TOWN OF UNION – One the oldest building in Broome County is slated to be torn down, a victim of years of vandalism and neglect.
The historic Crocker Homestead makes up a portion of the sprawling and dilapidated former IBM Country Club facility along Watson Boulevard in the Town of Union.
It was built by one of our area’s earliest European settlers, Ezekiel Crocker and his son Oliver beginning in 1799.
The brick structure was originally used as a tavern and an inn along with the family home.
In 1906, it was purchased by George Fowler, owner of Fowler’s Department Store in downtown Binghamton.
In 1931, it was bought by IBM and expanded into a country club with a golf course on the surrounding farm.
When the country club closed in the 1990’s, a succession of owners stripped most of the valuables from the property and left it unsecure, allowing vandals to come in and do significant damage.
Broome County Historian and Director of the Preservation Association of the Southern Tier Roger Luther says he’d like to see the Crocker portion of the structure salvaged and saved.
Luther says it would be a shame to lose such a significant part of the county’s history.
“We have the opportunity to save one of our greatest historic treasures. The Rose Mansion, the Farmers Bank were historic, but they pale in comparison to the history of this building. We have a chance to save it. On the other hand, we could lose it and it would be gone forever,” he said.
Unless there’s a last minute unexpected reprieve, the Crocker Homestead will be demolished.
Stacey Duncan, Executive Director of the Agency which currently owns the property, says a structural survey by Delta Engineers showed that the building is beyond saving and that the county has given the green light for demolition.
Duncan says both the county and the Town of Union have committed a combined 2 million dollars in American Rescue Plan funding to raze the entire structure.
Back in January, the Agency announced an agreement with Rochester-based Conifer Realty and LeChase Construction to build affordable housing on the site, once the Agency finishes with the demolition.