Update: The rock piles have vanished, and no sign of a church being rebuilt at the winery. A small memorial made of stone from the church were built on its former site in Rock Hill several years later.
Alerted by a reader of this site, my father and I ventured out to rural Warren County to see for ourselves the sad remains of the “carefully” preserved Rock Hill Presbyterian Church, ignominiously demolished in a day for the building of a gas station.
The stone is still beautiful, even lying in a giant pile, but as you can see no care was taken to preserve lintels or other cut stone imperative to the proper rebuilding of the church. I am certain, and based off of witness accounts of people who saw the church demolished, much of the most important stone elements were irreparably damaged.
We continued up to the winery, whose owner had offered to take the stone for the purposes of attracting weddings. The winery is very new, so much so that they haven’t begun selling their own wine yet. The winery has several well-restored barns as well as other farm implements. I believe the owner really does intend to rebuild the church, but whether or not it is actually done is the great question. Giant stone churches are hard to build, and I’m wondering if it will be nothing more than an ersatz stone structure when they’re done.
But one thing’s for sure, he had better secure his historic stone piles better! As we drove back by, a man with a Jeep Cherokee was in the middle of stealing a large heap of stones from the pile, loading them onto a small trailer hooked up to the back of his vehicle.