It has been a busy two weeks. We have welcomed, on average, three separate school field trips to the Village each day. Nearly 100 men and women attended a terrific “Lone Ranger Tea” and met a retired actress who worked on that show at age six! Troy Garden Club volunteers pulled all of the day lily bulbs out of an overgrown flower bed in front of the Caswell House while ‘Farmer Bill’ Warren built new square foot plots for the Pioneer Garden. Other volunteers scanned photos, cleaned up the collections storage area in the Church, and oriented six new volunteers.
One recent visitor who was searching for a parking space asked me if there was a special event that day. I replied, “No, this is what a busy spring week in the Village looks like.” Now I can add that this time next year we will be able to welcome even more guests to the Village. On May 8 Troy City Council will approve the City’s Budget for 2017/18, which includes $450,000 to rehabilitate the 1837 Niles Barnard House. This historically significant building has stood unrestored and unusable since it was moved to the Village in 2010. The house was donated to the City in 2005.
So what will the City and those who value the Troy Historic Village gain through this project? Seventeen hundred square feet of main floor space will be available for new programs. This space will also be rented out for business meetings, wedding receptions, and other events. Funds generated through those uses will improve the bottom line for Village operations– a goal shared by the City and the Troy Historical Society. But perhaps more important, the community will preserve a home where nearly 200 years ago people envisioned building a great city in a new state.
That thought was shared this week by one of our Trustees who mused, “Only 20 years from now (in 2017) the State of Michigan will celebrate its bicentennial. Troy will be the only city in the entire State of Michigan that can boast as many as 3 locally constructed buildings as old, or older, than the state that are restored and open to the public. Mackinac Island (State Park) has more and older, but it isn’t a city. And the older buildings of Greenfield Village were moved to Dearborn by Henry Ford from all over the country.”
Way to go, Troy!
Photo: Architect’s rendering of the interior of the restored Niles Barnard House