This site is devoted to recording the history of Rock, West Virginia, a small town located on the waters of the Bluestone River in Southern West Virginia. As you read through the pages of this site you will learn more about the history of Rock. You will also find some current community information.

Overview

Post Office

Rock was originally established as "The Rock" in Mercer County, Virginia on Sept. 18, 1855 when first post office was established and the first postmaster appointed. In those days prior to the Civil War, West Virginia did not exist as a state. It was not until June 20, 1863, by proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln that the new state of West Virginia was created. It is the only state that was created due to the civil war. Near the town is a rock cliff, that is about 100 feet high. It is across the Bluestone from State Route 71. This is the rock or rock cliff for which the town was named.

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Post Office

Post Office

In the summer of 1926, William O. Keys prayed for a job, and God showed him a mail route which was not in existence. He wrote to the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C. for an application blank for a rural route. It came in a few days. A few days later, he was on horseback with the application, getting signers for the proposed route. Then he mailed the application with the signatures back to the P.O. Department. The application was accepted and he received a letter from an Inspector Buckley, who asked him to meet him in Matoaka, WV. He said he needed a car with a speedometer to measure the route.

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Old Steel Bridge

Old Steel Bridge

At the South end of Rock, a modern concrete bridge spans the Bluestone River. It was only a few years ago that this modern bridge replaced a rusty and rickety old steel bridge. The steel bridge stood for many years and probably carried millions of cars, trucks and school buses across the river. The old steel bridge was built in the day of the T-model and many a horse and wagon also crossed the old bridge. It was a good well built one lane bridge and served it's purpose very well in it's day. When the old bridge was in place vehicles had to slow almost to a walking speed to negeotate the 90 degree access on each end of the bridge.

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Schools

Rock School

Early schools in the area were fairly accessible by foot. The first school in Rock was above the Norfolk and Western Railroad and below the Baptist Church. It was a one-room school. As the population grew a larger, four-room school was built across the river where the road started up Black Oak Mountain. Because of declining enrollment it was closed in 1973 and consolidated with Montcalm Elementary School in 1974.

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Methodist Church

Methodist Church

The first church was built of logs in 1853 by Methodists who joined with neighboring settlers. It was located near the Virginian Railroad tunnel, on a knoll, on the Blackoak Mountain Road off of State Route 71. The church was first named "Old Zion". In 1887 the church united with Cedar Cliff members and formed a church on the present location. The land was dontated by Charles Walker Bailey and the lumber by Samuel Shutt. The name of the church was changed to Rock Episcopal Methodist.

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Baptist Church

Baptist Church

The Baptist Church is located well up on the side of a hill on the East side of the Bluestone river in the heart of Rock. It is still in use as a church to this day. The Rock Baptist Church was built between 1914 and 1916. The church was named Good Hope Baptist Church. Some of the pastors and minister's that served the church were: Rev. I.A. Gadd, Rev. C.D. Sweet, Rev. W.O. Keys, Rev. Cleve Young., Rev. Paul Hall, Rev. James Dunford and Rev. Snidow.

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Businesses Of The Past

Kelly's Store

In its "hey day" Rock was the home of four stores, a boarding house, coffin shop, a lively stable, blacksmith shop, saloon, planing mill, a barrel stave mill, two railroad freight stations. There was also a slaughterhouse for a short period of time, a bottling plant and a hospital. The stores sold general merchandise necessary for survival in this rural community. Three stores were on the north side of the Bluestone and the other one was on the south side of the river, across the road from the Rock Cliff Mineral Springs Bottling Plant.

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The Old Tunnel Mill

Railroad Tunnel

The eldest son of Samuel Bailey, Chrispianos whose name is sometimes spelled Chrispi Anos, lived on and operated a large farm about a mile below Rock, West Virginia, on the Lake Shawnee Road, overlooking the scenic Bluestone River. About a quarter of a mile from his beautiful old home is a loop of the river, one and seven-eights of a mile long; however, the loop is only fifty yards across. At the neck there is a layer of rock at the river's surface, then a layer of sand, about seven feet in thickness, with another layer of rock above. The river falls twenty feet in the length of the loop.

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Cemeterys

Rock Cemetery

For the families who lost loved ones there is a cemetery close by Rock proper and five in the outlying areas. The first to be started is called the Bailey Cemetery, located at the forks of the Matoaka, Wright Mountain and River Road. It was on property owned by Richard Bailey, Jr. and he was one of the first to be buried there. The largest of the four cemeteries in the outlying area is located part way up Browning Lambert Mountain and is on property once owned by Bluford Bailey.

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Contributors

Contributors

Would you like to be a contributor to this web site. There are many folks including Rock residents past and present who would like to read your article. Contact the editor, Dollie Mae Keys Lawrence to have your article or story icluded. To read articles of those who have already contributed go to the contributors page.

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