The story

Old Town Hall

Old Town Hall


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Old Town Hall is a magnificent Federal-style structure located on the 500 block of Market Street in Wilmington, Delaware, a seaport in northern Delaware.Built in 1798, it functioned as the center of political and social activities during Wilmington's infancy. The hall was the headquarters and gathering place of civic organizations.The death of George Washington was observed here in 1799, and the Marquis de Lafayette and President Andrew Jackson attended a reception and dinner here around 1824. In 1851, Henry Clay^'s body was laid in state in the hall.The historic landmark housed the city's meeting chambers, offices, and the subscription library. It was also the site of anti-slavery meetings and ironically, served as the city jail where the fugitive slaves were held.Restored to its classical beauty, Old Town Hall has spaces for exhibitions, programs, and special events throughout the year.


Old Town Hall

It was the year 1930, and J.A. Nelson was elected Mayor. Trustees were J.W. McHugh, L.S. Hyner, J.H. Rhodes, Morris Reinberg and Marshall Bond.

In that same year, the Council voted to build a 1,000 sq&rsquo brick building to house the fire engine, jail cell, mayor&rsquos office and council meeting room at a cost of $4,200.00. The Old Town Hall was constructed using poured concrete and was completed in 1931 for Zachary&rsquos Office & Jail. A few years later, the Public Library moved in.

The technique was somewhat new on the scene, and it presented a substantial appearance in the center of the Zachary business district. In 1903, a devastating fire in downtown Zachary destroyed the old wooden Town Hall, and it was 28 years before the old seat of government was replaced by this new governmental building.

The Mayor wore a hat to match each function - he collected traffic fines and utility bills, was an integral part of the volunteer fire department, and the head of local government. The Zachary volunteer fire department was established the same year the old Town Hall was completed.

The Old Town Hall was built next to a Pump Station, which has now been removed. Once they had lost the town, they decided they had to have a water system. In July 1932, the town council voted to spend $5,600 for a new fire engine for the fire department. &ldquoWhen the town Hall was built, men still had to push the Fire Engine. (Montegudo)

Gordon Stilly in 1943, served on the volunteer fire department for more than a decade. &ldquoIf there was a fire, someone would call the Mayor&rsquos Office,&rdquo Stilly said. &ldquoThere was big siren on top of the building. He would turn it on&rdquo.

&ldquoCharlie Fonte, who worked at the Ford garage across the street, was always the first to get to the Town Hall. Charlie Fonte ran everything.&rdquo Stilly said. &ldquoHe wanted to be the one who knew how to do the truck and everything.&rdquo Fonte would jump in the fire engine and race to the fire. &ldquoIf we were lucky to get there before he left, we&rsquod ride with him&rdquo, Stilly said. &ldquoOtherwise we&rsquod drive ourselves&rdquo. Someone would write the exact location of the fire on the blackboard in the Town Hall. Later arriving volunteers would then know where to go.

Today the building is home to a large collection of information about local people and places and houses the original Council table where the aldermen met monthly. It is home to a significant collection of antique books, reminding us of the lending libraries of those days before every community had a real library! The Old Town Hall is presently being renovated as a city museum and archives.

City of Zachary
4700 Main Street
Zachary, LA 70791
225-654-0287


Historic Buildings and Sites

Historic Fairfax City, Inc. (HFCI) helps the city interpret Historic Buildings and Sites and raise funds for building preservation. HFCI is the advisory board to the City of Fairfax Office of Historic Resources, charged with managing the operation of City-owned historic properties.

The City of Fairfax’s historic buildings and landmarks are tangible reminders of local heritage and the important role the town played as a major crossroads and judicial center in northern Virginia. Most historic sites are located within the city’s historic downtown area. In 1987, the City of Fairfax Historic District was named on the National Register of Historic Places. The district includes a variety of buildings types and styles, including the Fairfax Court House (1800), Ratcliffe-Allison-Pozer House (1812), William Gunnell House (c.1835), Joshua Gunnell House (c.1830), Ford House (c.1835), Fairfax Elementary School (1873), (Concerted in 1992 into the Fairfax Museum & Visitor Center), Old Fairfax Jail (1885), Old Town Hall (1900), and the Marr Monument (1904).

