Our First One Hundred Years
In 1913 a French aluminum company began work on a dam at the Narrows of the Yadkin River. Foundations were laid for a smelter and a village to house workers. The village was named Badin after the president of the company, Adrien Badin. In 1914 with the outbreak of World War One, the French left the country and eventually the unfinished dam, smelter and village was sold to the Aluminum Company of America: ALCOA. The dam was finished in 1917 and hydroelectric power was fed to the new smelter. Before long the village grew from a few hundred workers to a population of 5,000. The town boasted a variety of shops, banks, grocers, a hospital and a magnificent theater. Badin was now a unique “company town,” planned by a foreign company and completed by a northern manufacturing enterprise. It was one of the few towns to offer housing, recreational and cultural facilities for all its workers.
In 1983 the entire town of Badin including the Narrows Dam was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Dedicated as a National Historic Landmark in 1990, the Hardaway Archaeological Site is among the oldest of its kind in the United states.
Through the actions of local non-profit organization, Better Badin, Inc., a special election was held in 1990 and Badin citizens voted for municipal incorporation. Today the town is a remarkable historical document of early industrialists’ values and visions.