Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rock Hill Out to Obliterate it's Heritage - Historic Book House Threatened with "Redevelopment"

The Book House 01
U-Gas Hill (Rock Hill) is at it again! The city that approved having it's historic namesake, Rock Hill Presbyterian reduced to a pile of rubble and shipped off to Warren County, where it has yet to be re-built, is poised to possibly eradicate another piece of it's history just down the road from the new U-Gas station.
Book House aerial
The Book House is an independent book store that for 27 years has been located in an circa 1863 Gothic Revival style house, one of the few surviving in the St. Louis area. The Book House is located at 9719 Manchester, about a third of a mile west of the intersection of McKnight / Rock Hill Road where the U-Gas went up last year. The house faces Manchester but is located on a parcel off of Leonard Avenue and is as accessed off Manchester through another property.
The Book House 02
The Book House is designated as a historic landmark by the City of Rock Hill, but next Tuesday, May 7th, the Board of Alderman will consider approval of a proposed redevelopment by Great Northern Land Co. of Michigan that would demolish the historic Book House and several surrounding properties and replace them with a self-storage facility.
The Book House 04
Unfortunately the Book House does not own the historic house. Michelle Barron, owner and founder of the business said they had tried to buy the house in recent years, but with tightened lending standards they were unable to get a loan to do so. 

A supporter of the Book house started a petition on change.org to save the Book House, which is where I first learned of the issue this past weekend. Please sign the petition and share it with friends. Please email the Mayor of Rock Hill and members of the Board of Alderman asking them to preserve their heritage and to oppose demolition of this historic house. If you are able to, please attend the Board of Alderman meeting on Tuesday, May 7th at 7 pm at Rock Hill City Hall, which is located at 320 W. Thorton Avenue, east off Rock Hill Road just south of Manchester. Also, please like the Book House page on Facebook to stay updated.

UPDATE: A story on stltoday.com is now saying that Rock Hill's Planning & Zoning Committee may not see the proposal until June. Another story on examiner.com has Rock Hill's assistant city planner saying that the developer has not yet applied for re-zoning. It is never too early to email and call Rock Hill officials though to let them know your opinions.


Anonymous said...

Who is it that rents storage lockers? I know no one who does. How much demand could there been for such an eyesore?

Dear people with a fetish for storing...toss out your rubbish rather than storing it and stop trying to wreck my community.

Chris said...

In fairness, many people have uses for storage: small businesses like contractors, soldiers going overseas, etc. That being said, I agree that this is a stupid location--storage lockers don't need "prime real estate" because people will seek them out when they need them. It's no problem having them tucked away in less desirable areas (unlike prime frontage along Manchester Road).

carol said...

How sad. The community cannot step up and advocate for this long established and highly loved business located in an historic house. Well, of course, we need a storage unit right there, and, one developed by a company from Texas. Soon, all the history of our area will be gone, bulldozed and forgotten, but, we will still have the lovely, modern facades of another storage unit to admire. Alas, the Book House will be gone the way of the historic church nearby and historic homes throughout the area. But, our streets will continue to strongly resemble the stark ugly sameness of cheap businesses to be found on the fast food, cheap motel, tattoo parlor, and, yes, storage units, streets of every city across the country. A monument to our present culture and what we value.