Free Brochures provide a walking tour of noteworthy buildings and monuments in Old Town Fairfax (see Map of History for self guided walking tour) and offers a brief history of the city. These brochures are available from the

Fairfax Museum & Visitor Center
10209 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22030
703.385.8414 and at City Hall

Guided walking tours of the city’s historic district are offered periodically by HFCI and the museum, call 703.385.8414

Historic properties outside the Historic District illustrate the area’s 19th-century rural heritage and 20th-century transformation into a suburb of Washington, D.C. Blenheim, the c.1859 brick farmhouse on Old Lee Highway, is famed for its 100+ inscriptions from Union soldiers when the Fairfax Court House area was occupied intermittently from 1862-1865. Blenheim hosts a Civil War Day annually on the first Saturday in May. The historic Blenheim Civil War Interpretive Center opened to the public in 2008. The Tastee 29 Diner, built in 1940 on the Lee Highway commercial corridor, is also individually listed in the National Register.

The five City-owned historic buildings are Fairfax Elementary School [now Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center], Old Town Hall, Ratcliffe-Allison House, Historic Blenheim and Grandma’s Cottage.

Old Town Hall

Old Town Hall is the social architectural cornerstone of the City. Joseph E. Willard presented the Hall as a gift to the citizens of Fairfax in 1900. Built by Arthur Thompson, a local contractor, the classical revival style Hall retains much of its original woodwork. Old Town Hall’s second level houses the Huddleson Library and is home to the Fairfax Art League.

Ratcliffe-Allison-Pozer House and Pozer Garden

Built by Richard Ratcliffe in 1812, this house is the oldest residence in the city. This house-museum interprets the daily activities of some of its twelve owners and occupants, illustrating commercial and domestic change along Main Street during the 19th and 20th centuries. The last two private owners were Dr. Kate Waller Barrett, prominent social reformer, and her daughter Kitty Pozer. Pozer, a respected gardener, deeded the house to the city in 1973. The house is open to the public for free tours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays from April through October, during many city special events, during walking tours offered in the spring and fall, and by appointment email or call 703.385.8414

The City of Fairfax purchased the 12 acre estate in early 1999 to preserve it as a Civil War Interpretive Center and open-air park. The property was once a 367 acre farm owned by Albert Willcoxon. The house he built in 1859 is a central hall , Greek revival style brick farmhouse. The house contains voluminous and best preserved examples of Civil War inscriptions in the nation, a “diary on walls” providing insight into typical soldier life during the Civil War. It is nationally significant for the more than 100 signatures, art, and poetry created by Union soldiers during their occupation of the house on 3 occasions. The property was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. The site also includes a 5,000-square foot Civil War Museum and Interpretive Center, an assembly hall, outdoor pergola patio, gift shop and restrooms that are all ADA accessible. The Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 till 3pm, and a guided tour of the house and site is offered at 1PM. Special Civil War programs are offered monthly. The Center is available for rental for private events. For general information call 703 591 0560 and for rental information call 703 385 7858.

Grandma’s Cottage

Grandma’s Cottage is significant both for its architecture and history. The Cottage was occupied for much of its history by Margaret Conn Willcoxon Farr, the daughter of Rezin Willcoxon, owner of the Willcoxon estate (later named “Blenheim”). Margaret Farr is buried in the Blenheim cemetery. The Cottage likely dates to the 1830s or 1840s and is important of its combination of log-wall construction and rare timber framing with brick infill between the studs in the oldest portion of the house.

The Cottage’s original location was near the corner of Main Street and Old Lee Highway where the Main Street Marketplace shopping center stands. It was relocated from there to a location on Old Lee Highway near Layton Hall Drive in 1962. The Cottage was moved to the Blenheim estate in 2001.

Fairfax Museum & Visitor Center

The Fairfax Museum & Visitor Center is located between Washington Dulles International Airport and Washington, D.C., in the heart of Northern Virginia. The Museum & Visitor Center and City of Fairfax provide a strategic base for visiting the District, Manassas, Tysons Corner and Northern Virginia — including the Shenandoah Valley and Skyline Drive.

Staffed by museum professionals and dedicated volunteer work force, the Fairfax Museum & Visitor Center is housed in the former Fairfax Elementary School, built in 1873 as the first two-story school in Fairfax County. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the facility is handicapped- accessible.

The visitor center provides general visitor information for both tourists and residents, including lodging, restaurants, transportation and historic and natural attractions. The visitor center also is the place to find out about special events in and around the city.

The museum produces special exhibitions on city history, provides educational outreach to school and youth groups and offers walking tours of Old Town Fairfax and the city’s historic buildings in the spring and fall.

The facility’s gift shop stocks books, art prints and souvenirs related to Fairfax and Virginia history.

