Stone structure in Troy finds new life

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By Vince Luecke

TROY - A stoutly built stone structure possibly used as an icehouse in Troy will find a new home in the Shubael Little Pioneer Village. St. Pius Catholic Church has donated the stone building, which is located near Indiana 66. It will be disassembled block by block this fall and restored at the village near Rocky Point.

Well over a century old, the structure will be rebuilt to its original standards, including a wood shake roof, said Chuck Poehlein, developer of the village that already includes several log cabins.

How the building was used over the years isn't entirely clear and several people have speculated about its original use, Poehlein said. Many have said it was used as an icehouse and longtime resident Frances Kuntz said her mother purchased ice cream there in the early 1900s. Henry Lindeman operated a store there and sold ice cream. The thick stone walls would have been well-suited for an icehouse.

According to the late Frank Baertich, who wrote "The History of Troy, Indiana," another man may have also used the building to sell sweets to Trojans. According to Baertich,  Fritz Schmitt settled in Troy after emigrating from Germany and baked bread kuchen and pretzel - the county's first - from a baker located near the river.

Schmitt later moved his bakery and confectionery uptown. "It was in the small stone building ... on the Henry Lindeman property that he kept his ice and made ice cream," Baertich wrote.

The store was razed but the stone building remained.

Joyce Efinger, who restored the old stone hotel in Troy with her husband, James, said the hotel and small stone building appear to be constructed of similar stone.

"We know the hotel was built between 1841 and 1860," said Poehlein. "So we're going to assume the small stone structure was built about the same time."

Joyce Efinger raised the possibility that the building could have been a jail in Troy's early days while Poehlein said it might have been connected to Troy's meatpacking industry.

"There were holding pens there for livestock and long before the days of refrigeration, they were butchering hogs, packing them in barrels with salt and shipping them down river on flatboats as far as New Orleans," he said.

The building would have offered a cool and secure location to house meat.

While the stone building won't be erected yet, an open house is scheduled at the village Oct. 17. Carter Cabin will be completely finished for the event, Poehlein said, while a fifth log cabin, the George Little homestead on Mogan Ridge, was recently donated to the village by the Little heirs and was recently removed. It, too, will be rebuilt at the village.