A little more than two years after a devastating fire Goshen Historic Track has added a new page to its history. Considered among the world’s oldest active harness racing tracks, the Orange County facility recently hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate a newly constructed barn and horse stalls on the site of the old BOCES Barn that was partially destroyed by the fire on August 23, 2017.
It was so named because it was an extension of the Board of Cooperative Educational Services when it functioned as a training center focusing on equestrian care and farm management.
Since then, working with preservation architects and engineers from Goshen-based LAN Associates, the Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame have endeavored to replace the lost structures with the goal of preserving much of their original character while providing the museum with safe housing for their artifacts. Organizers say there are plans for expanding the functionality of the Historic Track to accommodate community-oriented services and events.
After a donation from the Messenger and Fleming families, and a matching grant from New York State, the new barn was renamed the “Fleming Barn,” in honor of Charles M. Fleming, a distinguished standardbred trainer and driver at the track in the 1950s and 1960s.
Goshen is known as the “Cradle of the Trotter” because it is said that it was in the town, in the 1840s, that the first American standardbred horses were foaled, trained and bred for the then uniquely American sport of harness racing. The recent ribbon cutting included Steve Brecia, County Legislator and Mayor of Montgomery; John Vero, County Legislator; and Joseph Faraldo, Esq., President of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York.
The Board of Directors for Goshen Historic Track and The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame thanked their supporters, including the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, Arden Homestead Stable, Hempt Farms, Cameo Hills Farm, United States Trotting Association, Ron & Diane Burke, Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence DeVan, Mickey & Sylvia Burke and the Bosler family. Their charitable donations went towards the completion of a blacksmith shop and horse stalls that retain the historic charm of the original structures while housing modern water, electrical, waste management and HVAC systems.
Barbara Martinez, Executive Director of the Goshen Chamber of Commerce, received special thanks for promoting the project. Also present were George Casale, Board Member and General Counsel of Goshen Historic Track; Bill Murray, Track Board Member and Chairperson of Buildings and Grounds; and Janet Terhune, Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame Executive Director, who worked on the project from its inception.
Photo of the new Fleming Barn courtesy Roger Dowd.