Fairfax Museum & Visitor Center
10209 Main Street, Fairfax, VA 22030
Open daily from 9am to 5pm
Closed New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve (half-day) and Christmas Day
703-385-8414 or 1-800-545-7950 Toll-Free


Old Town Hall Historic District

The Old Town Hall Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination documentation. [1]

The Old Town Hall Historic District is a small concentration of relatively unaltered late nineteenth and early twentieth century civic and residential buildings that represent the turn-of-the-century civic core of the town of Huntington. The Old Town Hall Historic District contains the largest collection of civic buildings within the Huntington Multiple Resource Area. In addition, the Old Town Hall Historic District also contains a church, a cemetery and an archeological site that reflect the village's 1653 settlement and early nineteenth century growth and thus reveals the town's broad patterns of architectural and urban development from the mid-seventeenth to early twentieth centuries. Located in the north central section of the unincorporated village of Huntington, the Old Town Hall Historic District is adjacent to Huntington's central commercial and business core. The Old Town Hall Historic District contains ten contributing elements: eight buildings and two sites. The only non-contributing property in the Old Town Hall Historic District is a modern commercial building.

The Old Town Hall Historic District is located in the middle of the three valleys around which the town of Huntington and its various villages have developed. The buildings in the Old Town Hall Historic District are located in close proximity to each other on a prominent hilltop, known as "town hill," overlooking the central business district of Huntington immediately to the west. The valley containing the Old Town Green Historic District is down the hill to the east. The boundaries of the Old Town Hall Historic District are clearly delineated as a result of the surrounding modern and extensively altered late nineteenth century properties of the central business district to the west and north. The residential areas south and east of the cemetery on Nassau Road were excluded due to their modern construction.

All of the properties in the Old Town Hall Historic District, with the exception of the Universalist Church, are located along both sides of East Main Street, a major thoroughfare in the town.

The Old Burying Ground, which includes the archeological site of Fort Golgotha (both listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1981), occupies four acres of wooded hillside on the south side of Main Street. The Universalist Church overlooks the cemetery from the east side of Nassau Road, which runs perpendicular to East Main Street. The three turn-of-the-century residences included within the Old Town Hall Historic District line the south side of Main Street beyond the Old Burying Ground as the hill winds into the valley. While the other buildings in the Old Town Hall Historic District are positioned fairly close to the street, the three residences are set back with small parking areas or broad lawns in front of them.

The Old Town Hall Historic District is a small, cohesive concentration of civic and residential buildings which, in contrast to the other National Register listed historic districts, is urban in appearance due to its large conspicuous buildings and overall compactness. The properties in the Old Town Hall Historic District date from the town's founding in 1653 to the early twentieth century. At the center of the Old Town Hall Historic District is the Old Burying Ground which contains a unique collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century sandstone and slate gravestones, many of which are distinguished by decorative patterns, motifs, and inscriptions. Constructed in 1837, the nearby Universalist Church is a two-story clapboard and shingle Greek Revival style building with a pedimented gable end, broad entablature, paired multi-pane double-hung sash, and an enclosed entrance porch with pilasters and parapet. The Rogers House (c.1885), Funnell House (c.1885) and Stewart House (c.1895) are handsomely detailed, well-crafted examples of the American Queen Anne style of architecture situated next to the church at the eastern end of the district. They exhibit such stylistic characteristics as shingle and clapboard sheathing, irregular and varied fenestration, wraparound porches, and ornamental wooden trim. The one-story Trade School (c.1900) are fine examples of the Tudor Revival style popular at the turn-of-the-twentieth century. Both buildings are located near the center of the Old Town Hall Historic District and have half-timbering and stuccoed gable ends, decorative vergeboards, round-arched entrances, and bay windows. Built in 1910, the large two and one-half story brick former Town Hall is Neoclassical in style with its monumental porticoed front, marble trim, modillioned cornice, and clock tower, and is the centerpiece of the Old Town Hall Historic District.

The Old Town Hall Historic District is architecturally and historically significant as a small compact concentration of buildings and sites that reflect the growth and development of the unincorporated village of Huntington from its mid-seventeenth century settlement to the early twentieth century. With a large majority of buildings dating from c.1885 to 1910, the Old Town Hall Historic District is particularly significant as the turn-of-the-century civic and residential core of Huntington. In addition, the Old Town Hall Historic District contains the Greek Revival style Universalist Church (1837) and the Old Burying Ground, which dates from the village's settlement in 1653 and also includes the archeological site of the Revolutionary War fort, Fort Golgotha (both National Register listed 1981). The Old Town Hall Historic District is the most significant concentration of historic properties remaining in Huntington's central business district. The buildings are well-crafted, highly detailed examples of popular nineteenth century and early twentieth century styles. The Old Town Hall Historic District contains some of the most well-developed, architecturally sophisticated period buildings in the town and it remains a distinguished and largely intact historic enclave in the multiple resource area.

