History of the Tollison building in Wadesboro, building set to be demolished soon

By: By Imari Scarbrough - iscarbrough@civitasmedia.com
Courtesy photo This photo, included in “The Pictorial Tribute of Wadesboro,” shows Cooke Chevrolet Company in the Tollison building in the 1930s.
Courtesy photo John Martin Cooke’s family opened Cooke Chevrolet Company, which Cooke operated after he returned home from military service.
Imari Scarbrough | The Anson Record The Tollison building is set to be demolished soon, potentially this month.
Imari Scarbrough | The Anson Record The Tollison building is set to be demolished soon, potentially this month.

The Tollison building is set to be demolished sometime this month to make way for the Wadesboro Fire Department.

The building is located beside the combined police and fire department building, and diagonally across from the town hall.

During a Nov. 7 meeting, Town Manager Alex Sewell said that the building would potentially be demolished on Nov. 18. On Monday, he said that it will likely happen after that.

“Staff are still working to verify the qualifications/responsiveness of the low bidder prior to issuing a notice to proceed,” he said via email.

The building used to house Cooke Chevrolet Company about 80 years ago.

Steve Bailey, a genealogist working with the Anson County Historical Society, was unable to find much history on the building, but found two books referencing the car dealership.

“Anson County Heritage — North Carolina, 1995” contains information about John Martin Cooke, whose family opened the car company. It was first opened on North Greene Street behind what was then Leavitt Funeral Home before it was moved to the Tollison building.

In 1939, Cooke was in the first class of Wadesboro High School to have a 12th grade. He fought in World War II and was wounded, receiving the Purple Heart, among other honors, and then went to work at Cooke Chevrolet, becoming “the youngest Chevrolet dealer in the Carolinas,” according to the book. When his father retired, Cooke ran the company from 1946 to 1956.

One of his sons, John Martin “Marty” Cooke Jr., worked for the Anson Record selling newspapers.

A second book, “The Pictorial Tribute of Wadesboro,” contains a photo of Cooke Chevrolet in the early 1930s.

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places maintained through the National Park Service.

The registry description for the Tollison building says it was built in around 1917, first serving as the auto dealer.

“It replaced a frame livery on the site, which also included a service garage on the present parking lot to the north,” it said. “At one time, Cook’s (sic) Chevrolet Dealership was located in this building, which later contained a drug store. The upstairs once contained a doctor’s office.”

At the time the building was listed in the registry, it was a video store.

Sewell said he was unsure what disruptions there would be to traffic during the demolition process, but that detours are possible.

“The contractor will be in charge of traffic control but I anticipate the sections of the streets immediately adjacent to the property would be closed for a probable range of 3-5 days,” he said. “However, this could change based on the contractor’s approach.”

Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.

Courtesy photo This photo, included in “The Pictorial Tribute of Wadesboro,” shows Cooke Chevrolet Company in the Tollison building in the 1930s.
https://ansonrecord.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_Cooke-Chevrolet-Company-early-1930s-fz.jpgCourtesy photo This photo, included in “The Pictorial Tribute of Wadesboro,” shows Cooke Chevrolet Company in the Tollison building in the 1930s.

Courtesy photo John Martin Cooke’s family opened Cooke Chevrolet Company, which Cooke operated after he returned home from military service.
https://ansonrecord.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_John-Martin-Cooke-fz.jpgCourtesy photo John Martin Cooke’s family opened Cooke Chevrolet Company, which Cooke operated after he returned home from military service.

Imari Scarbrough | The Anson Record The Tollison building is set to be demolished soon, potentially this month.
https://ansonrecord.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_IMG_5670.jpgImari Scarbrough | The Anson Record The Tollison building is set to be demolished soon, potentially this month.

Imari Scarbrough | The Anson Record The Tollison building is set to be demolished soon, potentially this month.
https://ansonrecord.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_IMG_5673.jpgImari Scarbrough | The Anson Record The Tollison building is set to be demolished soon, potentially this month.
Building will be demolished soon

By Imari Scarbrough

iscarbrough@civitasmedia.com