A nearly century-old building in Alcoa finally faces the end of its life and is set to be torn down after seeing a wide variety of businesses and organizations pass through its walls over the years.
Hickory Construction project manager Jason Yeary announced July 23 that roads would be closed early August for crews tearing down the old Walker’s Supply building near the corner of North Hall Road and East Lincoln Road in Alcoa.
Alcoa City Planner Jeremy Pearson said the building’s demise has been in the works for a year and is only just coming to fruition.
“The demolition of the building was part of a previous site plan review and approval by the planning commission in October of 2018,” Pearson wrote in an email. “It was also denoted on a replat approved by the commission in July of 2018. The schedule for its demolition has only recently been discussed with the city by the contractor.”
The demolition follows the finishing touches on parking and building construction at the Alcoa Tenn Federal Credit Union building on North Hall Road, where employees will see around 3,000 feet of additional workspace as they move out of the century-old building to a new space.
The building was most recently used by the credit union’s accounting department, but CEO David Proffitt told reporters from The Daily Times in April that keeping it around was no longer feasible.
Proffitt said that between an old elevator, leaks and an antiquated fire suppression system — as well as other issues — the historical building wasn’t worth repairing.
The two-story building was built around 1920 and is widely known as the Walker’s Supply building or just the Walker Building, though it has had a wide variety of uses over the years.
It was one of many buildings in the area used by the hardware supply company. These have been demolished over the years to make way for incoming businesses like the South Hall Road CVS.
Blount County Circuit Judge David Duggan — author of “Alcoa: A Century in Words and Pictures,” a historical survey of the city and its people — said in an email to The Daily Times that, before it was Walker’s Supply, the building was used by a number of different entities.
“It was originally known as the Johnson and Law Building,” Duggan wrote. “It was opened in 1920. Originally it was operated as a company commissary.”
He added the local Masonic lodge moved from a local Babcock space to the building’s second level and met there until Nicely Grocery Store opened its new building in 1939.
The century saw the place’s uses shift from a meeting place for masons to a storefront for Alcoa Furniture Company and the Alcoa J & K Superstore grocery store, Duggan wrote.
But one of the most unique uses for the storied building? In the 1940s, there was a skating rink upstairs.
“It’s always sad to see the old buildings go,” Duggan wrote. “But ... the owner has to do what’s in the owner’s best interest.”
Demolition will begin at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 9 and will temporarily close East Lincoln Road’s westbound lane to traffic.