It’s the end of an era. The Johnson County Sales Pavilion has brought farmers from across the state since 1955, but is now closing after 67 years.

The grand opening of the pavilion on Feb. 8, 1955 featured an “Indiana Hoedown” and the venue was advertised as a “modern heated pavilion.”

When the pavilion held its final animal sale Tuesday, it didn’t have any of that original fanfare, although the pavilion was naturally heated, as there no air conditioning. The remnants of a triple-digit heat index seeped inside the facility for a very hot last sale. About 50 sale-goers sitting on wooden bleachers fanned themselves with the paddles they would raise to bid on rabbits, donkeys, goats and other animals, as auctioneer Wade Findley rattled off bid announcements at a feverish pace.

It’s a tradition that has been going on each Tuesday at the pavilion, located near where Old U.S. 31 intersects current U.S. 31 about four miles south of Franklin. Not everyone who attends is a regular, as some attendees buy animals from whichever building in the region has a sale that night. For others, it’s a weekly tradition, a place to get together in the community from the dead of winter to the apex of summer, said Rick Teverbaugh, the pavilion’s owner since 2000.

“For a lot of people, this is their weekly gathering spot,” Teverbaugh said. “When the winter gets cold and bad, if you don’t have a sale for two weeks in a row you won’t get by without having to see what John did last Tuesday. The toughest part is, this is a gathering place for the local community, for farmers and for people who have livestock.”

Although he didn’t reveal the sale price, Teverbaugh said he sold the building for more than his original asking price of $500,000, and the building, while it will be preserved, will no longer be used for animal sales. Instead, it will likely transform into a heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing business, he said.

Without this local mainstay, the closest sale barn is now the Knightstown Sale Barn, which is just over one hour and 46 miles away from the Johnson County Sales Pavilion.

“I’ve got customers I’ll definitely miss and have become attached to over the years,” Teverbaugh said. “The main reason we’re selling, my auctioneer guy told me he wanted to retire in July, and some of my people have been with me for 17 or 18 years. They’re getting older and don’t want to work. The reason we’re selling is, a lot of the labor and people have changed over the years, especially in the last two years. I will miss the sale barn, it’s a very difficult decision for me to make, to do this. The last five years, I’ve been asked ‘is it for sale?’ I said ‘yes, it’s for sale, just write me a check for $500,000, we’ll just do it.’ Then, someone came along to make that decision a little easier. I’m getting older and I want to slow down.”

Teverbaugh will continue his main enterprise, R and R Livestock, LLC in Mooresville, he said.

His daughter, Tracy Bassett, is one of the regulars, coming back once a month for a Tuesday night sale.

“I’ve had a great experience meeting everyone who comes in and out every Tuesday,” Bassett said. “People I enjoy the most and animals that come in and out and to see how people come as a social event. Some don’t purchase, it’s a social event for the crowd. It’s all about the people for me, that’s why I come back every month.”

Kevin Shaw, who traveled from Hillsboro, just west of Crawfordsville, has been visiting the Johnson County Sales Pavilion for 15 to 20 years.

“I started coming here 15 to 20 years ago to buy and sell livestock. I used to auction here two years ago,” Shaw said. “These are nice people, friendly people, and there are a lot of livestock here. The owners are easygoing people. It’s unique, exciting, and you always see something different. There are friendly faces, lots of smiles. I loved auctioneering and seeing new faces every week. (I’ll miss) coming here on Tuesday nights and seeing all my friends and the people who own the livestock, people I’ve met the last 20 years.”

Donny Brewer, from North Vernon, has been visiting the Sales Pavilion for three-and-a-half decades.

“I’ve been coming here such a long time, it’s been a second home, a place to grow up with,” Brewer said. “I would say it’s a valuable meeting place and trading place and I think it will be missed by more people than we realize.”