It’s my party

Troy Hayner Cultural Center rings in 100 years

By Alyssa Reck

Photo: Hayner Days will begin at 11 a.m. on Aug. 9; photo courtesy of the Troy Hayner Cultural Center

In the heart of Troy, there is a piece of history many walk or drive past every day. For a century, it’s been in a figure in the community as a home, a library and now a community center unlike any other.

“The house looks so enormous people might be intimidated and feel like it’s not something they can go into,” Linda Lee Jolly, Troy-Hayner Cultural Center director, said. “Feel free to come inside.” 

Jolly has been the director for 24 years. The house has been in Troy for 100.

A home 

When visiting the center, it is easy to feel a little overwhelmed. After all, the furniture, light fixtures, windows and wallpaper were chosen by Mrs. Mary Jane Hayner. As the public walks room to room, hand-carved details on the fireplaces stand out, as well as the seven different patterns of glass in the windows. Her portrait hangs over a large fireplace, depicting her at 25 years of age. There are three full floors and a grand staircase, with a smaller staircase in the back, most likely for servants. A stone-walled courtyard, carriage house and teahouse are also on the property. While the house was intended for the family, only Mrs. Hayner and her daughter Isabel lived in it. The home, finished in 1914, wasn’t completed until a year after Mrs. Hayner’s husband passed away. 

“Mrs. Hayner belonged to a service club,” Jolly said. “It’s possible she had it in mind to leave it to the public when it was built.” 

The public did end up being the overseer to this property in the form of a Board of Governors, which are citizens of the Troy City School District. 

A library

After Mrs. Hayner’s death, the care of the center was left to Troy City Schools and ended up becoming a library for 33 years, starting in 1943. 

“The library collection got so big it became too heavy for the floor,” said Jolly. 

In 1976, a new library was built, which is why the center is what it is today. Every five years, voters have approved the plan to keep the Hayner mansion a cultural center for community use.

“The community chose to make this landmark a vital part of Troy,” Jolly said. 

Each year, the center has over 42,000 visitors, who take a step off the street into a piece of history.

A community celebration

Today, the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center not only hosts many community groups and meetings, it also hosts recitals, yoga and a range of other activities. On the second floor, there are rotating exhibits. On the first floor, the work of John E. Lutz is displayed in a Hayner Distillery Collection. 

During the first full weekend of December, music fills the house, top to bottom, along with seven trees and a visit from good old St. Nicholas. If that wasn’t already a draw, at the end of this summer something special is occurring, which will have the community buzzing. 

This year is the 100th anniversary of the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center. 

The theme will be “A Place for Grand Times,” which is fitting since Mrs. Hayner threw the first party at the mansion for her daughter Isabel and the last party for grandaughter Patty, who was getting married. A grand time it will be, and everyone is invited.

“I want it to be a big open invitation,” said Jolly. 

On Saturday, Aug. 9 from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m., the public can expect a party of giant proportions taking place inside and outside of the center. There will be an antique car show, Wheelmen Historic Bicycle Exhibit, homemade ice cream and some entertainment put on by the Sing Out Troy Alumni Chorus, Doc Allen’s Old Tyme Medicine Show, the Sugargrove Bluegrass Band and the Great Kaplan!

For the kids, there will be a carousel, games, Lucky the Clown with balloon animals, face painters and carnival treats. Step right up to discover your fortune at the antique fortuneteller machine or view the past in a historic photo art studio.  

Inside the house, there will be a cake decorating competition and cake walk, two performances by the American Magic Lantern, an antiques appraisal fair with Graydon Sykes, a storyteller, living history guides and centennial souvenir and information tents. 

Expect some good eats from Dunaways, Donatos Pizza, St. James Church and Hickory River Barbeque. Or bring a picnic basket and eat behind the library, while listening to the Ragtime Riverboat Rats, Gotham City Brass, Lamp Post 4 and the Troy Civic Theatre Company. 

The arts are not to be left out at the celebration. There will be a Country Workshop Artist booth, Troy Arts Alliance booth, an art activities booth and a display of current exhibits. 

Try your hand at some historic games like relay races, hopscotch, marbles and jacks. If you like a challenge, step forward with a team of 13 and play human checkers!

As the day draws to a close, there will be a grand finale performance by the Tom Daugherty Orchestra and SKI Light Spectacular. 

So, prepare for an extravagant day of fun activities, music and, most of all, the celebration of the fact that Mrs. Hayner gave the community a timeless gift. 

Hayner Days begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 9 at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center, 301. W. Main St. in Troy. For more information, please call 937.339.0457 or visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Alyssa Reck at

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