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McKINNEY STABLES OF EMPIRE CITY FARMS

Standing majestically on 102 acres in Cuba, New York is the McKinney Stables of Empire City Farms, more commonly referred to as the “Block Barn.” Nicknamed for its unique concrete construction, this fire-resistant stable measures 347 feet long, fifty feet wide, and is supported by an 8 foot solid concrete foundation. The immense roof is covered in terra-cotta tile manufactured in Alfred, New York.

Completed in 1909 and financed by New York City pawnbroker, William Simpson, Jr., the Block Barn was once home to world famous trotters, McKinney and Axworthy. In addition to Mr. Simpson’s passion for breeding and racing horses, he also introduced Shetland ponies to America, electricity to Cuba, New York, and offered printing services through his family paper, the Boulton Press.

When Mr. Simpson died in 1916, the farm was sold. Over the years other horses have come and gone, as have their owners. Non-equine related ideas for the barn were entertained such as a nursing home, cheese storage for Borden’s, a jail, a school, a shopping mall, a housing development, and even an ostrich farm! Fortunately, none of these schemes materialized, and today the property is owned by Bonnie Blair, who is an ardent historic preservationist and equine enthusiast.




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