Sunday, November 1, 2009

former St. John's Lutheran, Rocky Ridge

As one enters the tiny hamlet of Rocky Ridge, this stately old steeple towers over the town. I had to go see what it was!
But as you round the corner toward the church, it becomes immediately obvious that something is NOT. RIGHT.
Now this is about sad.
What a MESS! Obviously abandoned for many years. I thought this only happened in the big city. Deteriorating, falling apart, forgotten. Rotting. What WAS this tattered place that was obviously beautiful at some distant time past??!?
Oh, for cryin' out loud.
Oh, this is just a crime.
The St. John's congregation still exists, in their newer and larger church at the edge of town that they built in 1967 (taking the old bell with them). At the time, they properly sold the building. It's out of their hands (but I'm guessing it's not out of their hearts).
While I was taking these pictures, I was joined by a lady by the name of LaVerne who lives right across the street. She has co-written a book called "Reflections of Rocky Ridge", that can be had at the Port Clinton or Oak Harbor library (and I intend to get the book when I can; it's not carried at the Toledo library). She told me that she had grown up in this church, was baptized and confirmed here. She talked about the little evangelical congregation that used the church for some years after St. John's sold it; that on warm summer Sunday evenings, they'd prop the front doors open during their services, and she'd listen to and enjoy their music.
But eventually that congregation disappeared. The church was shuttered and abandoned; but that it was purchased at some point by a SLUM LORD (my words) in a nearby town who just hasn't done anything with it but let it sit and rot. He owns other properties in the town, a former grocery store next to the church, now boarded up and suffering the same fate. Shameful. (In other words, it really IS a crime.)
The overgrowth of flowers and vines gives this buttress a strangely tranquil appearance, even though it's on the verge of collapsing.
What IS this, anyway?? Some sort of septic tank sitting in the yard?!
I was told that flocks of pigeons have been known to use the building as a roosting place (thus adding, no doubt, to the highly unpleasant circumstances on the other side of that barricaded door). This makes it easy for them. Let's not even talk about bats.
Hey, Rocky Ridge SLUM LORD. CLEAN IT UP!! The people of this little village don't want to have to keep looking at this. Either fix it up and get tenants in it -- these things are in demand as private homes these days, there's a beautiful little one in Scotch Ridge -- or tear it down. It hurts me to suggest that, but this is an eyesore in an otherwise bucolic little town that doesn't want this sort of big-city blight in their midst. Quit using it as a tax writeoff excuse. CLEAN IT UP!!!

2 comments:

  1. I was in that church legally in the 90s. It was abandond then. It was beautiful inside.

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    1. Oh, I'll bet it was. Does anyone out there have any old photos? I'm thinking of some really sweet little country churches I've seen in my travels around NW Ohio. This sort of thing just sickens me. We have a few really unpleasant examples of this sort of thing in Toledo. That's really where you'd expect to see it; not in a cute, quiet little town. Just sad.

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