All in All, They Were Once Bricks in a Wall
Temporary workers employed by Able-Bodied Labor salvaged bricks at the intersection of Lee Street and Glenwood Avenue on Nov. 1, tossing them into piles, brushing them off and stacking them on palettes. DH Griffin Wrecking Co., the contractor, had knocked down the old JD Wilkins steel fabrication plant days earlier for property owner UNCG.
Wanchese Trivette, the superintendent on the job, said he knew that the plant was operating at least as far back as the 1940s because he spoke to a man who worked there in 1947.
The demolition of the JD Wilkins plant, once a brick monolith with a wide opening that revealed what looked like a large contraption of tracks, hoists and pulleys, leaves a gaping hole in the familiar Lee Street landscape. With the manufacturing plant gone, the new parking decks across the railroad tracks at UNCG take a more prominent position.
That might be a sign of things to come for the northern side of Lee Street between Tate and Aycock, an area that also includes Industries of the Blind and an army surplus store. UNCG spokesman Steve Gillam said once the bricks are cleared away the space formerly occupied by JD Wilkins will likely be used as parking by the university.
‘“The surface parking would be temporary until the university decides what the land would be used for,’” he said. ‘“At this time we don’t have anything specific in mind. There was some talk about putting a parking deck there. We’ve thought about putting in academic buildings. No funds have been appropriated for that.’”
Gillam said UNCG bought the property with money allocated for land acquisition through a state higher education bond issue.
‘“We’ve got two hundred and ten acres which pretty much makes us a landlocked campus,’” he said. ‘“We’ve got Market Street, Aycock Street and Tate Street with neighborhoods bounding that, so we can’t really go much further. If we’re going to be expanding it’s going to be on Lee Street.’”