Although home burial was the early custom in seventeenth century Huntington, the Old Burying Ground was in use as a cemetery by 1700. Located on the rise known as "town hill," the Old Burying Ground has been a prominent local landmark throughout Huntington's history. The Old Burying Ground was used as a cemetery from the town's founding in 1653 until the mid-twentieth century. The four-acre cemetery contains a distinctive collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century sandstone and slate gravestones which exhibit a variety of historic decorative patterns, inscriptions and motifs. From the events that transpired in the cemetery at the end of the American Revolution, it is apparent that the cemetery occupied an important place within the community at the time. In November of 1782, the British constructed a fort, known as Fort Golgotha, in the middle of the Old Burying Ground. During their one-year occupation of the fort, the British did considerable damage to the cemetery using some of the tombstones for tables and ovens and destroying others. Today the archeological site of Fort Golgotha is largely indistinguishable from the cemetery itself. The cemetery and fort site were listed on the National Register in 1981.

As the village of Huntington grew and prospered in the early nineteenth century, the Universalist Church was constructed in 1837. Built by a group of worshippers who had broken away from the Calvinist faith, the building was one of the first Universalist churches built on Long Island. The church was used as a place of worship until 1868 and now serves as the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter house. The Universalist Church is one of two Greek Revival style buildings included in the Huntington Multiple Resource Area (Velzer House, an individual component). The absence of many fully developed high-style examples of Greek Revival architecture in Huntington was due to the prevalence of the local conservative building traditions throughout the town with the result that "settlement period" architecture predominates in the village. Many residences, however, exhibit eclectic Greek Revival style details or are modest local interpretations of the style. The Universalist Church is a relatively formal example of the style in the village exhibiting such easily identifiable characteristics as a pedimented gable end, broad frieze, pilasters, and parapet.

The area surrounding the Old Town Hall Historic District developed slowly through the nineteenth century as the commercial and business core of the village shifted from the east valley, where the original settlement took place (see Old Town Green Historic District), to the middle valley. The area was not extensively developed until the mid to late nineteenth century when Huntington gained popularity as a fashionable summer resort and consequently experienced its first real period of prosperity and construction. During this time, two and three-story brick commercial buildings were built throughout the middle valley forming the densely developed central business district that remains, in a very altered state, today. In 1900, the village of Huntington had a population of 12,000 and Main Street/New York Avenue was recognized as the center of town. The Water Works Company was started in 1892 the Gas and Electric Company the following year and the trolley system built in 1896. The village was no longer promoted in real estate brochures and magazines as a "vacation spot," but as the "ideal suburb" of New York City.

The turn-of-the-century prosperity and growth resulted in the construction of numerous architect-designed civic structures. Designed by the prominent New York City firm of Cady, Berg and See, the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building (1892) and the Huntington Sewing and Trade School (c.1900) are fine examples of the Tudor Revival style of architecture. The Memorial building served as the first town library. Responding to the influx of young people into the community and the town's need for educational facilities, Miss Cornelia Prime, a prominent local citizen and benefactor, donated money to have the Sewing and Trade School built. Shortly after its construction c.1900, the school was flourishing with one hundred and fifty students and eight faculty members.

The prominent firm of Cady, Berg, and See was responsible for the design of numerous civic, college, and commercial structures in and around the New York City area from approximately 1880 to 1900, when See left the firm. Cady and Berg continued their partnership until the former's death in 1919. Although the firm specialized in school and college buildings, notably at Yale, Williams and Wesleyan, they were equally famous for their designs for the American Museum of Natural History (1890) (National Register listed) and the original Metropolitan Opera building (1883) (no longer extant). The Memorial Building and the Sewing and Trade School reflect the firm's ability in using the forms and details characteristic of the Tudor Revival style of architecture. Both buildings exhibit fine craftsmanship and highly detailed decorative features. These are two of only five examples of this style included in the Huntington Multiple Resource Area (Mrs. Thomas Jevons House, Delamater/Robinson House, Donnell House &mdash all individual components).

