Conoy Township supervisors agreed to buy a historic blacksmith shop in downtown Bainbridge with blacksmith tools included for $97,500.
Supervisors said at their meeting on Thursday, Oct. 10, that if they did not buy the property at 15 S. Second St. from owner Wayne Brooks, it would likely be torn down, and purchasing it gives the township a chance to preserve its history.
“If we don’t buy this building today, there’s already other buyers lined up,” Supervisors Chairman Stephen L. Mohr Sr. said.
One citizen questioned why the township would spend money to buy a building when it had put off road repairs. Mohr said he was willing to drive over some potholes to preserve something for future generations.
“If we don’t follow through, we’ll be chastised and criticized for the next hundred years,” Mohr said. He said Pennsylvania long rifles had been made from scratch there when it was still an operating blacksmith shop. A real estate website offering the property for sale indicated that it was operating as a blacksmith shop until 1990, with 28 blacksmiths working there over the years.
Mohr said the building dates to about 1810 or 1820 and is the oldest building in the densely populated village of Bainbridge, though there are other buildings in the township outside the village that rival it.
Mohr said the building could be used for live demonstrations of blacksmithing and could be a place to display historic artifacts. His daughter Kendra Mohr, who chairs the township Zoning Hearing Board, said the township could sell it to a preservation group with a requirement that the historic structure be maintained.
“Just because the township’s buying it today doesn’t mean the township’s going to own it forever,” Kendra Mohr said.
In other business, supervisors agreed to postpone action on an agreement with East Donegal Township and Marietta Borough for continuation of the Susquehanna Regional Police Department and to authorize the township solicitor to re-advertise the proposed ordinance so it could be voted on at the November or December meeting.