Historic Halcottsville Creamery heavily damaged by snowstorm

By Brian Sweeney
The historic Halcottsville Creamery building was among the victims of record snowfall totals from February 23 and 25 storms that wreaked havoc on the area. Owners Jim and Susan Kelly traveled from New York City to the Catskills two days after the successive snowfalls dumped more than five feet on the hamlet of Halcottsville. As they headed into the hamlet, they immediately realized that the silhouette of the former creamery building had been dramatically altered.
Closer inspection revealed that a large section of the building’s roof had collapsed under the tremendous strain of the deep, wet snow.
Along with the damage to the roof, the opening allowed a considerable amount of snow into the building.
Mr. Kelly reported that a number of the items stored in the creamery were damaged by falling debris and subsequently by water from melting snow.
He said that “You couldn’t get up into the third floor and the collapse pretty much flattened everything on the third floor. We were lucky the front two bays didn’t collapse.”
The Kellys hired work crews to remove remaining snow from the roof and from around the building. The workers also moved stored salvage items to a secure location.
The hole in the roof has been covered with a tarp to prevent additional damage.
Now, the owners must decide what to do with the piece of local history.
The Kellys purchased the former creamery in 1986. The building had not been utilized as a creamery since about 1959. Prior to when the Kellys purchased the 1911 structure its most recent use had been as an auction house and for auto body repairs.
The Kellys also own the adjacent Lake Wawaka and Susan’s Pleasant Pheasant Farm Bed & Breakfast. Since they opened a kayak and canoe rental business, the front section of the creamery has served as the rental office.
Mr. Kelly told the News this week that he and his wife have been planning to renovate the unique creamery space, which covers about 7,500 square feet, into some sort of lodging facility.
“Now that we have secured the building from the weather, it will give us time to figure out which direction we’re going,” he stated.
While some people have suggested razing the structure, the Kellys are not likely to pursue this avenue.
“The whole idea of why we bought into this area is because of the history,” he explained.