SALLEY, S.C.. (WJBF) – Salley, South Carolina was hit with a storm on Wednesday.
People in Salley said the weather didn’t seem that bad at first. But whatever blew through the town was enough to down some trees and a pavilion in the middle of town.
According to people who live in Salley, the weather was pretty mild all day. But, during a brief moment, the sky darkened and strong winds occurred.
“It was sad to see the Cotton Pavilion being destroyed by the high winds,” said Bill Taylor, a South Carolin State Representative. “That cotton pavilion has a lot of meaning because the late Bob Salley- the longtime mayor of Salley- it was his passion to have that rebuilt. It’s a very old structure. In 2017, he had it rebuilt with a state grant as a gathering place for those in the Salley area.”
One local employee was working at the mini mart next door to the pavilion.
They never heard the roof collapse, and only noticed it had fallen while leaving work.
“How strong were the winds that truly did come through to cause it to fall? Because it just fell straight down,” said LaDonna Hall, mayor of the city of Salley. “The roof just fell straight down.”
The city has been using the pavilion for various gatherings throughout the years, including First Friday celebrations that began last summer.
“The purpose of it is to unify the town. Get everybody to come out, just kind of get to know each other,” said Mayor Hall. “If you haven’t seen each other in a while, catch up, whatever the case may be. But just give residents something to do, of course, during those summer months as well.”
Mayor Hall plans to meet with her council in the coming weeks to discuss next steps.
“We’ve called a special meeting to see what we can do,” said Mayor Hall. “Definitely to initially work towards removing it so that it’s not a danger to anyone. I know it is an old cotton platform from back in the day from a train coming through. And it was a train depot where people would get on and off of the trains because Salley was an old railroad town. So, it needs to be preserved- I guess, you know, in the best way possible.”
According to the mayor, plans are already underway to rebuild the Old Cotton Pavilion.