October 12, 2006
Pelham -- Welcome to Mitchell county! Incorporated cities here in Mitchell County include Baconton, Sale City, Camilla, and Pelham. Once again, We've moved our home base for a day. Today, we come to you live from downtown Pelham.
We're in front of a Pelham landmark that's on the national register of historic places. It's the Hand Trading Company building. It was completed in 1916 at a cost of $100,000.
Right now, the city is trying to find money for a renovation project that could cost six to eight million dollars.
The Hand Trading Company was the Super Wal-Mart of its time. In its heyday, you could buy everything from hardware to clothes, from cars to coffins.
It was built by Pelham's founder, J. L. Hand, and was based on one of the country's most famous department stores.
Pelham Mayor Steven Turner says: "He actually went to Chicago in 1912 and looked at the Marshall Fields store with his son, and told his son Laramie, 'I need to go back to Pelham and build one of these.' So, that's what he did. He came back and built it, and it was completed in 1916 the same year he died."
The four-story building has nearly 100,000 square feet. It includes 100 massive columns that run from floor to roof and a dome-covered atrium with 24-circular windows.
The city hired a development company that specializes in restoring historic buildings in small towns to come up with plans and money to renovate the building. They've got half a million dollars now, but the whole project will take six to eight million.