The Stewart, Rogers and Funnell Houses are rare surviving intact examples of the large residences built by prominent businessmen and civic leaders on the immediate outskirts of the central business district at the turn-of-the-century. Large homes in similar late nineteenth century picturesque styles once lined "town hill" as it led into the eastern valley, but most of the homes have been demolished or lost their architectural integrity due to alterations and additions. The middle-class counterpart to this neighborhood still exists, however, along West Neck Road (see West Neck Road Historic District). Constructed between c.1885 and 1895, the dwellings are well-crafted, highly detailed examples of the Queen Anne style of architecture. The Stewart House was designed by the architectural firm of Lefferts, Jarvis and Conklin, active on Long Island at the turn-of-the-century. Although the Huntington Multiple Resource Area contains many fine examples of the Queen Anne style or architecture, the Stewart, Rogers, and Funnell Houses are distinguished by their large size, high level of craftsmanship, degree of ornament, and historical associations.

The most conspicuous symbol of Huntington's turn-of-the-century growth is the Town Hall, built in 1910 by the prominent New York City architect, Julian Peabody. A representative example of Neoclassical style public architecture, the Town Hall is distinguished by a monumental entrance portico with colossal Corinthian columns. Julian Peabody (1881-1935) was best known as the senior member of the firm Peabody, Wilson and Brown from 1924 until his death. A Harvard graduate, Peabody studied in Paris and worked in New York City as a draftsman before starting his own firm. In addition to the Huntington Town Hall, Peabody designed the Cold Spring Harbor Library in 1913 (an individual component in the multiple resource area), an apartment house at Broadway and 76th Street (1913), and the alterations to the Hotel Astor (1921). The town hall and library display Peabody's finesse and skill in using the classical forms and decorative details characteristic of the period and style.

The construction of so many civic buildings at the turn-of-the-century documents Huntington's emergence as a well-established and prominent community along Long Island's north shore. Furthermore, the use of architects to design the civic buildings reflects the town's prosperity and relative wealth. The Old Town Hall Historic District contains the largest collection of architect-designed, high-style buildings within the Huntington Multiple Resource Area. Ranging from the Old Burying Ground to the town hall, the properties in the Old Town Hall Historic District reflect the changing architectural styles and patterns of development in Huntington from the mid-seventeenth century to the early twentieth century.


30 South Main Street, the Old Town Hall (1833)

The Old Town Hall building at 30 Main Street in Ipswich is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the South Green National Historic District (9/17/1980). For 180 years the massive Greek Revival building has stood at the corner of Elm Street and South Main Street. The Unitarian Church built it in 1833 but sold it to the town ten years later to be used as town hall and a social gathering place. It was more recently used as the District Court and now houses condominiums.

Ceiling in the Old Town Hall. During the years the building was used as a District Court and Town Hall, suspended ceiling panels hid this view. Water and age-related damage to the ceiling and plaster medallion were easily visible.

Preservation Restriction (10/16/2006): The Town of Ipswich through the Ipswich Historical Commission holds a preservation restriction on this property, conveyed by Ipswich RE Holdings LLC at the time of sale of the property by the town. An original copy is on file with the Ipswich Selectmen’s office. The building is protected by these agreements in perpetuity. The Historical Commission under the Historic Buildings Demolition Delay law has a mandate to preserve historical structures and is authorized to make a determination that an owner has failed to secure a preferably preserved significant building.

History of the Old Ipswich Town Hall Building”

Susan S. Nelson (with photos from the Ipswich Playhouse site)

A few years after the Town of Ipswich purchased the building from the Unitarian Church, the structure was raised and a new first floor was added below it.

In April of 1830, fourteen members of the First Church in Ipswich withdrew from the parish to form “The Independent Congregational Society” or Unitarian Church. Historian Thomas Franklin Waters tells us that the new church prospered, so much so that by 1833 the parishioners were able to build a brand new state-of-the-art church in Ipswich along South Main Street, at the corner of Elm Street. The Unitarians must have been forward thinkers architecturally as well as religiously, because they built the first Greek Revival public building in Ipswich. That church building still exists, hidden inside the much larger Old Town Hall. As such, it is the oldest church in Ipswich, pre-dating the CA 1848 Linebrook Church.

The Unitarian Church was about sixty-three feet long by about forty-four feet wide. Three very tall shuttered windows marched along each side of the story-and-a-half church, which presented a temple front to South Main Street with a deep frieze band at the cornice. The corners of the building were protected by free-standing boxed pilasters that supported the frieze, while a pair of fluted Doric columns flanked the central opening into the recessed entry. Above the gabled roof peak a belfry gave the building some much-needed height and called the faithful to worship.

The Old Town Hall at first kept the bell tower from the Unitarian Church.

While the Unitarian Church began its life with great energy in Ipswich (and may well have served as inspiration architecturally for the South Parish which undertook a building campaign in 1838) it could not sustain itself. By 1843 the Unitarian Church was no more, and it sold its church building to the Town of Ipswich. The church pews were removed and sold to the Linebrook Church, where they are still installed.

