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The old railroad depot on White Oak Street is demolished. The depot, owned by Norfolk Southern Railway, has been vacant for several years.  Photo by Larry Penkava

Old rail depot is gone

ASHEBORO — Two buildings in Asheboro, one historic and the other a safety concern, will be torn down soon.


Mayor David Smith announced the demolitions on Aug. 4 during the regular meeting of the Asheboro City Council. The buildings are the railroad depot on White Oak Street near Salisbury Street and a house at 816 S. Cox St.


The depot, owned by Norfolk Southern Railway, has been vacant for several years. Smith said a fire, possibly an arson, caused considerable damage to the interior a year or two ago. An inspection by Norfolk Southern after the fire determined the building to be unsafe and unusable. Asbestos abatement was completed but the building was left to graffiti artists for several months.


However, the city has been notified by Norfolk Southern of the railroad’s decision to demolish the building. The city issued a three-day permit for the demolition, starting Monday, Aug. 8, according to Chuck Garner, a code enforcement officer for the city.


Smith said the depot has not been used by the railroad for many years although it was leased to a moving firm for storage during a period of years. It’s been empty, he said, for 10 or 15 years.


Some may feel tearing down the depot is destroying part of Asheboro’s history, Garner said. But the problem is the damage caused by the fire makes the structure a safety hazard.


A yellow house at 816 S. Cox St. has been leaning backward for quite a while. Smith said citizens have asked why the city doesn’t do something about the situation and he responds that proper channels have to be navigated before action can be taken.


Garner said, “We’ve been trying to get it down for two years but it’s been tied up in court.” 


After condemnation proceedings, the house was auctioned off at the courthouse steps. But such an auction requires a 10-day period for upset offers to be posted. Once the court confirms the sale, the city has to wait for permission from the owner to remove the house. Garner said the city is now awaiting the final paperwork before taking action.


He said the demolition will be done by a contractor the city has vetted and hired for the work. Demolition is anticipated to be completed by the end of this week.