City Directories and History: 1908 – Ms. Sarah Roach (Teacher), Nellie Roach, Mary Roach (Teacher – Central School), all living at 114 Caldwell Street.
The Herald reported on June 21, 1902 – “That the Federal Government issued an official notice for proposals to sell to the government a site for a new federal building.” The Herald reported on July 16th, that “a bid was submitted for sale of a lot for the federal building by J.J. Roach for a lot of 100 ft fronting main street and 135 ft fronting Caldwell Street.”
The Herald reported on July 18, 1903 – “That contractor S.A. Clark is erecting a nine room house for the Messes Roach on Caldwell Street for $2,000. and a five room cottage on Academy for Mr. John A. Steele for $1,400; a six room cottage for Mrs. L. A. Barron on Park Avenue for $10147.00; an eight room cottage for W.B. Wilson, Jr., at the corner of Aiken and Charlotte for $1,500; a nine room dwelling for Mr. J. Lon Moore on Oakland Avenue $1,900. Also Mr. M.B. Massey is to erect an eight room house on East Wilson for about $1,750. and plans are being drawn for an eight room dwelling for Dr. W.A. Pressley on South Johnston to cost about $1,800.”
The Rock Hill Herald reported on Oct. 1903 – “Mr. L.S. Benham had the contract for numbering the houses in Rock Hill and placing street signs. He has numbered 961 houses at a cost of $216.22, a cost covered by home owners, seventy street signs were erected at a cost $153.12, a cost covered by the City of Rock Hill. This does not include houses in either Arcade and Victoria villages and some in Highland Park. The City is now ready for free mail delivery.”
The Rock Hill Record reported on May 20, 1904 – “That E.E. Poag, Postmaster, has received a letter from the Federal Government reporting that sketch plans for the new post office building have been approve and the working drawings have been started.”
Lots 9 and 10 North—Owing to the relocation of the twenty-foot alley on the north side of Main Street, it was necessary to use most of Lot 9 for what became Caldwell Street in later years. At the direction of A. T. Black, thirty-three feet of Lot 9 became a part of Lot 10 as originally laid out in 1851. Since Lot 10 was intended to be 103’ in width, the total front footage of the redrawn lot was 136’. This lot of 136’ was then divided into two lots, each measuring 68’ x 212’. The portion next to the cross alley (the western half) was sold by A. T. Black between 1852 and 1854 to Hugh Simpson of Chester District, S. C., who probably built a small residence on the lot. No deed for this transaction was recorded. In 1902 when the Roach family wanted to sell the property to the United States government (it was to be the site of the new building for the post office in Rock Hill), Dr. Isaiah Simpson, son of the late Hugh Simpson, offered a quit-claim deed in order to clear the title. The document he produced bore the date December 10, 1869. It was recorded in Yorkville on December 8, 1902. In this deed A. T. Black confirmed his sale of the lot to ‘Squire Hugh Simpson, a cabinet maker, in the 1850’s and then deeded the same property to Dr. Isaiah Simpson. The consideration in 1869 was $65. On February 22, 1870, Dr. Isaiah Simpson sold this lot of 68’ to John J. Roach for $500. Mr. Roach had just moved to Rock Hill and soon went into partnership with Colonel J. M. Ivy, cotton merchant.
We come now to the second (or eastern) half of the lot of 136’ mentioned above. In the 1850’s Silas Shelby Elam of Chester District, S. C., purchased the lot from A. T. Black and proceeded to build on the property, with his own hands, a frame house of undetermined size. In order to finance the construction, Elam mortgaged the property to the firm of Roddey & Company (the partners of which were David C. Roddey, brother of Captain W. L. Roddey; Joseph Wylie, uncle of Captain Roddey; and T. Henry Moffatt, wealthy merchant and planter of Chester District). When S. S. Elam was unable to pay off his debts, the mortgage was foreclosed. Then on October 15, 1866, the new owners sold the lot to John J. Roach, for $400. Thus Mr. Roach became the sole owner of the redrawn lots, which, as stated measured 136’ in front and 212’ in depth. His family continued to live there for many years to come. The writer has an old photograph of the Roach house, a two-story frame structure. Whether Mr. Roach built a new house when he bought the property or whether he enlarged the house that Elam built we have no way of knowing now.
