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Kilby Hotel, In High Point, Barricaded Amidst Structure Concerns

6:07 PM, Oct 14, 2013   |    comments
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The Kilby Hotel in High Point is blocked off from the street after cracking sounds were reported on Sunday. Photo taken October 14, 2013.
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  • Family Fights To Save Historic High Point Hotel
  • HIGH POINT, N.C. -- The old Kilby Hotel in High Point is literally crumbling to the ground. 

    On Sunday, a man who lives in the area called 911 to report cracking sounds coming from the building that sits at the intersection of Washington and Hobson. He told WFMY News 2 that the fire department showed up and immediately barricaded the street, blocking traffic in the area. 

    While WFMY News 2's Chad Silber was on the scene today, he said he heard the building cracking as if it were preparing to collapse.

    All day, curious people have been walking by to see and hear what's going on.

    "I was walking down this walkway here and I heard the building, like it's doing now, cracking," said Dworn Ricks, who lives nearby. "I said well let me call 911."

    Dworn Ricks couldn't believe his ears. Within hours, the High Point Fire Department closed down Washington Street.

    But it's not just the old hotel. Some people say the steeple looks different at the neighboring First Baptist Church. The church admits its building is unsafe.

    "It should be straight, but it's leaning inside toward the building," said Ricks. "What's making it lean inside toward the building is the structure of it. I tell you right now, it might fall while we're standing here. Nobody needs to be in there, these buildings are going to collapse if they don't tear them down."

    In it's heyday, the Kilby Hotel became popular by traveling musicians and was a focal point for the African American community in High Point.

    "They are some of the leading buildings that we have here in the Black community," said Robert Hayes, who works nearby and remembers the building's good days.

    People who live and work in the area now say, even though the buildings have historical value, they need to go.

    "It's like a museum for a lot of people here but it's just a danger right now," said Anthony Long, who lives near the buildings. "You can see the cracks where it's getting ready to collapse or something."

    "By looking at that building leaning as it is, it can fall because gravity will pull it down," added Hayes.

    For many like Robert Hayes, it won't be easy to let it go. "See, I was back there so I remember and that's a sad note in my life to see it destroyed like it is."

    The city will likely have to tear down the church because First Baptist may not be able to pay for the demolition. As for the hotel, the owner has been trying to raise money for years to renovate it but the city has been fighting to get it torn down because they say it's not safe.

    Building inspectors were set to take their case to the Historical Commission next month to get the green light to tear it down, but with the recent developments, it's unclear what's next.

    We also talked to the owner of the Kilby Hotel. She was shocked to find out that the building was cracking. She says she doesn't know what she'll do, moving forward.

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