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Photo Archivist's Selection of the Month: February 2003

Old Town Hall II – the one that's still standing

After the town hall fire of 1904, "the architects Edgar Josselyn and Nathan Mellen were called on to design a town hall for the new era. In Beaux Arts style, the new building, now universally known and loved as 'the Old Town Hall,' was placed diagonally on the site of the traditional center of the community. Limestone-faced and topped with a massive clock tower, the two-and-a-half story structure provided space for the mayor, a growing list of city officials and a mountain of records. At one point its basement even served as the local jailhouse". So write Estelle Feinstein and Renee Kahn in their dedication booklet for the new Government Center.

Postcard: the proposed site of the townhall

Prospective site of the New City Hall, 1904.

Postcard: a rendering of the proposed building

Proposed design for the New Municipal Building, 1904.

September 27, 1905: Laying corner-stone of the New Municipal Building.

laying of the corner stone for th new town hall A postcard was also issued. More viewsa postcard of the cornerstone ceremony

Postcards show a changing view:

Left: Around 1909. The Congregational Church is still there. The street railroad was discontinued in 1933.
Right: Around 1946. The church has been replaced by the Citizens Savings Bank. The tall building next to the town hall was erected at the same time and housed the Stamford National Bank. The Stamford Savings Bank building, "The Little Red Bank," is next to it.
Postcard, around 1909. The Congregational Church is still there. There are still street railroad tracks Postcard, around 1946. The church has been replaced by the Citizens Savings Bank.

In the 1930s: The trolley tracks are covered over, but no repaving has been done. Larger view.

Old Town Hall, 1930s.  Trolley tracks were covered over. Click here for larger view Belltower, click here for newspaper stories A bus. Citizens Savings Bank in the background.
In the background: Citizens Savings Bank.

1940s: The photo below says 1960s, but after a doubt was raised because of the type of cars in the image, I checked around and got this response from a friend:

"Forty's. The front left looks like a 47 Chevy Stylemaster I had as a kid. The Squareback in front looks like a Plymouth to me. It's tough to date rigs like that. From 42 to 48 the body style remained the same on Ford and Chevy, as far as I know. Factory production had other requirements at the time."

Another wrote: "Compare the sizes of the tree."

Atlantic Square in the 1940s

1960s: A change: The bus shelter is gone. The date stamp on the postcard is of 1965.

Postcard, before 1965


The Town Hall in 1988, click here for more images
various exterior and interior views

1995: Aerial view.

thumbnail of 1995 Aerial view of old tonwhall, click here for larger image

Renovations and new clock tower in 1976
Mural Depicts Purchase of Stamford
Campaign Rally in 1936 in front of the Town Hall
The Prior Town Hall 1870-1904
The Old Town Hall and the 1904 Fire

Stamford Town Halls

Brochure Cover, click here for textAfter WWII, the building could not meet the increasing demands for municipal services and offices. The first attempt at a solution was the purchase of the five-story HELCO office building at the lower end of Atlantic Street. The offices of the Mayor and board of representatives and other boards were moved into the new "City Hall" or "Municipal Office Building," constructed originally in 1927. The Town Clerk, the Judge of Probate and the Registrars of Voters remained in the "Old Town Hall," while other officials were located in other buildings on and off Atlantic Street.

Architectural rendering of One Telecom Place,  click here for larger imageIn 1986, "the hydra-headed problem was solved at one stroke by the purchase of the sleek aluminum, glass, and steel office building, constructed but not tenanted by GTE, on the corner of Tresser and Washington Boulevards."

Here is an architectural rendering of "One Telecom Place."

Meanwhile, the Old Town Hall still sits where it was, and over the years, various uses have been discussed, but no solution has been found as of this writing.

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Images © Stamford Historical Society

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