Bradford County has a rich agricultural history rooted in dairy farming. With this strong foundation it’s no surprise the Troy Sale Barn (former livestock auction site) has remade itself, rising from near destruction to thriving community center.
Formerly known as “the cattle barn”, stomping hooves and caller hollers were heard during live action Wednesdays on Ballard Street in Troy for the better part of a century.
Looking back, one of the strategic planning and contracting lead volunteers and his brother worked for $1.75 per hour for five years. “We had an important job,” he explained, adding, “We cleared the manure from the arena after the sale, then put down fresh straw for the following week.”
Now the retired contractor and his carpenter friend, also retired, manage and implement most of the remodeling of the structure and grounds. But it’s a labor of love.
“We are blessed,” he added.
Built in the 1920’s as a place for dairy farmers to sell breeding stock, weekly sales at the barn evolved during the booming era of local dairy business. The area was renowned for its products from the grass fed livestock of the region.
In the 70’s and 80’s, small dairy farmers faced unrelenting competition from the corporate farming industry. Many operators turned to other sources of income to support their families.
The last sale of livestock at the barn took place in 2004. Troy Borough then purchased the property in 2010.
The sale barn came very close to demolition, but in 2014 it was transferred to the Municipal Authority. The Troy Historical Society took the lead in saving the building, petitioning the community at large. The society leased the sale barn, with renovation plans for a community event center at a cost of $300,000. Early donations came from Repsol Oil and Gas, the Bradford County Board of Commissioners, and numerous businesses and individuals to support the cause. Volunteers showed up to provide labor.
Four years later, with some changes in leadership, much of the renovating is complete. The old cattle barn is again a vital part of the community. With the guidance of the non-profit, the Troy Sale Barn Operating Corporation, the event book is filling up with activity, into 2020.
The interior is in its second project phase. This includes the refurbishing of the arena, where the cattle were once shown and sold. The vision is to create a theater in the area where the historic auctions occurred.
Seating for up to 250 has been donated by C&N Bank, from the second floor of the Van Dyne Building. Sponsorships of seats are available at $150 each, as well. Cummings Lumber will provide the hardwood flooring for the arena stage as well as the separate reception hall stage.
There are many ways to donate. No amount of time or monetary gift is too small, (or too large). Community Partners and private donations have been very generous to date. Follow their community events calendar to support fundraising opportunities as well.
The grand hall is a popular wedding reception venue on weekends. During the week, meetings and small events gather at the Troy Sale Barn to include archery, FFA, the Chamber of Commerce and Garden Club. Bingo is coming soon with the acquisition of a gaming license.
”Part of our mission is to provide free public education, centered on the region, its history, and value to the community,” said board member and volunteer Joy Laue.
She explained, “Examples are Rich Pawling’s recent presentation, Connecting the Farm to the Forest, which shared the area’s lumber heritage; and October’s Harvest Dance, celebrating fall with butter churning, apple cider pressing, pumpkin carving and square dancing. Hometown Christmas is coming in November and the annual community dinner dance in January was so much fun last year.
The exterior of the barn has been painted a traditional barn red, and storm water drainage is being placed along with surface grading prior to paving the parking areas at the front and rear of the building. The Case Foundation Grant afforded the completion of landscaping, lighting, curbs and signage. A Four Seasons Mural is a memorable view on the floodwall at Smead Creek, adjacent to the property. Artists Bonnie Bell and Sadie Allen teamed up to paint vivid and lively scenes of the passing of time in all its annual glories.
There is still fundraising to do. An accessible walkway, retaining walls, a flagpole, and an outdoor patio are among items on the waitlist. With all that’s been achieved so far, there is little doubt the funds will arrive.
The Troy Sale Barn has gone from rugged to refined over the last hundred years. The legacy of farm activities is preserved by displays on the walls of a structure built by prospering dairy farmers nearly a century ago. No more sounds of cows mooing. Now they hear the crowds clapping, folks dancing, and children laughing in the big red barn downtown. The Troy Sale Barn has renewed its status in modern times as a prominent gathering place for community minded folks.
If interested in reserving the space, signing up for the e-Letter, “Out Behind the Barn”, or for general questions call Nicole Carman Harris at (570) 337-0815 or Bill Bower at (570) 297-2943. See the progress by video on Facebook, compliments of Steve Robbins.
Find Troy Sale Barn at 50 Ballard St., Troy, Pa. or visit www.troysalebarn.com.