"It was like a forest of rock sculptures; they were just everywhere," said Kate Logan of Bondville.
After the loss of his furry companion, Grant Bercik, 25, took to the streams of Bondville. Every day after work, Bercik could be found knee deep in the river, creating what many locals called a masterpiece. People driving by say they would see the young man in the river for hours every evening moving rock after rock into towering sculptures that looked as if they defied gravity. And that momentum caught on within the town.
Quickly the stream began filling with sculptures and admirers flocking in from all over the East Coast. Logan says by mid-July there were hundreds of sculptures and a steady flow of fans-- some becoming artists.
"What was so beautiful about the whole thing was that it had spread," Logan said. "It wasn't just about Grant anymore, it was about all these different people going down there, being creative, being in the elements. And to some degree, I am sure lots of people were having their own little moments of healing and creativity."
But early Wednesday morning those rock sculptures were nothing but crumbled piles.
"Oh my gosh, I was distraught all day long yesterday," Logan said. "I saw somebody in the river with a rake, and I pulled over and was like what is this guy doing? And then I saw them, and he was knocking them down one by one with his rake."
Although many locals enjoyed the rock cairns, others felt differently. Like Peter Salo, who says the sculptures are a desecration of nature and he had finally had enough. After months of building, Salo estimates it only took him two hours to rake the rocks down.
"When there was just a few of them up, it's OK, there were just a few rock stackers. I can live with that, I'll put up with that. But when there was 100 of them-- that isn't beauty. I don't care what everybody calls it, 'rock art sculpture' or not," Salo said.
Salo also says safety was a concern. The river is on Route 30 just south of Stratton, and with fast-moving traffic and people walking along the road, Salo says the attraction was more of a hazard.
But Logan says they aren't giving up. Supporters plan to rebuild Saturday morning.
"Rebuild the sculptures and bring everybody together and turn it back into a positive thing and kind of move forward," she said.
A community trying to heal and compromise, one rock at a time.