Saugus Town Hall // 1875

The Saugus Town Hall was built in 1875 and is one of the most visually striking buildings on the North Shore of Massachusetts. The original Town Hall for Saugus (after the separation of church and state required a separate buildings for town matters and religious gatherings) was built in 1837 in the Greek Revival style. The first town hall was built to serve a community of just 750 residents, which by the last quarter of the 19th century had grown to more than 2,000. The current town hall was built in 1875 to serve “the needs of a progressive and growing municipality”. As planning for the town hall was underway, it was established that the town’s high school was becoming inadequate to a growing population. It was therefore proposed that the new town hall would also serve as a “High School House”. It was also deemed appropriate to locate the public library in the building as well. Even the police department and jail were located in the basement, making the Saugus Town Hall a one-stop shop for governmental functions.

The architectural firm of Lord and Fuller designed the grand building, who that same year designed the Topsfield Town Hall and the next year, designed the iconic Abbott Hall in Marblehead. The building features delicate stick style detailing and is capped with a central clock tower with a tent roof cupola, all painted historically appropriate paint colors! By the 1990s the town hall had fallen into disrepair and the town proposed tearing it down. However, the Saugus Historical Commission pushed to save and restore the building. The structure reopened in 1998 with a final cost of $3.5 million dollars, with nearly half supported by preservation grants and fundraising, effectively saving the town money compared to the demolishing and construction of a new town hall. Preservation wins!

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