Old Town Hall

Old Town Hall, 2019

On April 3, 1871, at the annual meeting of Webster Township, 47 voters cast ballots on the question of building a new township hall at the corner of Gregory and Scully Roads to replace the original hall on North Territorial Road. The building specifications called for a “depot fashion” building with dimensions of 24 feet by 34 feet, boarded up and down and batted, and painted with 3 coats of paint for a cost of under $1,500. A one-acre parcel was purchased for $80 from George Phelps on May 11, 1871, on which to build this structure. The final cost for land, building, fence, and hitching posts was $1,758.17. To help off-set the cost, the original hall at the corner of North Territorial and Scully Roads was sold for $21.25 to Albert Houghton.

The Town Hall had its first official meeting in December 1871 and remained unchanged until 1948, when a contract was let for construction of a 10 foot by 24 foot cement block addition on the south end of the hall. The addition, which cost $1,000, was used for storing firewood and to provide enclosed “comfort stations.” In 1948, cupboards were added along the entrance door wall for storage of township records; these were removed in 1981. The building was lighted with kerosene lamps until sometime in the 1920s and heated with the wood-burning stove well beyond that time.

By 1996, the building had served the township for 125 years and could no longer accommodate the growing number of township voters during elections. The Township built a new hall on a 12-acre parcel purchased from May Mast. The Township Board at its regular meeting on August 20, 1996, voted to donate the old Township Hall to WTHS for preservation and safe-keeping.

In May 1997, the old building was moved three-quarters of a mile across the cornfields to its present location in Historic Webster Village. WTHS volunteers refinished the interior to “like new” condition. The cost of moving and restoring the Old Town Hall was $27,881.99—almost 20 times the cost of building it.  Recently repainted, it is a wonderful structure with tall shutter-trimmed windows on three sides and a high ceiling. An old cast-iron stove, similar to the original one that once heated the building, sits in the center back of it, and rows of benches line each side of the center aisle. Gingerbread” adorns its roof line and front door. Inside early records of township operations are preserved and displayed.