Kilby Hotel partially collapses in High Point

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Photo courtesy of Patrick Harman
Photo courtesy of Patrick Harman

Part of a wall of the historic Kilby Hotel in High Point collapsed last night, an apparent casualty of high winds from a severe thunderstorm last night.

The roof had already collapsed some time ago.

The hotel, an example of successful African-American entrepreneurship in the early 20th century, has been a centerpiece in efforts to revive the Washington Street district.

Early this month, the city council voted to extend a demolition order after the president of the Washington Street Business Association announced that a California nonprofit had committed to renovate the hotel. The further deterioration of the building throws those plans into doubt.

The Hayden-Harman Foundation has been involved in efforts to revitalize Washington Street for the past couple years. Patrick Harman, the foundation’s executive director, suggested that community leaders might have to consider what it means to develop the district without the hotel.

“The potential has always been there,” he said. “It’s also been a hindrance. Since the roof fell in, it’s been an impediment to redevelopment. The Kilby Hotel has been a cornerstone of the effort to make Washington Street a happening place. It requires a rethink.”

Harman said to his knowledge no one was injured by the partial collapse of the wall, which resulted in bricks raining down onto Hobson Street.