Waters wrote of the new Town Hall that, “It was greatly enlarged and remodeled for the Town’s use.” If so, it was certainly not for the last time. By 1866 the old Unitarian Church seemed to be inadequate for the needs of the townspeople for a social gathering place, in addition to town office space. The Town acquired more land adjacent to its existing site in 1866, but failed to move or improve the old building until matters came to a head in 1876.

Ipswich historian and former Historical Commission member Alice Keenan quotes an unidentified reporter from 1876, “It’s really young Ipswich against old Ipswich, but the progressive element is so far in the ascendancy that the matter has finally been brought before the people. To be sure, we already have a Town House, but… the steps are so stained with tobacco juice that a flood couldn’t wash them… It is small, unventilated, its walls blackened by flaring lamps and heated by two ancient and rusty stoves…”

The Old Town Hall, about 1950.

Keenan reports that in an adjourned Town Meeting of 1876, the young “progressives” sought to demolish the old Town Hall and build a new one for $10,000. Instead they got snookered by a series of wily political moves on Town Meeting floor and, “the voters were surprised to discover the next day that they had voted, without discussion, to enlarge, move, and repair the old Town Hall for the sum of $6,000. ”The contract to move and enlarge the Town Hall was awarded to the firm of Russell and Archer, and the Hall was moved twenty feet forward, the entirety of the old Town Hall building raised in the air, and a new first floor placed beneath it. In addition, a large addition was added to the rear (east) of the building.

The John Knowlton house was demolished so that the Ipswich Town Hall could be moved to its present location. Source: Antiquarian Papers

The building today retains this 1876 form, except for the section that housed the General Sutton Hook and Ladder Fire Company. On the exterior, the Doric columns were removed from the front facade, and replaced with a pair of double-hung windows, and the recessed entry was thus enclosed, creating a flat front facade. The four boxed pilasters were retained, and were copied on the new first floor addition. A belt course band was added where the new first floor joined the old church/Town Hall, to disguise and decorate the joint. A 1906 postcard shows the addition of a columned portico to shade the entry.

The Town Hall in the early 20th Century

On the inside of the building, the changes were even more dramatic. A new court room and town offices were installed and a second floor auditorium was created, seating 800 on the main level with another 100 in the balcony. The stage was forty-four feet wide with two dressing rooms. Local historian Harold D. Bowen reported that on October 9, 1920 a fire at the Town Hall threatened to destroy the building but was confined to the lower level, with losses set at $8200, a significant amount for 1920.

It seems probable that the first floor interior finishes that are early twentieth century in appearance may date from repairs following this fire. For example there are several doors with two light transoms above them, and one of the offices retains a pressed tin ceiling. However, Alice Keenan reports multiple revisions of the interior office spaces of Town Hall, without assigning dates to them, so it is impossible to be sure which elements of finish date to which period without further study. Historian Bowen also reported that, “The building also had a belfry tower which was removed a few years ago. I learned only recently that when this belfry was removed the bell was stored and later given to the Greek society for installation in their new church after the first church had burned. It is there today at the Greek church.”

A dire need for new office space led Town Manager George Howe to hire the firm of Anderson Nichols to oversee extensive renovations to Town Hall between 1983-84. The old front entry to Town Hall on the South Main Street side with its wide central stair and second floor balcony was demolished and enclosed to create additional second floor space and an elevator for handicap accessibility. The first floor was thus reconfigured to create a smaller single story front lobby and one large office in the front southwest corner of the building.

At this time the second floor was partitioned, a staircase to the balcony was removed and replaced with a metal spiral stair, and an elevator shaft was installed adjacent to the other staircase, effectively blocking it for access into the balcony area. A dropped ceiling was installed over the auditorium to close off the balcony area and create lower more sound proof and heat efficient offices on the second floor. This effectively disguised the original form of the auditorium space.

There were no substantive changes to the Old Town Hall since its last major renovation in the 1980’s, until the walls were stripped by the owners in 2007. In 2016 the Old Town Hall was purchased for conversion to a condominium.


Guardians of the Past

"Museums play a vital role in the development of a community. Museums preserve and display instructively the records of the people who played a role in the development of our various districts. Each city in Ontario should provide these institutions. The opening of this museum is a step in the advancement of Oxford County."

So stated Wilfred Jury, University of Western Ontario Museum Specialist at the opening of the New Oxford County Museum in 1948. He was in good company-joining him on stage were Provincial Treasurer, the Hon. Lesley M. Frost, Dr. G. E. Hall, President of the University of Western Ontario, and Historian Fred Landon. Woodstock Mayor D. A. Thompson and Oxford County Warden T. Gordon Ross welcomed visitor's to the Museum.

