Now comes news that the commission didn’t realize the historic significance of the plant it planned to tear down at a cost of $2.6 million. The Idols Hydroelectric Plant on the Yadkin River, built in 1897 and heavily damaged by fire in 1998, was an engineering marvel of its time. It was a testament to Winston-Salem’s early innovation and creativity, John Larson of Old Salem told the Journal’s Mary Giunca.
Renovation might be out of the question, but it could well be that it could be preserved as ruins, possibly as part of a park, for less than what it would cost to demolish it. “Ruins are very evocative of the past,” Larson said. “You don’t have to go to the Acropolis to appreciate what a ruin could do.”
My guess is preserving the fire-damaged ruins as part of a park would come pretty close to that $2.6 million price tag. Hey, if the utility commission can break even, fine. Then again, some things just need the wrecking ball.