Built 100 years ago as a company town, Badin is not a stereotypical mill village with grid-patterned streets and shot-gun cottages. It was designed by a company from France who brought with it the European idea of a garden city, curvilinear tree-shaded streets, cottages, townhouses and single family dwellings that encompass 27 different styles of architecture. A peaceful village with its picket fences and well-tended gardens, it provides a rare look at the characteristics common to many of the state’s company towns with the added attraction of its French Colonial architecture. It is that legacy that makes Badin unique. In 1984, the entire town was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
A Brief History of Badin
In the Spring of 1913, a French company, L’Aluminium Français, began work on a dam at the narrows of the Yadkin River–it becomes the Pee Dee River a few miles downstream–to provide power for a smelter. A town to house the company’s workers was to be built beside the newly-formed lake and named for company president, Adrien Badin.
After the outbreak of World War I, the company’s credit lines were redirected toward the war effort, ending the construction project at Badin. The Mellon Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with its aluminum monopoly, the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA), bought the half-finished company town in November, 1915.
The French had completed a few plant buildings, a clubhouse for single male employees and visitors, a plant manager’s residence, and single family residences along Henderson Street. Work had begun on 150 apartments, but this was not resumed for three years. At this time, bungalows were built along Tallassee Street, cottages on Pine Street, and a women’s annex added to the main club house.
By 1917, Badin was a permanent settlement with a hospital, a 20-room school, a large theatre, and several brick commercial buildings. It was somewhat unusual in the state in that it offered housing and cultural facilities for black workers.
With the automobiles and improved roads of the 1920′s, many Badin workers moved to larger towns and the population of Badin shrank from 5,000 in 1926 to the 1,390 residents of today. In 1983, Badin was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 1990, the town was incorporated.
Today, Badin is a town in transition. After struggling for years with the loss of downtown buildings, with rental property and absentee landlords, it is now being discovered by young couples, families and retirees. Little bridges over rock-lined storm drains give entry to French Colonial row houses. Winding, tree-lined lanes lead down to the serene waters of Badin Lake where one can fish in the company of herons, osprey and seagulls and the occasional bald eagle. In Badin’s back yard, between the Narrows and the Falls Dams, the Yadkin/Pee Dee River flows between hundred foot high cliffs in a stunningly beautiful stretch of water.
Attractions include affordable property, low crime rate—Badin boasts its own police force–low property taxes, no local sales tax, a school with grades K through 8, its own country inn with golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool, pub and restaurant, outdoor recreation that includes kayaking, fishing, golf and hiking, a variety of local attractions and many more attractions within a day’s drive.
Badin is beautifully situated in North Carolina’s Piedmont at the southern end of Badin Lake, next to Morrow Mountain State Park and across the Yadkin/Pee Dee River from the Uwharrie National Forest. It is an easy drive from the population centers of Charlotte, Raleigh and Winston-Salem/Greensboro/High Point. Area attractions within an hour’s drive of Badin include Pinehurst, Seagrove Area Potters, Morrow Mountain, the Uwharrie National Forest, the North Carolina Zoological Park, Reed Gold Mine, Historic Salisbury, the North Carolina Transportation Museum, and Town Creek Indian Mound.
Badin Historic Townhouses
A one-hundred year old two-bedroom townhouse ready for tender-loving care can be bought for as little as $30,000. An upgraded ready-to-move-in two bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse can be bought for as little as $75,000. More upscale properties are available from $200,000. Median annual property taxes paid for housing units are 0.7% ($440). North Carolina median property taxes are 0.9% ($826).
Click Here to learn more about the Badin Townhouse
Walking Guide of Badin
A great way to see the Town of Badin is to take a walk around the village core. Walking Guides in print form are available at the Badin Museum and the Badin Town Hall.