Every day Book House owner Michelle Barron drove past the shell of her old Rock Hill storefront wondering, "Will today be the day they tear it down?"
Tuesday, she got her answer. As she drove past in the morning, construction crews were already halfway through demolishing the 161-year-old home that once housed a bookstore beloved by St. Louis County readers. The two-story gothic revival house was torn down to make way for an EZ Storage.
"It feels like something died, it really does," Barron tells the Daily RFT. "I haven't let myself get upset yet. There are a million workmen here today painting and dry walling."
Barron is pushing to open a new storefront in Maplewood next month. She's already at least $50,000 over her budget.
"We're going to get it done, we're going to get it open," Barron says. The soft opening is scheduled for February 10. "It's like building a house from the inside out."
But before the new store opens, Barron says, her family, friends and loyal customers are mourning the destruction of her business' former home. Tuesday night, she went to the now-vacant lot and lit a candle.
"That whole house has been more of a home to me than any other place I've been," Barron told Daily RFT in July when it first seemed likely it would be demolished. "I'm really sad to leave it."
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.