| Hamden |
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| || HAMDEN MEMORIAL TOWN HALL |
2372 Whitney Avenue
Type: Building with inscriptions incised in limestone
Architect: Richard Williams
Contractor: M.J. Gibbud
Electrician: Kilpatrick & Holz
Plumber: James C. Brown
Heights: Building, two stories; inscriptions, 72"
HAMDEN MEMORIAL TOWN HALL, Hamden, is significant historically because it represents the fruition of the town's long-standing desire for a war memorial. Erection of SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' MONUMENT in nearby East Rock Park, New Haven, in 1887 influenced the citizens of Hamden to undertake something similar. Delays ensued, however, and it was not until the advent of the 1924 Memorial Town Hall that the desire for a war memorial was realized. Cost was $164,000. Little is known of the contractor and sub-contractors.
HAMDEN MEMORIAL TOWN HALL is significant architecturally because it is a good example of a building in the Colonial Revival style. Its design draws on Federal-style antecedents including the work of British architect Robert Adam (1728-1792), who emphasized elliptical spaces such as the Town Hall lobby. The incised inscriptions dedicated to the memory of those who served in the nation's wars are in the walls of this ceremonial room.
The firm in which the building's architect, Richard Williams, was a partner with William H. Allen conducted perhaps the largest practice in New Haven in the early 20th century.
HAMDEN MEMORIAL TOWN HALL was built in red brick with cast-stone trim in 1923/1924 to the design of Richard Williams. It is sited at the center of downtown on the northwest corner of the intersection of Whitney and Dixwell Avenues. The front entrance is in a wall which is convex in plan and canted to face southeast toward the intersection. Colossal Ionic columns at the top of broad steps frame the three double doors. The interior, or obverse side, of this wall is the front wall of the elliptical two-story hall or lobby in which are incised inscriptions to those who served or died in the War of the Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish War, World War I, and Korean and Vietnam actions. The Mexican War and World War II are not represented. The Civil War inscription occupies a 72' x 72' space northeast of the central hallway opening.
The walls of the lobby are polished limestone or marble, the floor granite. Three hallways lead back into the building from the lobby. Four stained-glass windows are in the top of the front wall. Their subject is Lieutenant A. Frederick Oberlin, a World War I hero.
Front hall, northwest (rear) wall, northeast panel, incised caps colored gold:
| THE CIVIL WAR |
| TO THE HEROES OF THE |
CIVIL WAR FROM THE TOWN OF
HAMDEN WHO OFFERED THEIR
LIVES THAT OUR NATION
CONCEIVED IN LIBERTY MIGHT
1861 - 1865
| FROM THESE HONORED DEAD |
WE TAKE INCREASED DEVOTION
TO THAT CAUSE FOR WHICH THEY
GAVE THE LAST FULL MEASURE
Front hall, southeast (front) wall, east end:THE WORLD WAR (appropriate inscription, and names)
West end:(2 columns of names)
Southwest end, above:THE WAR OF 1812
Northeast end, above:THE SPANISH WAR
Northwest (rear) wall, northeast panel:WAR OF THE REVOLUTION / KOREAN THEATRE
Northwest panel, below:VIETNAM
Rachel M. Hartley, The History of Hamden, Connecticut, 1786-1959 (Hamden: Shoe String Press, 1959), pp. 419, 451, and 465.
Town of Hamden Building Department, Building Permit 2874, October 2, 1923.