The Woodstock Museum was initiated by the Oxford Historical society in 1897. Today it continues to collect, publish, exhibit and teach in the Old Town Hall.

In 1980, interior restoration work on the Old Town hall began. The Mayor's Office, Council Chamber, Original Entrance Foyer and Grand Hall were restored to their 1880s appearance. Renovations focused on improving public accessibility and modern facilities. On the exterior of the building, restoration of the wood shingle roof, the chimneys and the cupola returned the roofline to the 1860s look.

In 2000, the final restoration stage was completed. Masonry work on the walls, foundation and parapet has restored the 1853 architectural details that distinguish the building as a National Historic Site. Twenty years of meticulous conservation have ensured that Woodstock's most important heritage building remains a vital community museum in the 21st century.

The Woodstock Museum NHS, is a member of The National Historic Sites Alliance for Ontario (NHSAO). This is an organization of owners and managers of National Historic Sites (NHS) who work to conserve and present the rich heritage of NHS in Ontario. Membership to open to any National Historic Site in the Province.

In 1955, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recommended that the Woodstock Town Hall be designated as a "structure of national historic importance" because.

" . it is a fine example of a colonial adaptation of a British town hall and because of its long association with the political and social life of Oxford County"

The building exterior and interior are protected by a 1998 Heritage Easement through the Ontario Heritage Foundation and Museum Square, including the Old Town Hall, holds a municipal heritage designation.


HISTORY OF OLD TOWN HALL

The Wilton Garden Club has had a long relationship with Old Town Hall dating back to the early 1930s when it stepped in to renovate and preserve this beautiful and historic building. At the time, Old Town Hall had been sitting idly after the current Town Hall was built, and it rapidly began to deteriorate. The Club undertook an ambitious overhaul of the building at that time and later added a small section to the rear of the building to make room for a kitchen, restrooms, a furnace, and a small greenhouse. The Club embarked on a second renovation in 1977 when rotten support timbers were discovered and the building was condemned for use. Upon the completion of that renovation, Old Town Hall was officially reopened in December of 1980 with the Club acting as rental agent and caretaker of the town-owned property.

Historical Background

In 1828, a town meeting was convened after services in the Wilton Congregational Church at which time Wilton residents voted to build a “Townhouse.” Nathan Comstock, who lived across the street from the Congregational Church, donated the property for such a building and deeded it to the Town of Wilton. The first meeting was held in the new but unfinished building in October of the same year. The construction of the Townhouse was finally completed in 1832, the date ascribed to the building and found on the plaque above the front door today.

The first floor of the Townhouse was used for town meetings while the second floor housed the Wilton Academy, a private secondary school which prepared its students for college. The Wilton Academy continued to occupy the second floor until 1867. Sometime after that, most of the second floor was removed except a section which became a balcony and is still in existence today.

Old Town Hall continued to be used as the site of Wilton’s town meetings, a form of town government currently in use in Wilton and many other New England towns. In 1928-29, Old Town Hall was pressed into service as a schoolhouse after a one-room school in town burned down and others became overcrowded. Eventually, the town outgrew the building completely such that residents attending town meetings had to stand outside and shout their remarks through the windows. The balcony was often so filled with people that it was in danger of collapsing on the heads of those seated below.

The building of a new Center School in 1929 made possible the consolidation of all educational facilities and the closing of the district schools. About the same time, plans were begun to construct a new Town Hall. It was dedicated on Valentine’s Day in 1931, and Old Town Hall stood empty thereafter. As it fell into disrepair, many townspeople suggested that it be torn down.

Fearing the loss of this beautiful old building, the Wilton Garden Club persuaded the Town to allow the Club to renovate, decorate, and completely maintain Old Town Hall. This ambitious undertaking by the Wilton Garden Club has been supported by major financial commitments and strong membership participation over the intervening years. For its efforts in preserving and restoring this charming and historic building, the Club was rewarded with a certificate of commendation from the Historic American Building Survey in 1939.

In 1970, Old Town Hall and several other neighboring buildings were designated as Historic District #2. The Wilton Historic District Commission described the design of the building:

“ . . .as a simple, excellent one of Colonial character. It appears to be earlier than 1832 since a building of this date would normally have windows with larger panes. Perhaps the early character of the Old Town Hall was due to the fact that it was a two-day journey to large centers such as Boston or New York and that the latest styles did not penetrate to remote areas such as Wilton for a considerable number of years. Or, perhaps the builders of this building wished to make its look in harmony with the Congregational Church, built in 1790, and copied the small paned windows of this nearby building.”

