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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Carlee Drye, April 2, 1980. Interview H-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Sense of loss at destruction of historical buildings

Drye again emphasizes the impact of Alcoa's move in the late 1970s to destruct buildings and landmarks in the downtown area. In an earlier excerpted note, Drye discussed this trend as part of his broader observations regarding the decline of Alcoa's paternalistic relationship to the community. Here, Drye focuses on the importance of physical landmarks to the community's sense of history and identity and speculates that the changing landscape of the town could be detrimental to management-employee relationships.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Carlee Drye, April 2, 1980. Interview H-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

But this is part of the thing that McAlister came here to do. And I think tearing down all the buildings was just to get rid of the. . . . Of course, they ought to have been off the tax books years ago. Vacant property has got a different evaluation from buildings, whatever the repair status is or lack of repair. And this is the one thing he hasn't accomplished yet.
To tear down the buildings. Well, I think that is very interesting.
And I tell you, in all fairness to the man, within two years he's going to accomplish it, either through Hunter. . . . He's misguided, he's. . .
That's going to be because the people who own them are going to die in the next two years. That's why. It's a test of wills. [Laughter]
He only scratched the surface of knowing the people in Badin and the real history behind the formation of the local union. It had a hell of an amount [to do] with what Badin is today. The people in the Alcoa plant.
I think those buildings are very symbolic to me, because it is like the people's attempt to hold on to something that was here. They have meaning because people want. . . . Even if they're crumbling and falling down. You know, Vera Mason keeps those things in her store; she doesn't want to take them out. And the three sisters who own that pharmacy have got that marble top on it, and they've got that little sign for the ice cream cones still up there. They want to keep something there that is what Badin used to be.
But you know, I understand that they've weakened and they've sold. Just in the past week. You're right, but there's a general reluctance in us all, and that's one of the things I learned: don't change the status quo. If you change it, do it a little bit at a time, that I don't recognize; just don't go in there and weeee, like an earthquake's come through, or a tornado has wiped it clear. You don't handle people that way, not just Badin people but I think that's true anywhere. Don't change the status quo.We get too, when you get older, they call it set in your ways, but it's still in the younger generation. Don't change things too much, because we as individuals, human beings, can't accept too much change at one time; we can't absorb it. It's too big for us to cope with.