The Rock Building: Back in Troy’s conversation

Published 6:48 pm Friday, March 29, 2024

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The Rock Building was constructed in 1916 by local workers and stone masons from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and from field rocks from every corner of Pike County.

Each and every rock in the building has the handprint of somebody from Pike County on it. Farmers donated rocks turned over by plows in the fields. Women in bonnets gave rocks from their garden borders. Barefoot kids lugged rocks to the edge of the dirt roads to be loaded on wagons and pickup trucks to be hauled to the building site.

The Rock Building, a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, belonged to all the people of Pike County.

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The Rock Building was owned and operated by the Pike County Commission and housed the county’s community agencies with a community auditorium on the bottom floor. The Rock Building was a place for all the people of Pike County.

In 1991, the Rock Building was damaged by an arsonists’s fire. The Pike County Commission said funds were not available to restore the building that had stood like a rock in Pike County for more than 70 years.

A grassroots effort to raise the dollars necessary to put the roof back on the historic building was not successful.

Evidently, there was little or no interest in the historic building by those with deep pockets, so the Pike County Commission offered the building up for sale at public auction.

The only bid came from one man.

Charlie Bundy, who owns and operates an auto repair shop on the Henderson Highway, said in an earlier interview that he had no previous thoughts of owning the building because he never thought he would have the opportunity. However, he said he had long appreciated the historical significance of the Rock Building and continues to have great admiration for the craftsmanship of the stonemasons and others who constructed the “masterpiece.”

“The stonework on this building is incredible,” Bundy said. “No telling how many rocks it took and it’s masterful the way it was constructed. I wanted to see it preserved and I thought it was a good investment.”

At that time, Bundy had not been inside the Rock Building.

“I needed to get in and see what all had to be done to preserve it,” he said. “First, the county board of education had to get their things out so I could get in there.”

Bundy said putting a roof on the building was top priority to prevent any further damage.  And, he had good news for those who wanted to see the historic Rock Building preserved.  “I’m not going to tear the building down,” he said. “The rocks came from all over Pike County. Everybody contributed. It’s part of our history. It’s our heritage and I want to see it preserved.”

With a roof, back on the Rock Building, it stood strong once again. But, a roof and four walls?

But, all the time Charlies Bundy was considering how the Rock Building could be used in a way that would not diminish its historic value and charm.

Fast forward to the year 2024.

Current activity at the Rock Building peeked interest or, perhaps, curiosity. What’s going on at the Rock Building?

Right now, Charlie Bundy is only saying that the Rock Building will be preserved as a Works Progress Administration project and as a cornerstone of downtown Troy.

Guesses have ranged from a restaurant to a movie theater to a skating rink.

…and a bed and breakfast?

“We’ll follow up on that later,” Bundy said, with a smile but  very non-committal.