Photo of The Month – Feb 2006
Picture contributor: Anonymous
We found no documentation or description with this photo, but there’s no doubt what it is: construction of the R. R. Haynes Memorial Building. The date was probably sometime during the warm months of 1920. (The building was finished in early 1922 at a total cost of $100,000, and was dedicated on June 24.)
The store building, built 10 years earlier, stands at left. The ramp-like construction on the right will become the sloping floor of the movie theater. The group of workers stands in what will be Cliffside’s library; the bare space in the center will be the Memorial Building lobby. The photographer—probably Will Hames—must have been standing on the porch of the boarding house across the street.
Until we came across some old blueprints, we had no idea who designed this landmark. The architectural firm of Sullivan and Baity—city unknown—designed and supervised the construction. Several contractors were involved in the project, including Southern Engineering, of Charlotte, and Virginia Bridge & Iron Co., of Roanoke. At least we know they submitted blueprints, one of which was dated August 20, 1919. Here’s a fragment of one of them:
Is it odd that we’re nostalgic and saddened over a building that was torn down and carted away over 35 years ago? Is it naive to think that someone, somehow, could have saved this precious landmark for future generations to enjoy? If it still existed what could it be today? A museum, a cultural center, a library? The outrage comes when you think of all the millions that have been wasted on far less worthy projects.