City Hall

This building was very advanced for its time with a steel structure making load bearing walls unnecessary.

 

 The building was originally heated by coal and actually construction was delayed because the contractor failed to dig the coal vault to house the coal and the building could not be heated.

 

 At the time of design, electricity was still somewhat unreliable and therefore, there was a back up gas lighting system and you can still see the remains of that system on the columns in the second floor hallway on either side of the stairs.

Electricity at the time was also quite low voltage, so the custom of the time was to have skylights built into the top floor of buildings and to house engineers and draftsmen on that level so that they could use the natural light from the skylights.  The skylights in City Hall were closed over during World War II for blackout.  During a remodel a number of years back, the skylights were again opened up.  At that time they were cleaned of 50 years of grime, however, they were still as built and have never leaked or cracked.

 

An interesting note on the skylights is that they were created with a great deal of sophistication.  They have hinged vents to allow for them to release any build up of hot air during the summer, and they have steam driven radiators which prevent any condensation with the vents are closed in the winter.  One skylight is purely decorative and is at the top of the Rotunda staircase if you look straight up.

 

 The bricks are original and have never needed replacing or repointing, other than at the parapet and corners which were replace about seven  years ago.  The floors and stairs are terrazzo, and the beautiful circular staircase could not be built today because of modern building codes, but we all can appreciate how it connects us to our past.

 

 She is a treasure, albeit sometimes a little wrinkled, soggy and aged, but still our

 

 GRAND OLD LADY OF MAIN STREET