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Demolition of a downtown Mountain City landmark

By Marlana Ward
If you have made a recent trip down Main Street, you have undoubtedly noticed a major change. The downtown landscape was forever altered with the removal of the former Ramsey’s storefront.  
Pete Ramsey fulfilled a lifelong dream when he opened his first Five and Dime store November 22nd, 1940.  This original store was located in the building on the corner of Main and Church Streets.  By 1946, Ramsey had built the new location next door to that site that forever would be locally known as the “Ramsey Building.“
The little five and dime that got its start in Mountain City was the beginning of a great merchandising career for Ramsey.  In 1948, he opened a second location in Damascus, Virginia. Eventually, he operated stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.  His entrepreneurial insight also gave him the opportunity to serve as President of the Association of General Merchandise Chains, which included such retailers as Kmart, Walmart, and others.
Ramsey’s on Main Street closed its doors in October 1988.
After being empty for so long and with no prospects for repair or future development of the building, the town of Mountain City had to make a decision.  
City Mayor Lawrence Keeble explained, “The council has been concerned about the condition of the building for several years and decided to purchase the building in 2014.”
The building’s condition and options available were a topic of discussion during many council meetings.  With the decision to purchase the building made, it was determined that the safest course of action would be to demolish it.  
“The town considered the steps to condemn the building and weighed the time involved and the cost of litigation and decided the best way to proceed was to purchase the building and make it available for new business,” Keeble continued.
Immediate plans for the site are for the continued cleaning and restoration of the site in preparation for sale to a new business.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.