The Club added a section to the rear of the building in 1948 making room for a kitchen, restrooms, a furnace, and a small greenhouse. Many additional refurbishing, landscaping, painting, and patching projects were undertaken to keep the building in useable condition. During one of these special projects, insulation of the roof area in 1977, rotten support timbers were discovered. The building was then condemned.

Firm in its belief that Old Town Hall was of such architectural and historic significance to the town, the Club organized and led a second major renovation of the building. In December of 1980, Old Town Hall was officially reopened with the Club acting as rental agent and caretaker of the property.

When the Old Parsonage property adjacent to Old Town Hall was sold in 1992, changes were made again to the building. The town built a new drive and doorway on the west side, both accessible for the disabled. The new construction opened up an opportunity for the Club to design a landscape plan for the new entryway. With contributions from Club members and a PETALS grant, the Club designed and installed a charming garden filled with interesting and unusual trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. The garden displays four seasons of interest while serving as an elegant backdrop for this landmark building.

The Club continues to lovingly care for and maintain Old Town Hall. Through its efforts, a very important part of Wilton’s history has been preserved.


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Contact Us

140 S Palmer St, Ridgeway, SC 29130
(803) 337-0389
[email protected]

Hours

Monday . Closed
Tues - Thurs . 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM (Kitchen closes at 9:00 PM)
Fri - Sat. 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM (Kitchen closes at 10:00 PM)
Sunday . Closed


Old Town Hall - History

Museum

The Fifield Old Town Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, where it is cited as "one of the few remaining buildings of its kind." The State Historical Society remarks that it is a "very impressive landmark." The Fifield Old Town Hall is in itself a very valuable artifact.

The Old Town Hall Museum is maintained and operated by the Price County Historical Society.

The Old Town Hall Museum was a government building from 1894 until 1967. It was built in 1894 to replace the original building constructed in 1882. That building and many others were lost in the fire of 1893, which destroyed the entire Fifield business district.

Through the years, day-to-day government business was conducted in the lower floor offices. Town meetings were held upstairs in the large hall. The upstairs was also the site of countless dances, talent shows, graduations, school programs, fancy balls, lodge meetings and appearances by visiting speakers.

Beginning on the lower floor, the former clerk's office displays logging tools, camp artifacts, railroad memorabilia, and the Round Lake Logging Dam Model. A Victorian period living room, kitchen, and bedroom occupy the old jail area. A changing exhibit room provides various aspects of county history. A gift shop offering books of local and northern Wisconsin history is also located in the former treasurer's office.

The old ticket office still stands sentinel to the wide stairway leading to the upstairs social hall, also known as "The Opera House." A stage remains an integral part of the interior, and a touch of early pioneer elegance is evident in the wainscoting and a delicate stencil, which has been restored on the walls.

Exhibits in the great hall include farm implements, artifacts of early transportation, clothing, CCC Camps, military memorabilia, and the Old Price County Courthouse furniture. The stage offers a glimpse into early county history, with the theme usually changing periodically.

The organization operating the Price County Historical Society was organized in 1959. The society took on its first substantial project in 1967 when it acquired the Fifield Old Town Hall from the town of Fifield. Restoration of the building began in 1969.

In 1976, the doors were opened to the public for the summer season. Today, the society maintains and develops the museum with support from Price County, the town of Fifield, private donations, grants, membership dues and volunteer help.


Old Town Hall

Founded in 1872, the Town of Babylon conducted its business through Town Board meetings held at various hotels and, on occasion, in board members' homes. The town clerk received mail and maintained records in a rented office establish in the community of his residence.

At that time, most of the town population was located within the communities of Amityville, Babylon, and Breslau (now Lindenhurst). The remainder of the town was sparsely populated and consisted mainly of farms. Town government consisted of many function, such as supervisor, councilman, town clerk, tax assessor, highway superintendent, constables, and judges. Most town officials used their homes for office space.

Opened in 1918, Old Town Hall was the first town hall erected by the Town of Babylon, and served as the seat of town government for 40 years.

In 2005, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. After extensive restorations, the Old Town Hall was rededicated as the Town of Babylon History Museum on June 11, 2010, with three floors of exhibits that include the jail cells of the former Town of Babylon Police Department, the old courtroom, and a special exhibit room with an interactive multimedia table.


Watch the video: Lil Nas X - Old Town Road Official Video ft. Billy Ray Cyrus (July 2022).


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