Troy history group works on Tavern/IOOF building; must fix by April 30 or demolish

THPA has raised $630,000 of $750,000 goal, cites historic nature of old courthouse, connection to Randolph Free People in 1840s

TROY — Work to stabilize the buildings at 112-118 W. Main St. in Troy’s historic district will begin this week, following approval of a permit for repairs. That process was outlined in a December settlement of the extended legal disputes over the fate of the structures, which are now owned by the Troy Historic Preservation Alliance.

The nonprofit organization has raised $630,000 toward its $750,000 goal for the stabilization work on the buildings dating to the 1840s and 1902. Donations have ranged from $5 to several hundred thousand. For more information on the fundraising and donations, visit

“This project is an opportunity for this community to come together and show what we are made of. This building has been the subject of a lot of legal disputes, and now it feels good to turn the corner and put energy toward something positive for the community,” said Ben Sutherly, president of the nonprofit THPA.

The buildings, known as the Tavern and now by their new owners as the IOOF/old Miami County Courthouse, were damaged in a January 2020 tornado that swept through the downtown, and again in windstorms last spring. IOOF stands for Independent Order of Oddfellows, a social organization whose initials have been in stone near the top of the building’s front facade for years.

The Troy Planning Commission and the city Board of Zoning Appeals approved a demolition permit for the structures in 2021, but their decisions were overturned by Judge Stacy Wall. The 2nd District Court of Appeals upheld that ruling.

The parties in the dispute reached a settlement in litigation pending in Miami County courts and Ohio’s 2nd District Court of Appeals on Dec. 22 following weeks of mediation led by Judge Wall.

Under the agreement, THPA bought the structures from owner 116 West Main Street and Randy Kimmel of Covington for $485,000. THPA agreed to make a series of repairs that the county chief building official Rob England said were required to make the structures safe.

If repairs to stabilize are not made by April 30, “the THPA shall demolish both the 1902 building and the 1841 building and remove all demolition debris from the premises no later than 30 days after the deadline (May 30),” the agreement states.

Repairing versus demolition also means the street in front of the buildings, blocked since last summer due to collapse concerns by some, can again be open a month earlier, Sutherly said.

He and THPA have been sharing access to parts of the buildings and discussing the history of the structures before repairs, coordinated by Level MB Construction of Troy with several subcontractors.

Among the THPA arguments for saving the building was historical elements of the old courthouse and the role the building played in the arrival of the Randolph Free People in Miami County in the 1840s. Nearly 400 Randolph Free People were freed from their owner’s Virginia plantation and made their way to Cincinnati and north on the canal to New Bremen, where they were turned away. They later arrived in Miami County, where Ohio black laws required them to register at the local courthouse and have a white person post $500 and attest to their character, Sutherly said.

He said THPA’s role at this point is to make sure the buildings get back on a path toward reuse and contributing to the downtown again. “How involved we are in taking it to the point of white-boxing it (first floor) out is still an open question,” he said. White-boxing refers to fully preparing a space for a tenant.

THPA has had interest in use of the buildings.

“We are going to see more interest once stabilized, just given how well the downtown is doing right now,” Sutherly said.

The buildings play a key role in their block downtown, just a block west of the Public Square, and along with the Masonic building across the street made up the “visual anchor” for the block, he said.

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