Madison Reopens After Building Repairs

Workers at the LEder Building.
Workers use a platform crane to examine the facade on the Leder building.

Madison Street through downtown Whiteville is open again, after emergency repairs on the facade at Merchantile on Madison have been completed.

The facade had separated from the main wall of the building, and was leaning out several inches when a passerby called the city Wednesday. Officials quickly shut down Madison between Main and commerce due to the potential of falling bricks.

City Manager Darren Currie said there was no indication that a collapse was imminent, but the city and owner acted out of an abundance of caution.
City Fire Marshal Hal Lowder Jr. said the emergency repairs have been inspected and passed, so the street was reopened this morning.

“People still need to be aware of equipment and workers in the area,” he said. “Just be considerate and slow down some.”

The sidewalk and parking immediately in front of the building remain taped off while permanent repairs are completed.

The former Leder Brothers Department Store building is a landmark in downtown. Owner J.E. Thompson recently removed the aluminium siding from the front as part of an ongoing restoration to the buildings original early 20th century appearance. The brick facade is later than the original construction of the building, and had reportedly been leaning for several years.

The city became moire pro-active about building emergencies after a closed retail store on Main Street collapsed in 2019.

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Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at