The Heritage Barn Project

A century ago one thing above all others powered the economy of the City of New York: thousands of tons of hay grown locally on farms throughout the Hudson Valley.

A city filled with hungry horses pulling its freight and moving its people required fresh hay on a daily basis to keep things running smoothly. For a city on the unprecedented scale of New York, daily shipments of fresh hay were no small order. Just getting the hay there required a network of farms, ships, and warehouses in constant operation.

One component in this network made everything possible - the farmer's hay barn and the hay press within. Outwardly simple, the hay barn was more like a factory where cartloads of unseasoned fresh hay were dried before being compacted by the hay press into bales. Those bales then made the long trip from the barn to the stall of a hungry horse in New York City where it was put to good use.

The Greene County Historical Society has recently taken important steps to preserve and interpret this story for the benefit of future generations. In the Summer of 2017 the Society acquired an original 19th century hay barn which stood on Route 81 in Coxsackie, several miles from our headquarters at the Bronck House. A special committee facilitated the clearing and disassembly of the structure so it could be moved to a new location virtually in the footprint of a hay barn which once stood on the grounds of the Bronck House just off Route 9W.

The Historical Society is now raising funds to reassemble this barn with a new roof and siding, and we cannot do it without your support. This barn, once completed, will house the Society's authentic hay press while leaving extra room within for special events, lectures, and activities designed to bring together Greene County's heritage community. Check out photos documenting our progress so far, and why not take a look at the donate page to make a small contribution to this meaningful and exciting project. We are raising the Heritage Barn, and we want you there with us!