THE ROCK FACADE "Make A Wish" Project
Updated: Feb 7, 2022
2018 Best Endangered Properties Rescue Effort
Elkin , NC
The building at 115 North Main Street was constructed prior to 1915, and in 1920 granite blocks from the Mount Airy quarry were added to its front facade. By 1997, the Town of Elkin acquired the then-condemned building in hopes of renovating it, but the interior had been severely damaged by a fire and had deteriorated due to weather. The building was gutted, leaving the front facade and two exposed interior walls. Over time, the building was nicknamed the “Rock Facade.” Through the years, private investors came and went and eventually the Town Commissioners discussed demolishing it.
The Main Street Advisory Committee fought for the building and convinced the Commissioners that it was worth saving. Support beams were installed to hold up the facade and a construction barricade was added with a mural painted on it that encouraged the community to “Make A Wish” about what it envisioned for the building.
In 2016, Garanco, a local contractor, hired Bobby Patterson, an architect with Architectural Design Associates, to draft plans for the site, that were approved by the Commissioners, to create a linear park and develop basement storage and public restrooms. Garanco completed the construction to extensively renovate the facade and interior brick walls, and the interior of the building was developed as an open-air park. This plan did two things: it kept the facade intact, and it established a solid foundation for the interior of the structure so that could be developed as an infill building by a private investor in the future.
The $315,000 project was funded by the Town, the neighboring business (Prism Medical Investment), and Municipal Service District funds. The Main Street board also organized a fundraiser called “Rock the Facade,” hired a rock band, and raised $3,000 for the project.
The park is used for downtown festivals, conferences, and block parties, by Prism Medical employees, and by families, and serves as an excellent example of a town demonstrating leadership to save downtown historic structures.