Waterville's Olde Town Hall
The original location of the Chamber of Commerce building at 122 Farnsworth Road was around the corner at 16 North Second Street. It was moved in 1996 to make room for a parking lot for Zion Lutheran Church. Known as The Olde Town Hall after the new municipal building was completed in 1984, it was then occupied by the Chamber of Commerce.
Before the move was begun The Waterville Historical Society was given the opportunity to inspect and remove any of the many old documents stored in the building which they felt should be preserved. Discovered among the dusty books and papers were the original plans proposed by several builders for a council room and jail which the village had advertised for bid in 1885.
Proposals written in beautiful longhand along with simple drawings were made by William H. Myers, Frederick E. Sargent, William Witte & Company, J.F. Patton, and L.G. Gunn. Some made two proposals, one for a brick structure and another less expensive one made of wood.
On October 15 an article of agreement between the Village of Waterville and William H. Myers was made to build a council room and jail for the sum of $561.00, with the work to be completed on or before December 1, or the contractor to be assessed $2.00 each and every day the work was delayed. The specifications called for a 40 by 20 foot building with 10 foot ceilings and two jail cells of nine feet square.
The work was completed on time and Myers asked for another $9.00 for extra work he had done. Then on December 28 he and J.B. White sent a bill for $33.00 for labor and materials for one desk, three benches, shelving, hooks, coal box and two bunks. Alfred.J.Taylor was then mayor, George.M.Utz was clerk, and the council members were Oscar.W. Ballou, Henry. Knarr, Thomas Pray and Charles.W. Shoemaker.
To relocate and extensively renovate the building in 1996 cost another $60,000. The Lutheran Church exchanged location sites with the village and paid for the moving with Graham’s Building Movers. The Chamber agreed to increase their rent and pay for new landscaping.
Due to mistakes in early records which were perpetuated through the years, the building was thought at one time to be owned by L.L. Morehouse from 1847 until 1873 and then by Frank Whitcomb until 1884 when the village bought it from him. Perhaps they owned the lot or an earlier structure, but The Waterville Archival Research Center has the original documents which make clear that it was built 122 years ago as a village hall and jail.
William Myers would be pleased to know the basic structure he built so soundly is still an integral part of Waterville life.