KM Herald 7-8-20

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106 East Mountain Street Kings Mountain, NC 28086 Volume 132 • Issue 28 • 704-484-1047

Wednesday, July 8, 2020


City Council votes to demolish abandoned home

McGill’s gas station gets a reprieve In action taken by city council on June 30, an ordinance to demolish a dilapidated dwelling at 102 Cloninger Street was unanimously approved. Codes Director, Clint Houser sent an order to repair or demolish on April 1 but received no response. “To the best of my knowledge, the owners are deceased,” Houser said. McGill’s Exxon Station located at 100 E. Kings Street was the second property discussed for demolition. Houser reported that on March 5, a meeting was held with Steve Wallace and Joe Champion and they were given 90-day order to repair. “One Hundred days later, nothing has been done,” Houser said. He recommended demolishing the structure. Joe Champion spoke on behalf of the owners saying, “We attempted to hire a brick mason, but during COVID19 I have had no luck.” He announced that he now has a buyer and asked for an abeyance of 60-days to close the deal. He also stated, “The gas station is one of only three of its kind remaining in the country and the buyer is capable of the work. I’ll

let her speak for herself.” Kiamesha Young, a realtor and contractor from Kings Mountain, signed papers on the property on June 30. “We have a few details to work out, but I am very interested the building and repairing it. I’ll need to find out what items the city requires be repaired first to determine if they can be done in the time frame required. I’ll need 60days to do my due diligence and close the deal,” she said. “I plan to renovate the space for a real estate office.” Councilman David Allen asked if it was possible for the deal to be completed by August 21, and Young answered that she thought it was possible. Citizen Jewel Reavis spoke to council about the property, “I’m here speaking on behalf of many who would hate to see this building destroyed. Many people in Kings Mountain, and others who once lived here, have fond memories of McGill’s Exxon and I am asking you not to demolish it.” City Attorney Mickey Corry advised city council that, since the city had determined the property to be dangerous with crumbling brick

and other issues, a barricade would need to go up around the building due to liability issues. Houser recommended the barricade equal to the height of the wall in distance from the building. Assistant City Manager Nick Hendricks said, “The barricade can consist of cones and caution tape, a mental barrier of sorts, as a caution point.” David Stone, a local contractor who is currently preserving three Kings Mountain properties and is a member of the Cleveland County Historic Preservation Commission called to speak. “I encourage council to pause. It is a bad decision to tear this structure down. The property has significant historical contribution. If the potential buyer can’t buy in 60 to 90days, we should get people to invest to save this historic property,” he said. Council voted to postpone this decision, giving the buyer 55 days to purchase the property so it would be completed before the next city council meeting. In other action, city council unanimously voted to approve a motion to adopt a resolution to receive an Offer See COUNCIL, Page 4

Ed Blackburn’s beehives. See more photos on page 4. Photos Shirley Brutko

Blackburn’s bees help apple trees flourish By Loretta Cozart Kings Mountain banker, Ed Blackburn, has always gardened. Ten to fifteen years ago he added heirloom apples to his repertoire, planting trees at his home and in his family’s apple orchard in Todd, NC. He has several apple varieties, including Early Transparent, Virginia Beauty, Green Cheese, and

Johnson’s Fine Winter. “The family orchard had been neglected, so I took on the project, cleaning it up and planting new trees.” Between his orchard in the mountains and at his home, Blackburn now has 13 apple trees. His orchard and his garden have kept him busy. However, his garden just hasn’t produced as he would like recently. “This year is the sor-

riest garden I’ve ever had,” Blackburn said. “Memorial Day rains washed most of the garden away. I was only able to save maybe 40% of my green beans.” Over the years, Blackburn had considered keeping bees. “I’ve always had an interest in beehives, because I love honey. But I just kept putting it off. In December 2019, I See BEES, Page 4

N.F. McGill and Son’s service station served KM residents for 66-years By Loretta Cozart On February 2, 1926, Norman Fuller McGill took management of N. F. McGill and Son’s Standard Oil Station at the corner of E. King Street and N. Piedmont Avenue in Kings Mountain. Many people remember the building that housed a family business for three generations and the way the McGill family made them feel. The McGill family appreciated their customers, and the customers knew it. In a story in the Herald written by Lib Stewart in 1976, McGill shared that he “made the motion at a city board meeting in the early 1920s that resulted in the rezoning of the Ella Harmon property for construction of a one-room service station.” He had no idea at the time that just two-years later he would become the operator of the station for Standard Oil Co., then Esso and later Exxon in 1972. When the station opened, there were few other service stations in town. One was

located at the intersection of Battleground and W. Mountain Street, where the Cleveland County Chamber once kept an office. That station was operated by I.G. Patterson and Charlie Falls. W.A. Mauney Stores was open at that time and remained so until 1929, the year Andrew Mauney passed. Other downtown stores of that era were Kiser and Mauney, Carpenter Brothers Hardware, and Plonk Brothers. All those businesses are gone now but for the buildings that once housed them. The same is true for McGill and Son’s service station. McGill shared in the article that Zeb Means, son of a preacher, was a loyal employee who worked for him before N.F. McGill, Jr. was born. He sometimes washed as many as 25 cars on Saturdays in an open wash pit beside the station. One of McGill’s busiest days was the day in 1932 when President Herbert Hoover came to town for the celebration at the Battleground, before it became a National Military Park. “I had a front row seat,” McGill said. “But the crowds who lined the streets from the depot (then located down-

Norman Fuller McGill, Sr. at the Standard Oil Co. of NJ with a young boy (L) and attendant (center). Circa 1926. Photo provided by Trip McGill town) and streets by the station did not cheer Hoover. There was only one man who did,” he said. The nation was in the throughs of the Great Depression. That day, McGill had a continuous stream of cars stopping at his station on the corner to fill up and his nephew enjoyed a booming

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business with a refreshment stand. McGill was asked to come from Sunday Church services at the ARP Church, which was then located where the Mountain View Restaurant is now, to gas up 40 – 50 motorcycles in the president’s motorcade. Those were the good ole’ days.

The McGill family operated the business until N.F. McGill, Jr. retired in 1992, celebrating 66-years of service to the people of Kings Mountain and those who passed through town on their way to points west, or to view the fall leaves each year. For 46-years, the building was owned by Standard

Oil Company as noted on the Cleveland County Ledger Sheet, from April 15, 1926 until 1972. McGill and Son’s was a full-service station. Many Kings Mountain residents visited the station religiously. Jackie Jordan Davis commented on a recent Facebook See McGILL, Page 6

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