Source: Jim Comer
BROCK – The partial building collapse of a nearly 165-year-old building early Friday morning in rural Darke County lends itself to the example of history lost to time.
At approximately 9:30 a.m., emergency personnel from Versailles and North Star fire departments were dispatched to the area of State Route 185 and Greenville-St. Marys Road in regards to power lines and debris laying across the roadway. Arriving crews quickly discovered the situation to be a partial building collapse of the old general store located at 11998 State Route 185.
According to North Star Fire Chief Bill Roll, the cause of the collapse is not believed to be weather related but rather a combination of age and prior structural damage to the building, adding “the mortar just gave out.”
Because of the structural integrity of the building, authorities deemed the structure to be unsafe due to its close proximity to the roadway. Bohman Excavating of Versailles was called to the scene to perform the demolition of the building, which took place within hours of the partial collapse.
Robert Brunswick, the owner of the property, originally bought the historic building with plans to restore the structure. Brunswick said his research has shown that the building was erected sometime in the early 1850s and is thought to have been the original town hall for the community of Brock. The building eventually was converted into a general store that was operational well into the early 1980s.
The community of Brock was established in 1850 with the building of a post office. Over the years a schoolhouse, church and a town hall were added to support the growing population. Today all that is left of the once thriving community is a small unincorporated village and the historic Brock Cemetery, resting place of Darke County’s legendary Annie Oakley.