Above is a post card of the Troy City Building in 1899. Below is how it looks today.
Troy City Building Has Undergone Many Changes
By Judy Deeter
TROY - People looking at old photographs of Troy’s South Market Street are often surprised to see a tall clock tower at the top of the Troy City Building. The image in this post card above (from 1899) shows that it was originally constructed as a much taller building than it stands today. It has changed greatly down through the years -- both architecturally and how it has been used.
The building, located at 100 S. Market St., opened March 12, 1877. Back then, it had a clock tower, fire bell, attic at its top, and an Opera House on the third floor. The bell and clock tower were removed in 1936; the attic and third floor in 1950.
Architect-builder Frank Johnson designed the building, supposedly with input from several local citizens. Stone quarry owner D.C. Statler of Piqua provided the building stone for the foundation and basement walls. It is said that he brought the stone to Troy on his own canal boat. Andrew Dall from Cleveland constructed the building’s stone walls. It is believed the stone used in the walls came from a “famous” stone quarry at Amhert, Ohio. A former Civil War soldier named O.M. Tullis did the plastering.
Prior to the opening of this building, a Troy City Building was located at the southeast corner of West Main and Cherry streets. (It is not the same building that is at that location today). The former City Building served as a Market House for farmers to sell their produce and had a grocery store operated by a gentleman named H.P. Weatherhead. When the new City Building opened, Weatherhead moved his business to the lower floor of the new city building on South Market Street. In 1896, a grocery named the Troy Grocery Company operated in the building and the Troy City directory for 1900 shows that a J.B. Zigenfelder had a grocery business there. A farmer’s market was also there in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as the Troy Post Office.
In 1880, Troy’s public library opened on the second floor. Except for a few years between 1887 and 1896, the library was housed either on the first or second floor of the building until the 1940s.
The Troy City Council also gave a room on the second floor to the Women’s Christian Association of Troy. This charitable organization served as a relief agency for the poor, supplying them with food, clothing and wood or coal to heat their homes. Troy residents brought their used clothing to the WCA’s second floor club room for distribution.
The most interesting events in the building had to do with performers at the Opera House. In Thomas Bemis Wheeler’s book TROY THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, Wheeler says the most spectacular performance in the Opera House was that of Professor Crockett’s “Famous Horse Show.” Wheeler said that Crockett’s animals—24 horses, six ponies, and a burro—followed Crockett from the ground floor up the stairway to the Opera House.
There, in a performance battle scene, “horses defending the fort fired cannons with their teeth, while horses attacking the fort fired guns strapped to their heads.”
Wheeler also says in his book that the Troy Lecture Association brought several famous people to the Opera House in the 1880s. These included Indiana poet James Whitcomb Riley, Civil War General Lew Wallace (who was the author of the work “Ben Hur, a Tale of Christ and whose grandfather Andrew Wallace had laid out the Troy Public Square), General George A. Sheridan (brother of Civil War General Phil Sheridan) and a Republican Congressman from Canton, Ohio named William McKinley (who later became President of the United States).
The Opera House was the center of Troy culture for many years, but was not used after 1912. It is believed to have been condemned for public use at that time.
The building was remodeled during 1969 and 1970 and re-dedicated on May 30, 1970. Troy City offices are located in the building and the City Council meets regularly in the building twice each month.