for the employees, the laying off of streets, digging wells, establishing a store, building warehouse for cotton, etc.” the Haynes biography noted.
Paul Bridges, was born in Cliffside in 1911 and is married to Hazel Haynes, granddaughter of the town’s founder said the building now being demolished housed at one time men’s and women’s clothing stores, hardware, grocery store, meat market and the Haynes bank.
Bridges was with Cone Mills for 28 years, retiring in 1965 as general manager of the Cliffside Division. He is former president of the Haynes Bank and now is vice-president of the Henrietta office of First Citizen Bank and Trust Co.
“I always heard,” Bridges said, that Raleigh Haynes got the name for Cliffside off an old pencil tablet. I don’t know the connection. I figured it must be the name of the tablet.”
Some “used to say there was an old cliff at the dam,” near the mill but Bridges said members of the Haynes family stuck with the tablet story.
Cliffside has never been an incorporated town. There is a Cliffside Sanitary District – roughly within a five-mile radius of the town, Bridges said. He detailed going to the dedication of the old Haynes Memorial building and the various uses it had over the years. There was gymnasium in the basement with athletic equipment. Later it was a skating rink, Bridges said. In other locations in the building were a barbershop, beauty parlor, café, a theatre, a domestic science school for girls upstairs and a banquet room, and a kitchen providing space for all kinds of get-togethers. Also there were rooms for transients. A stuffed eagle was always a part of the lobby, Bridges said. “I can remember as a child when the eagle was killed,” on Lakeview Dairy about a mile from Cliffside. This was in the late teens or early 20s, he said. The eagle had flown in, picked up a young pig and “fixing to fly away” when John Camp “shot it and had it stuffed, ” Bridges said.
A lot to the old mill houses have been torn down, Bridges said and the village as a whole has changed. And it won’t be the same again. However, Cliffside, in addition to the mill, has a clinic, a pharmacy, post office. Methodist and Baptists churches and First Citizens is hoping to have a new bank open in April, Bridges said.
Clipping provided by Phillip White. Reprinted with permission from The Shelby Daily Star. Copyright owned by The Shelby Star.