Update: The church was demolished in 2012 and its rock piles have vanished after having been dumped in Warren County, and no sign of a church ever being rebuilt at the winery. A monument was built at the corner several years later.
It was shocking to see how out of control the weeds had gotten, with some growing to the size of small trees, despite not actually being trees. The Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery’s maintenance of the property, regardless of the final outcome, is shameful.
More importantly, I wanted to document the church for myself before it is torn down. Luckily, I learned tonight that a six month moratorium has been placed on its demolition, while avenues for its removal to a new site are explored.
Move a stone church? There isn’t going to be anyone who has that kind of money. While the technology exists, it is totally unfeasible for this situation.
The latest cry from the pro-business lobby towards preservationists is that they should buy these buildings if they want to save them. That is a specious argument. While the church is private property, it is part of all of our history. Built by slaves before the Civil War, it was once a simple country church. Some things, like our history, are more important than revenue.
I will be honest; the 1958 Sunday School wing could be sacrificed if the gas station has to be built, but even when it was built it was not a simple or modest design.
The intersection of Rock Hill/McKnight and Manchester Roads is already a travesty, and the church on its corner is the only vestige of Rock Hill being anything other than just a bland suburban intersection. Huge numbers of storefronts sit empty near the church, either a symbol of the economy, or as I suspect, overbuilding on the part of the city, who, like all other St. Louis County municipalities, is seeking to increase their meager slice of the tax pie that the county possesses. I also suspect that the city is hurting financially after the recent retirement of one of their top earners.
Rock Hill has long had a reputation as a speed-trap, and while the city fathers have repeatedly voiced their support for the aggressive speed enforcement of their police department, I must state that the city’s reputation has clearly affected business. I know many people who will not shop (or even pass through) Rock Hill out of this fear.
So in review, the city of Rock Hill is allowing the demolition of an historic church, originally built with slave labor, for the construction of a gas station, because they probably need the tax revenue.
Yes, a gas station.