5 years and 14 days after I started this project, I’m riding on the Nantucket High Speed Ferry to the island, to take the 351st and last town hall photo.
Middlefield Town Hall – 2:12 PM
– This is town hall #350, the second to last one in the state. It’s a renovated one story brick elementary school, located about a 1/2 mile outside of the old town center. The Mack family cemetery is behind the town hall, at the edge of the woods. The only other on site amenity is a asphalt basketball court. Building a court beside your town hall is usually a recipe for obscurity. But this one has 2 neighborhood kids playing there.
– Veterans Day, sunny and 65 degrees.
Gosnold Town Hall – 2:30 PM
1925 Cape Style, weathered shingles. Light rain all day. One of the 3 town halls that need a ferry ride to get to an island.
Tower Hill Road is the only straight street on the island.
Ludlow Town Office Building – 11:30 AM
- Last trip to the western part of the state, to finish the last 4 towns out there. Hot, humid day. Already 85′.
- 1974 brick 2-story building in good condition. It is not downtown, but part of a large campus of the high school and playing fields.
- The roof is marred by a large tin vent stack. Either someone put in a wood stove, or this place has some kind of septic issue:)
Wilbraham Town Hall – 1:20 PM
- 1-story rambling brick building, built in 1978. Huge front lawn.
- All the war memorials and the original meeting house are back in the center of town.
- It’s interesting that as you drive around this part of the state, but outside of the official 2011 tornado track, you keep bumping into significant storm damage. There is one of them behind the rear parking lot at the town hall, a 100′ blow down in the forest from a micro-burst.
Springfield City Hall – 2:30 PM
- The new city hall was built in 1913, along with the Campanile clock tower and the municipal auditorium. The city hall and the auditorium are almost exactly the same, with huge Corinthian columns in the front of the Greek temple. The 3 buildings are collectively known as the ‘Municipal Group’.
- But up close, the buildings are showing a lot of decay. Many of the bronze plaques and some decorative statues are missing from their niches and pedestals, the Corinthian capitals are covered in heavy pigeon netting and the entire plaza surrounding the tower is fenced off because of falling limestone. The city website claims they started significant renovations in 2006, but you would be hard pressed to see any progress.
- Across the street, the McKinley monument is bizarre. There is some kind of greek goddess spread across the front, reaching up towards the president above. Problem is the goddess and her palm fronds are covering up most of the bronze plaque that describes the president. Have to wonder what the citizens of Springfield thought when the statue was unveiled in 1908. It was originally located in a park far from downtown, then moved to city hall.
South Hadley Town Hall – 3:11 PM
- 1917 brick 3-story building, with cement trim. Might have originally been a school.
Boston City Hall – 5:30 PM
- First trip in 2012, 4 months since my last trip.
- Some people don’t like the Boston City Hall architecture. I’ve always been ok with it. But the whole city plaza is covered with The Big Apple Circus tents, trailers and chain link fences. Ugly.
Chicopee City Hall – 11:00 AM
- Built in 1872 of granite, brick sandstone and limestone. 147 foot bell tower hanging off the side of the main building. From the city website:
“In 1869, the City of Chicopee purchased from the Ames Manufacturing Company, land on which to build a City Hall. The architectural design was done by Charles Edward Parker of Boston and has many similarities to the design of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy after which it was intentionally patterned. He is also reputed to have designed the Town Hall in Easthampton, Massachusetts. The work on Old City Hall began in early 1871. Bricks used in construction were made and furnished by Charles McClallan. The metal railings, hinges, fittings and the eagle weathervane used on the building were all cast at the Ames Manufacturing Co. famous for Ames Swords used during the Civil War. The original semi-circular steps at the front have been replaced. At the top of the steps in the spacious recessed entrance, memorial tablets of Chicopee’s Civil War dead stand at each end. The building was completed in 1871 and dedicated on December 21, 1871.
The two-story brick building, sitting on a high granite basement, dominates Market Square where four streets converge for crossing the Chicopee River and Dwight Mills Canal. The building originally had rows of chimneys along the two long eaves of the Ridge-Type roof above the exterior walls and between the main window bays, but they were removed at a later date when central heating was installed and the building was re-roofed. The gable-ended front façade exposes beautiful detailing of pilasters and dentil work done in brick as well as a large stained glass rose window and a three-arched entrance portico whose columns are topped by capitals, no two of which are alike.
One of the great distinguishing features of the Chicopee City Hall is its 147 foot tower, patterned after that of the Palazzo Vecchio. Atop the tower, there is a gold eagle spreading its wings 7 feet from tip to tip and weighing 54 pounds. In the tower hangs a bell that was used on public occasions and as a fire alarm. The tower also houses a clock facing out on three sides, which was installed later in 1888. The clock is made up of wooden parts still in working condition.”
Holyoke City Hall – 11:28 AM
- Towering granite romanesque. High Street looks bombed out. Many empty lots downtown.
Granby Town Hall – 12:40 PM
- Is named “Kellog Hall” and is in very poor condition. Peeling white-painted shingles. There is a large town common.
Monterey Town Hall – 1:20 PM
- Very quiet road. Kids playing basketball in the town park behind the town hall.
West Springfield Town Hall – 2:40 PM
- 3-story modern office building, surrounded by large parking lots.
Agawam Town Hall – 3:30 PM
- 2-story brick building, maybe from the 1930’s. Local landscaping company is doing the last leaf cleanup of the fall. The neighbors are burning leaves and pumping up their inflatable Santa Claus.
Edgartown Town Hall – 10:30 AM
- Somewhat similar to Tilsbury Town Hall, with the same kind of staircase to the 2nd floor hall. Nice gold gilt ship weathervane on the cupola.
West Tisbury Town Hall – 11:40 AM
- Unpainted wood shingles, new building in a Victorian style.
Chilmark Town Hall – 12:10 PM
- Built in 1902, with white clapboards. Two story. Two guys on the roof, replacing the town alarm siren in the cupola.
Aquinnah Town Office – 1:30 PM
- Sun bleached wood shingles, one story. Police, fire and town office are separate buildings, pulled together by a pergola.
Oak Bluffs Town Office – 3:40 PM
- Outside of downtown, on a small rise. Both the town hall and the library next door are new and in the same shingle style.
Tilsbury Town Hall – 2:15 PM
- This is my 2-day trip out to the island, to cover the 6 town halls on Martha’s Vineyard. Sunny warm day, with 30-40 knot winds on the sound. The ferry is only 1/2 full because of the late season.
- The town hall dates from the 1840’s. Classic Greek revival, with lots of peeling paint. The main hall is on the 2nd floor, with a unique pair of outside staircases running up the hall door. Located on such a narrow street, every photo I take is more up, than across.
Chesterfield Town Office – 11:20 PM
- Town offices are in the Davenport school, now renamed to the Davenport Office Building. The old town hall is at the top of the hill at the center of town.
Worthington Town Hall – 6:30 PM
- Long time since I’ve seen a town’s name in gold leaf. Classical style, but a fairly new building in excellent condition.
Peru Town Office – 1:00 PM
- Combined town offices and community center.
Plainfield Town Hall – 2:40 PM
- Greek revival style in good condition.
Ashfield Town Hall – 3:00 PM
- The town hall and fire station are side by side. Looks like a town Oktoberfest is wrapping up on the town common next door. Very ornate cupola.
Conway Town Hall – 3:40 PM
- Conway is a well hidden town that has some mills and money a 100 years ago. You can see it in all the Greek revival architecture, the town library and the two town halls. One is the brick town hall, still used by the town clerk. The other building is the town office and is just down the street.