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Catawba Riverkeeper moves its headquarters to Gaston County

Updated: Aug 14

Recently, Catawba Riverkeeper announced its plans to build a new headquarters within a vacant building located in downtown McAdenville on the South Fork of the Catawba River. This move will not only fulfill the mission of this nonprofit to be located on the water, but also give them the opportunity to operate more efficiently, host more educational programs, and engage the community in an effort to protect local water quality.

The new location sits within a brief walk of a soon-to-be finished kayak access along the South Fork River at the trailhead of the South Fork River Greenway and just a brief drive from the Riverkeeper’s new Boathouse at the R.Y. McAden River Access on Willow Drive.

The move is expected to be completed this fall.

Who is the Catawba Riverkeeper

Presently the Catawba Riverkeeper is headquartered in Charlotte, NC where it was first founded in 1997.

At the core of their mission is to preserve and protect the waters of the Catawba-Wateree River Basin for future generations. The Basin, which spans 26 counties in the Carolinas, has experienced years of misuse, unchecked pollution, development, and human irresponsibility. The Catawba Riverkeeper mitigates the damages of these factors and works to return the water and its surroundings to its original form wherever possible.

Revenue from the Riverkeeper’s beer and gear sales, kayak rentals and various educational programs help fund those preservation efforts.

The New Headquarters

The plans is to redevelop an old mill on Main Street in downtown historic McAdenville, which ran during the heyday of the textile industry, by Pharr Yarns. When complete, the new location will not only house the Catawba Riverkeeper's headquarters but also include offices, a conference room, a water testing lab, a classroom, a Riverkeeper shop and a taproom. This mixed-use center also plan to incorporate retail, commercial and residential.

According to Catawba Riverkeeper, Duke Energy has provided funding for the classroom, and Xylem water solutions will pay for the Riverkeeper’s water lab.

Dubbed Dynamo 31

The final project will be named after the generator that was used to light the interior of the mill. Story has it, R.Y. McAden, who founded McAdenville, commissioned Thomas Edison to install a generator – Edison's 31st dynamo generator – which made the mill the first electrically lit textile mill in the world. And so, this project will be dubbed, Dynamo 31 due to the great significance of this machine.

Plans to fully open all of Dynamo 31 are slated for 2022.


Works Sited

Stewart, Gavin. “Catawba Riverkeeper moving headquarters into Pharr mill in McAdenville.”The Gaston Gazette, 16 June 2021,

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