A piece of history: Trion, Ga., tearing down flood-prone Park Avenue apartments

A piece of history: Trion, Ga., tearing down flood-prone Park Avenue apartments

February 27th, 2013 by Tim Omarzu in Local Regional News

Workers demolish the old brick apartments next to the denim manufacturing plant in the heart of Trion, Ga., on Tuesday.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

A chunk of Trion, Ga.'s history is being torn down.

On Monday, heavy equipment started demolishing the Park Avenue Apartments. They were built sometime between 1919 and 1922, town historian Brad Hayes said.

"It's kind of a big thing in Trion," Hayes said. "These apartments have been there almost 100 years."

The three, two-story brick apartment buildings are coming down, Mayor Johnny Ingle said, because they've been damaged by Chattooga River flooding -- most recently during a big flood in September 2009.

"It's been flooded several times," Ingle said. "They're in the flood plain."

The city got about $1 million in state and federal emergency management grants to buy and demolish the apartments, he said.

Ingle said they were built to house managers at Mount Vernon Mill.

The apartments went up during the greatest period of growth for Trion and the mill around which the city was built, according to a history on the Mount Vernon Mills Denim plant's website. Other buildings erected between 1913-1934 included a hospital and the Big Friendly department store -- both of which have been demolished.

"It was kind of like the Walmart of its day," Hayes said of the Big Friendly. "It had everything."

The historian said it was "bittersweet" to see the apartments come down, because of the memories they hold for Trion residents.

Hayes wrote an article about the apartment demolition for Trion Facts, a weekly newspaper put out by the mill. Hayes also has seen a lot of comments about the apartments on a Facebook page he created, "Making Memories Last in Trion, Georgia."

The city has applied for a $100,000 state grant to build a walking and biking trail on the site of the old apartments, Ingles said. The trail would lead to a boat ramp, he said.