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Rock Hill Mansion Slated for Demoltion

 
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Old 04-23-2010, 12:09 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: On the "Beautiful Ohio" at New Albany, Indiana, opposite Louisville, Kentucky
Posts: 2,078
Default Rock Hill Mansion Slated for Demoltion

As if we haven't received enough BAD news of late, this breaking news just came to my desk. Rock Hill, the 1832 antebellum mansion overlooking the Ohio that was for many years the home of Capt. C.W. and Lucy Stoll, is slated for demoltion. The home was built by a New Orleans cotton broker, James Hewitt, as a summer home "escape" from the torrid heat and humidity of the South.

Capt. C.W. and his first wife, Marijane (who passed away in 1969) purchased the historic home in 1952. It had been vacant for some time and vandals had taken their toll on the house, stripping it of chandeliers, mantels and other original decorations. The house burned in 1886 and was rebuilt, the original free standing stairway replaced with a different style that made moving furniture up and down the steps much easier.

Rock Hill was the site of MANY celebrated parties each spring after the steamboat races, with the festivities lasting long into the night as the twin grand pianos were played and the food and libations were plentiful. One year, Vic Tooker and the Riverboat Ramblers (from the DELTA QUEEN) provided the festive music for a Nawlins style "second line" parade with Capt. Ernie Wagner leading the way -- marching around through the stately house and right out the front door! The house was always a "bed and breakfast" for steamboaters and the Rock Hill guest book reads like a virtual "Who's Who" of the River! C.W.'s HUGE collection of opera and symphony recordings occupied many shelves in the downstairs hallway and river memorabilia was displayed in nearly every room and along the stairway. His famous archives of steamboat negatives and photos, including his darkroom, occupied two rooms in the basement -- along with the large three manual Pilcher Organ console from Trinity Methodist Church, where C.W. had served as organist in his youth. The chandelier over the dining room table came from the cabin of the Str. TOM GREENE. There was also a resident ghost. What a place!

According to reports, the current owners have restored a smaller house on the property, formerly a school house, but wish to break the property up into smaller lots which will require the demolition of the mansion. A recent effort is in the works to have the house declared a Louisville landmark so it can't be demolished. Letters of support can be sent to PRESERVATION LOUISVILLE. For further information on this effort, contact Kadie Engstrom (Belle of Louisville) at Kadie.Engstrom@louisvilleky.gov or call 866-832-0011 toll free or 502-574-2992 local.

As one who has spent MANY happy times at Rock Hill over the past 40 years, this news is indeed very sad. In C.W.'s final years, when his fragile health wouldn't permit him to go to the river, he often sat by a window waiting for the BELLE and DELTA QUEEN to pass. They never failed to blow a whistle salute just for him.

Time, like the river, rolls swiftly on and brings many changes -- not always good ones!
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