Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Sad Day for the Troop Barn

It is with some sadness that I am making this post today. When I attended the Annapolis County Heritage Advisory Committee meeting yesterday I learned that the Province of Nova Scotia has started the process to deregister the Troop Round Barn in Granville Centre (just east of Annapolis Royal) as a Provincially Registered Heritage Property. If anyone was wondering, the building was designated in 1984. I can understand why this process has started but it makes me sad all the same. No government authority wants to see something dire happen to one of their registered heritage properties under their watch. Without some immediate attention, this property is heading toward something dire.

The Troop Barn is a graceful octagon with a cupola or lantern on top. It is clad in vertical clapboard and painted a now fading shade of red. This barn has been a landmark in Granville Centre since it was built in 1888 and is one of two surving octagonal barns in this province.

Why have we come to this point? The simple (perhaps simplistic) answers are money and purpose. In our modern age, nobody is willing to purchase the Troop property and try to operate a farm. Even on a small scale, farming would not make much sense economically. So, if the barn is not being used for its intended purpose, what can you do with it? I have heard lots of interesting suggestions. With some significant effort and money, it would make an interesting music hall or theatre. It would also make a very good community hall. In a similar way, it would make an interesting artist's studio or art gallery. I have heard people ponder turning it into some sort of learning institute. Of course, it could also be converted into residential or office space.

What keeps any of this from happening is money. The property is available. It could be purchased for $50,000.00 Canadian but, that would just be the start. It would take a great deal of money and effort to stabilize the barn before any other work could take place. Believe me, stabilization is necessary.

To sum the whole situation up, the property is being deregistered because of its condition. Unless something is done quickly, the barn is going to collapse.

All for now,
RGS

14 comments:

  1. This makes me very sad ... my partner and I were one of those people wondering just what we could do with such a unique property. We had "blue-skyed" about a music studio / performance space - but you hit the nail on the head ... the enormous amount of money needed to bring such a great heritage property to some semblance of glory was simply well beyond our means.

    So, I just keep haunting the real estate listings for something we just can't resist ... the Runciman House peaked my interest but that too requires a significant investment well beyond the purchase price.

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  2. I have actually been in the Runciman House since it was put on the market. While it would take some money and effort to return the grounds to their former glory, the house isn't in horrible shape. It could use some cosmetic work but structurally it seems sound. The silly little porch on the front could also safely vanish.

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  3. The Troop barn, it should also be said, seems to be owned by someone in Great Britain who seems to have a very inflated view of the value of this poor sad creature.

    I understand the Runciman sale has so many riders on it, not many would want to take it on.

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  4. The Runciman House does have some significant riders which are designed to protect the heritage integrity of the building. I believe that these will be legally attached to the title when the property changes hands from now on. I am sure that these riders are having an effect on potential sales.

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  5. Yes, the riders do move forward with the sale of the Runciman House now and for any future sale. But, it's not actually the riders that dissuaded us from pursuing the Runciman House ... Bill and I would be thrilled to be a part of preserving the heritage of such a lovely structure. It's more the work involved ... not so much that we're lazy but the fact that we'd either have to have the work done remotely (we live in Vancouver right now) or we'd have to live on-site through any work we'd need done. And, when you're talking about wiring & plumbing upgrades as well as entirely replacing the chimneys in order to make the fireplaces usable it just started to feel way too daunting.

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  6. James Frank
    It just seems so sad when money dictates over a peice of rare history that the province had in its hands

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  7. Could it be it's time to review what can and cannot be done to heritage properties? Possibly with some rule changes more heritage properties could be designated and preserved.

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  8. The barn and the land it stands upon was offered as a 'gift' to the local Municipality by the owner. With luck it will be rebuilt as a Community Hall who will maintain it in the style a building of this age should be maintained and have a good though new use.

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  9. There is a lot of blame that can be shared around for the Troop barn being taken down. There were many discussions by the local Municipality of taking over the property. Expropriation was even discussed for some time with local planners exploring the site. The council eventually voted plans down due to the cost of the building's repairs. Sadly, a building for an agricultural museum is still needed at the site of the Annapolis County Exhibition in Lawrencetown. If the building needed to move, keeping it in Annapolis County would have been best. A situation like this does not make anyone interested in preserving local heritage look or feel especially noble.
    RGS

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  10. This barn was built by a distant relative and,as such, this news makes me very sad indeed. I've had a picture of this barn on my desk in Calgary for several years now.

    I hope some solution can be found for this piece of history


    Heather Troop Hopkin

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  11. Who was your distant relative who built it my dad grew up there.William B Troop was his grandfather my great grandfather. M y dads name is Walter Troop mine is David Troop.

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  12. In moral rights, I feel, the Province of Nova Scotia, should have given the Troop Barn to the Municipality of Annapolis Royal.

    The Municipality could have supported the surrounding communities, in fund raising activities, etc, to restore, & revive the barn for unlimited Community possibilities.

    Sadly, for Annapolis County, the Troop Barn has been carefully taken down, and is presently being reconstructed in Kingsburg, Nova Scotia.

    Yes, the Troop Barn has lost its historic value. On the other hand, it has gained a new life, as a Community Center, in an oceanside panoramic view surrounding.

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  13. Just to be clear, the Troop barn was owned privately and not by the Province of Nova Scotia.

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  14. This barn was removed from the site and reconstructed in Kingsburg in Lunenburg County. My mother and brother and sister have visited the site and gave some history on it as it was built by my family. My grandmother Elizabeth Troop grew up on this property, and my mother Joanne has many fond memories of playing in the barn during the years. When we buried my grandmother in Granville Center 4 years ago, us the family visited the barn and I have my possession one of the floor boards out of the barn. I'll miss seeing the barn in granville center.

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