It was almost the end of an era in Union City after a fire burned through Erie County's only livestock auction.
As the oldest livestock auction in Pennsylvania, its slogan is, 'Been Here, Done that since 1933'. And today, the owner is sending a message to customers that it's not going anywhere. John Corwin says he's spent around 1500 Mondays here at the Union City Livestock Auction. "When I bought this 26 years ago, I just wanted to put a place up that was clean, honest and able to take care of the farmers in the community."
Just a week ago, many of his customers thought that tradition would come to an end after an electrical fire ripped through the property burning down the dining area, second floor and barn around the loading dock. But, Corwin and his team didn't miss a beat, opening up their doors today for another Monday auction.
It was business, as usual, today with a full crowd in the auction stands. Like many farmers from the tri-state area, Gene Smith tells us he's been attending these auctions for decades. "Ever since they started it, and before... There was other people that owned it prior. I mean, I'm 70 years old and lived here all my life."
And farmers say getting this place back up and running after the fire took a community effort.
Skeeter Hobbs, Volunteer, says, "I just come over and put in some man hours, helped them out, brought some lumber over, got a new roof put on it. I just helped work with his boys and got the job done."
And, while there's still more work to be done, Corwin says this community staple is here for the long haul. Gene Smith, Farmer, says, "It's good to have this in the community and I'm glad it's gonna stay."
Corwin says he does plan on rebuilding, starting with the dining area, but no plans are in place at this point. He tells us on an average day, the barns hold around 100 to 150 animals, but they've hosted as many as 700.
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