By the late 1860s the Town of Harvard’s first Town Hall building, constructed in 1828, was too small and in need of repair. After much debate, a location for a new Town Hall was selected (13 Ayer Road) and the building was dedicated in 1872. A rear polygonal addition dates to 1899.
The origin of the Town of Harvard’s first Town Hall, or Townhouse, is described by Henry S. Nourse in his 1894 History of Harvard:
The earliest movement looking to the building of a hall especially adapted for the transaction of the town’s business was on April 7, 1807, when a committee was appointed to consider the proposition. The report of the committee was probably adverse, as no further action in the matter is recorded, and the town-meetings continued to be held in the meeting-house as they had been from the first. In 1827 the subject was again agitated, perhaps stirred by some natural objections on the part of the first parish to submit their place of worship to the defilement and injury incident to its frequent use by mixed and sometimes disorderly assemblies. A town-meeting debated the question of the town’s right to use the meeting-house, and finally referred it to a special committee for investigation. Samuel Hoar, Esq., was consulted, and advised the town that the edifice was the property of the first parish exclusively, and that a precisely similar case had already been decided by the supreme court in favor of the church in Medford. A for a new building for the town’s use, forty-four by thirty-four feet, estimated to cost seven hundred dollars, but the whole subject was dismissed at that time.
May 5, 1828, a town-meeting was called at the Baptist meeting-house in Still River, and then it was voted to proceed with the erection of a town house at once. The building was placed on the north-eastern portion of the common, across the highway from the present town hall, where E. W. Houghton’s barn now stands. It faced to the south, and had four Tuscan columns supporting the front gable. There was no provision for warming it until 1832, when a chimney was built and a stove purchased.
After a new Town Hall was built in 1871, the old Townhouse was moved slightly to the north (current address 14 Ayer Road) and converted into a residence by George L . Sawyer, who sold it to his father Arad Sawyer. Later in the nineteenth century it was owned by Sawyer’s daughter Sarah and her husband, Charles P. Atherton.
Built in 1936-1937 during the Depression under the auspices of the city and the Public Works Administration, the War Memorial Building (also called the Soldiers Memorial Building) in Holyoke was constructed to honor veterans of the First World War and to serve the city as a community center. The building contains a large auditorium and three meeting rooms. It is located at 310 Appleton Street. Read More
The City Hall of Holyoke, located at the corner of Dwight and High Streets (536 Dwight Street), was built in 1871-1876. It was planned as the Town Hall, but Holyoke had become a city by the time it was completed. It was built with granite quarried in Monson. The building was designed by Charles B. Atwood, who utilized elements of the Gothic and Romanesque Revival styles. During construction, Because Atwood was not delivering updated drawings in a timely manner, the design work was turned over to H.F. Kilburn in 1874. An annex in the same style was completed in 1913. The building has a second-floor auditorium, called the City Hall Ballroom, that features thirteen stained glass windows designed by Samuel West of the Ecclesiastical Stained Glass Works in Boston. In recent years the painted antique glass windows had fallen into disrepair. A campaign was organized that raised funds and the windows were restored last year. Other restoration work has also been done on the building’s exterior and interior. Read More
As related in my previous post, the Town of Stockbridge constructed a new town hall/office building in 1884 at 34 Main Street, but continued to own its previous Town Hall building of 1839, which it returned to and enlarged in 1903. The 1884 building, which displays the words “Town Offices” with the date 1884 A.D., was constructed in the Flemish Revival style. Designed to be fireproof, it contained offices for the Selectmen, Assessor and Town Clerk on the first floor and storage space on the second floor. The basement had two jail cells. The town sold the building in the 1960s and it has since been used as commercial space.
In 1839, the Town of Stockbridge built a Greek Revival-style Town Hall building on land owned by the Congregational Church with the stipulation that the property would revert to the church if the town moved out of the building. In 1884, the town did build a new Town Hall at 34 Main Street, but called it “Town Offices” in order to retain the 1839 building. In 1903, the town moved back to the original building, but enlarged it: the original section was rotated ninety degrees and joined to a new Neoclassical front section, designed by architect Harry E. Weeks of Pittsfield. In 2008, the town moved out of the 1839/1903 building (6 Main Street) and relocated to a former school building at the other end of Main Street.