11-7-15-Church Groundbreaking
11-7-15-EArly THS members discuss Caswell House

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Troy Historical Society was organized in 1966 as a nonprofit organization focused on preserving their community’s past. The Charter members of the Society, including civic leaders Morris Wattles, Lois Lance, and Norman Barnard, saw that with each commercial and residential development in the new city the farmsteads, homes, and businesses from the pioneer and township eras disappeared. Beginning with the 1832 Caswell House, the Historical Society spearheaded efforts  to acquire threatened historic buildings by gift agreement or purchase and raised the money to relocate the buildings to the vacant land behind the 1927 Township Hall on Wattles Road at Livernois. Then the Society contributed funds and volunteer labor in partnership with the City of Troy to restore the buildings. Over the course of 40 years the Troy historic Village was developed.

As the Village grew, the Historical Society invested time and resources to develop special events and programs in the Village, contributing 4,000- 6,000 hours of volunteer service annually.  The total capital and volunteer investment in the Village in the last 49 years is over $3,500,000. The Hand & Eye Show, a popular holiday craft show, was the primary fundraising event of the Society for over 20 years.

Much changed as a result of the recent Great Recession (2007-2009.) As a part of massive budget cuts in 2010 and 2011, the City of Troy transferred operational management of the Troy Historic Village to the Troy Historical Society in 2011. Since assuming its new governance role, the Troy Historical Society has expanded its mission and vision for the Troy Historic Village. The Society now employs Village staff, manages volunteer support, and is responsible for all Village programs and services.

In 2016 the Troy Historical Society will celebrate the organization’s 50th anniversary.


Troy Historical Society members in 1968 (Morris Wattles standing on the right)

Groundbreaking Ceremony at the Village before the 1837 Church is relocated. Pictured left to right are City dignitaries with Troy Historical Society members: Library Director Brian Stoutenburg, Fred Rounds, Councilwoman Christina Broomfield, Muriel Rounds, Gloria Anderlie, Mary Cornelius, Councilwoman Robin Beltramini, Walter Cornelius, City Manager John Szerlag, Harriet Barnard, Jack Turner, Thelma Holdburg, Al Holdburg, Councilman Dave Lambert, Bill Price, Museum Director Loraine Campbell, and Architect Gerald Yurk.

Sources: Village archives

To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at ed@thvmail.org.

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