We do know, however, that Mr. Roach’s heirs, his daughters (Emma J. Roach, Nellie R. Roach, Mary A. Roach, and Margaret H. Roach), sold the house and the land it stood on to the United States of America on April 25, 1903, the site to be used for erecting a new post office building. The Roach house was torn down. The family built a new house on the rear portion of the same lot, but this house faced Caldwell Street.
Twenty-seven years later, the U. S. Post Office Department, needing additional space, instituted proceedings to acquire the Roach house and the land where it stood. It appears that the family balked this time. But the Federal Government won. The property was condemned at a valuation of $21,300. The house was then rolled from its foundation to a lot on the newly opened St. John’s Court, some hundreds of feet to the east of the Caldwell Street location. After the death of the last member of the family, Miss Margaret Adams Chreitzberg, the
house was sold and then demolished. The lot on which it stood is now a part of the parking lot of St. John’s Methodist Church.
Perhaps we should record here that the post office built on the Roach lot in 1905-06 was itself moved from Main Street to a site on Oakland Avenue next door to St. John’s Methodist church. A well-known house-moving contractor from Charlotte, N. C., D. B. Stearnes, received the contract to move the large, ponderous brick and granite structure to its new lot about 1930, when the Federal Government decided to erect a new and larger post office building, with space for the Federal courtroom on the second floor. Older Rock Hillians stood in admiration of Mr. Stearnes’ considerable talents. They always said that the moved the old post office building without even cracking the plastering. And the writer may also mention that, while Mr. Stearnes was living in Rock Hill at that time, he had a room and took his meals at the home of the late Miss Mattie R. White, great-aunt of the writer, who himself has no personal memories of the experience, since he was only one year old at the time.
Click on the More Information > link found below the picture column for additional data. Click on Laurelwood Cemetery Tours for J.J. Roach’s gravesite.
[Information provided via Along the Land’s Ford Road – Vol. I, 2008 by William B. White, Jr.]
The SC Architects: 1885 – 1935, Wells and Dalton, 1992 state, “the 1931 Post Office and Federal Building in Rock Hill was designed by James A. Wetmore in 1931 at a cost of $275,000.”
The Herald reported on April 29, 1903 – “That the Roach lot was purchased today for the US Post Office building. The amount paid was $5,500.”
The Herald reported on June 4, 1931 – “That bids have been opened in Washington DC for the new Federal Building in Rock Hill. The low bidder is Batson – Cook Company of Westpoint, Ga., at a bid of $175,773.”
The Herald reported on July 4, 1931 – “Mr. S.L. Hodge is here with Batson – Cook Company to oversee the construction of the Federal Building.”
The Herald reported on July 24, 1931 – “Work on excavating the new post office building, which will stand on the site formerly occupied by the new library building is progressing satisfactorily.”
History of the Rock Hill Post Office: This was an article in the Herald on May 29, 1931 provided as part of an advertisement for People’s National Bank, the information from Buena Wood due to the first day the Post Office was being operated on a temporary basis on Hampton Street as the new Federal Building (Gettys Center) was being constructed.
“The first PO in Rock Hill was on Trade Street, where the A&P Grocery store is now (1931), Mr. Ferguson was Post Master. The next site was on West Main Street, on the lot now occupied by Marshall Oil Company in 1931. The Post Mistress was Maria Rutland. The PO then moved to Ratterree’s Corner on the spot now occupied (1931) by Hood Clothing Company. Col. William Kerr was Post Master. The next site was on Main Street in a building adjacent to W.L. Roddey and Company. A fire destroyed this building and it was then moved to the Roddey Hotel. Miss Buena Wood was then Post Mistress. The PO then moved to one of Mr. Roddey’s storerooms now occupied by Rock Hill Hardware Company in 1931. Col. Cad J. Pride was the Post Master. The next site was on Main Street in the White Property, now partly occupied by the Merritt Shoe Company in 1931. The next Post Master was E.E. Poag. In 1906 the present PO on the corner of Main and Caldwell was built, following Mr. Poag, post master have been; V.B. McFadden, E.E. Poag and A.R. Barrett. Temporary quarters for the PO are now in the Barber – Sykes Building on Hampton Street opposite the City Hall.”
Buena Wood – Author
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