Preservation Ohio has named a historic Troy building to its statewide list of most endangered historic sites for a second straight year.
The building, located at 112-118 W. Main Street in downtown Troy, in recent years has been the focus of an intense skirmish between its owner, who wants to demolish the building, and owners of neighboring properties on both sides, as well as the Troy Historic Preservation Alliance. The Alliance and neighboring property owners won a court battle last year that reversed the City of Troy’s permission to demolish the building, but the property owner has continued his pursuit of demolition by claiming that the building is structurally unsafe following a tornado that hit downtown Troy in January 2020.
The building includes both the old Miami County courthouse, built in 1840-41, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows building, which was grafted in 1902 onto the front of the courthouse along West Main Street. Known by some today as the Tavern Building, it is associated with events of national, state, and local significance. Among them:
• Nearly 400 formerly enslaved people, upon gaining their freedom in Virginia, had to register at the courthouse in 1846 under Ohio’s Black laws. The Black laws made it more difficult for Black people to settle in Ohio, often requiring them to post a $500 bond in court and to prove that they were freeborn or had emancipation records. The most pernicious of the laws were repealed in 1849. The large group of formerly enslaved people who registered at this courthouse, known as the Randolph freed people, are believed to have been part of the largest emancipation in U.S. history prior to the Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War.
• The old Miami County courthouse is the sixth oldest surviving courthouse in Ohio.
• The building was represented in a folk art painting in 1884 during the last of the so-called “Courthouse Wars” between Troy and Piqua. In the pro-Piqua painting, a man is
depicted as “stealing” the courthouse from Troy for “remodeling” in Piqua.
• The IOOF building along West Main Street, meanwhile, is an example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture and is a critical part of the historic streetscape along heavily traveled West Main Street.
“We are grateful to Preservation Ohio for recognizing the plight of this building, one of the most historic in Troy and Miami County,” said Ben Sutherly, president of the Troy Historic Preservation Alliance. “Troy has one of the region’s most beautiful downtowns, the result of a culture of stewardship that spans two centuries. This building can be a key contributor to our thriving downtown in the right hands, and we are committed to preserving it for future generations.”
The Troy Historic Preservation Alliance, which became a 501(c)3 in 2021, advocates for the preservation, restoration, and repurposing of Troy’s historic places. To learn more, visit www.thpatroy.org.
Troy Court House in 1854
Tavern building in 1960's