Salvaged by former Adairsville Mayor Evan King, the door found its way to United Community Bank Adairsville President Gary Floyd, who had it restored. On and off for approximately three months, Adairsville resident John Worley peeled away 12 layers of paint to reveal the original wood, which he believed could be mahogany. The door, now refinished, has a place of honor in UCB’s lobby.
Floyd said King offered him the door after he saved it from the construction dumpster.
“He said, ‘Do you want it?’ I said, ‘Yeah, absolutely I want it.’ ... I just thought it would be something neat for the community to do,” Floyd said. “People just stand over there as they’re coming into the bank, leaving the bank, and just reminisce. The heritage of a small community is greater than the heritage of a larger town and people go back and they remember the old bank building and they remember the people who work there. So that’s what all of this is about, to me anyways.”
King explained he offered the door to Floyd due to UCB’s heritage of buying the Bank of Adairsville in the 1990s.
“They were doing the demolition. ... I thought, well, knowing that this bank evolved from the Bank of Adairsville ... I thought that would be a good gesture. I didn’t know how Gary would use it. I brought it back down here before they stuck it in a dumpster,” he said.
Speaking about the old Bank of Adairsville building, which later housed city hall, King said he could remember walking through the doors of the old marble facade, which were hidden for more than 30 years. When the city began planning the renovation King was still mayor and he said he was aware of the marble behind the newer facade. However, he personally believed the marble and the facade as a whole would not be in good shape.
“We’re like a lot of communities in north Georgia and we’ve had people to move in and they just weren’t aware,” King said of the marble. “The bank is actually the one that did the front of the building back when the bank was there. The city didn’t do that, and then when the bank moved to this location they donated the building to the city. That’s how that’s progressed. The city did not put the front over the marble to begin with. That was a private industry.”
Citing prior personal experience with renovating a brick facade in Adairsville, King said his uncle once restored a building on the city square and the mortar between the bricks was dried and crumbling, requiring the entire front of the building to be torn down and repaired. King expected the Bank of Adairsville facade to be in similar shape, as the added awning likely trapped heat and further baked the mortar.
“My thought was, we’re going to run into a similar situation, because I’ve seen a lot of buildings not only in Adairsville but in Calhoun, Rome, different places where they do the same thing. ... So [I] had no idea how it was going to look behind there. Going in we would have thought more than likely we would have to do the whole front. That was my personal thinking,” he said.
City Manager Pam Madison said the city would likely move toward adopting a preservation ordinance in response to the renovation process.
“I think the city is going to be adopting a new historic preservation ordinance and appointing a historical commission, and then anything on a historic registry will follow an appropriate protocol,” she said. “The difference between those things that are typically in place and the city hall building is we only have the sides remaining and it’s no longer a structure qualified for historic preservation grants that are pretty common. So I ... think having that in place for future historic properties will be appropriate, but in this particular case because the demolition process has taken place and the facades are the only things that are remaining, it puts us in a different position than we may have been in had we looked at the grants in advance of the demolition.”
Efforts to close the funding gap between the city’s renovation budget and the $70,000 to $100,000 estimated cost to competely save and restore the marble facade are still ongoing, Madison said. She added her office is planning on releasing bid documents by the end of the month that will include all the city’s options, which involve installing parts of the marble inside, incorporating sections of the marble into a brick facade or completely saving the marble facade. Bids will be back within 30 days and the council will make a decision.
“It’ll be a financial decision based on what’s available in the budget,” Madison said.
The delayed decision on the facade has in turned delayed the city’s overall progress. Madison believed city operations will not return to the square until the end of the year or early spring 2015.