GREENSBORO, N.C. – After a long battle over ownership, one of downtown Greensboro’s oldest buildings will return to its heyday.
The Cascade Saloon will light up South Elm Street again by the end of this year, but it won’t serve up drinks or billiards. Instead it will house office space for a private contracting company.
The old building has become an eyesore and Preservation Greensboro wants to change that.
Trains roll by every day across these tracks on South Elm Street and the Cascade Saloon sits sandwiched between them.
“This was sort of a crossroads of Greensboro’s community, and people came from all over the city, and they would catch the train here,” said Benjamin Briggs, the executive director of Preservation Greensboro.
The building went up in 1895. People ate and drank inside until the 1960s. When the party ended, owners used the building for storage. Slowly over 50 years, father time took its toll.
“It was on the brink of collapse,” said Marsh Prause, the chairman of the Board of Trustee for the Preservation Greensboro Development Fund.
Time and time again, demolition orders nearly doomed the building.
“We saw an opportunity that we could make a difference,” Briggs said.
The Preservation Greensboro Development Fund convinced the city to turn the building over to them, and they’ve saved it.
“We could have jobs in this building,” Briggs said. “It could be a contributing part of the downtown street scene.”
You can see the rescue is still in its early stages. You can still see sky through the rafters.
In just two months, crews have removed 20 dumpsters full of trash from the building. Outside, they’ve displaced dozens of salvaged pieces that tell the building’s history.
At $3 million, this is an expensive project. Greensboro taxpayers are paying a big chunk of it, but developers believe taxpayers are getting their money’s worth.
“To me, it’s a matter of pride,” Prause said. “This is our main street here, and for almost 50 years, we’ve had a boarded up, rotting building sitting on our main street.”