In 1904, a few years after the Spanish-American War, a group of men from Syracuse joined together to form a cavalry troop.  The troop became designated as Troop D, 1st New York Cavalry, a National Guard Unit.  In 1907, the State of New York built an armory in Syracuse, known as the Jefferson Street Armory, to provide year round quarters for the Troop, with facilities for boarding and exercising horses, conducting mounted drills indoors, and for a minimal amount of small arms fire.

The limited space of the Armory was insufficient to fulfill all the training needs of a troop of horse cavalry.  Also, these "citizen soldiers" were a close-knit organization, in many ways more like a club than a military unit and felt the need for a place other than the Armory, a state building subject to strict military discipline, where they could gather for social purposes, free of military restraint.

The members of Troop D were determined to acquire some land in the country, not too far from Syracuse, to serve the following purposes:
- To provide a place where the troopers could keep their horses, many of which were owned by the troopers.
- To furnish a place where troopers could ride for their own pleasure, other than in the course of weekly drill.
- To provide a clubhouse for off-duty relaxation and comradeship.
- To furnish an area where mounted and dismounted drill and small unit problems could be held and small arms ranges constructed.

By the efforts of the approximately 60 members of the troop (who called themselves the "Troop D Association") $3,000 was accumulated and was used to buy a farm in the Town of Manlius, known as the Devendorf Farm, which met all the needs of the troop.  After its acquisition, the farm became known as "the Troop Farm," and was adapted by labor and dock facilities by the members to the uses for which it was purchased.  Stable and paddock facilities were developed for the horses, riding trails were constructed, the farmhouse was revamped for a clubhouse, drill areas perfected and small arms ranges were installed.