2007-01-18 / News

A new town hall: 1883

From the Jamestown Historical Society
By Sue Maden

In April 1883, at the annual town meeting, a committee was appointed "to make inquiries in relation to locating and Building

a Town House for said Town and an estimate of the cost thereof." Within a month the committee reported that John J. Watson offered as a site a lot he owned between the Baptist and Episcopal churches. "A majority favored some location adjacent to the ferry landing and proposed to make inquiries in relation to a location on the west side of the lot of the late Patty S. Congdon, but before any definite result was reached that lot was sold and the new purchaser refused to sell on any terms. The price of a lot owned by Samuel Carr & Charles T. Bandee was ascertained and found to be too high. Application was also made to W. H. Knowles in relation to land west of the Bay View Hotel on the ferry road the answer was not for Sale." The committee further reported that two plans were under consideration. The first was "for a Building 50 feet long 32 feet wide with a Council & Library room in the rear end of the Building fifteen feet Square each with a porch over the front door. To be one Story high 16 feet posts with Cupola on the front. Hall or ordinance room 35 feet long 32 feet wide." The second plan was "for a Building 35 feet long 30 feet wide with a porch over the front door with a room in the Basement for Council & Library room nine feet high three feet of Stone and Six of Wood length of posts about 20 feet." One builder estimated the cost of either plan to be $2,000. Another builder thought the building with the basement would be the most costly of the two.

In a subsequent Town Council meeting, the council passed a unanimous resolution stipulating in part that:

+ A lot located between the Baptist and Episcopal churches be purchased for $300 from John J. Watson.

+ The first of two building plans be accepted. The new town hall is to be a one-story building 52 feet long and 32 feet wide having 16 posts. In the rear of the building, council and library rooms are to be 15 feet square each. A porch will be over the front door. There will be a cupola on the roof, and the hall or ordinance room is to be 35 feet long and 31 feet wide.

+ The committee will submit specifications to builders for competitive bids.

+ When completed, the cost of the building will not exceed $2,500.

+ The Committee will have power to change details, but not to effect the general plan of the building.

+ The building will be completed on or before the first day of November 1883.

On April 2, 1884, Town Clerk John J. Watson, submitted to the town clerk's office a report from Town House Building Committee that broke down the cost of building and furnishing the new town hall as follows:

The cost of constructing the new building was $1,900.

Expenses for finishing the new town hall were $44.25 for Kalsomineing, $30 for plans and specifications, $55.30 for blinds, $128.66, for extra work and material, $36 for seats and bracket lamps, $30 for hanging lamps, $59.45 for stoves and pipes, and $29 for desk, chairs and table.

The total cost of the project was

$2312.86.

Building committee members George C. Carr, Elijah Anthony and Frederick N. Cottrell signed the report.

The documents from the archives of the Jamestown Historical Society are numbered A2006.198.001, A2006.198.002 and A2006.198.

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