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Algoma Coal and Coke Company Store

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1948, Hassel T. Hicks. West side of McDowell County 17/1, 1 mile north of intersection of 17/1 and U.S. 52

This streamlined Moderne structure was built in 1948 to replace a frame structure that burned the year before. Typical of its type, it served myriad uses, including store, company office, post office, doctor's office, and pharmacy. The two-story, flat-roofed building is a shallow U in shape, with a broad central section recessed between one-bay end pavilions. Built of concrete and steel, it is faced with glazed yellow tile alternating with narrow bands of red brick, giving a decidedly striped, horizontal look. The recessed section of the first-floor facade is taken up almost entirely with the main entrance and plate glass display windows, all protected by a flat overhang.

At a cost of $250,000, the Algoma store was built with a conscious effort to use the best materials available in the immediate postwar years. There was at least one novel approach to economize: the timbers used to support the steel pans into which concrete was poured were sized so that they could be reused as railroad ties in the mines. The building served two subsequent coal companies and then became, for a time, a medical clinic. Hassel T. Hicks, the architect, is discussed in the introduction to Welch, below.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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