Brockton City Hall, 45 School Street, Brockton, Plymouth County, MA
Significance: The City Hall has great historic significance to Brockton because it was the first and only home of the city government. Brockton traces its earliest inhabitants back to 1698. The Town of North Bridgewater, later Brockton, was incorporated in 1821. For many years the location of city government shifted from one rented site to another. Also, City Hall was built upon the site of the Centre School which had been erected in 1797. It is also important to note that the building was also conceived of as a Civil War Memorial. To this end, it was designed to house in a monumental corridor a series of paintings commemorating battles of the War, some depicting local men. At the end of the corridor is a rotunda replete with plaques and reliefs further honoring the Civil War soldiers. The architectural significance of the City Hall rests in that its design harmoniously synthesizes some of the most important architectural ideas of the period. The architect, Wesley Lyng Minor, worked in the offices of William R. Ware, James McArthur, Jr., and Richard Morris Hunt. Foremost the building presents a "real experience," a value of John Ruskin. The deep sharp shadows created by the receding bays and the long recessed entries, the play of the tower against the long horizontal expanse of the facade make the building very exciting. However, it is a disciplined example of the Victorian Romanesque. The building relies more on massing than detail. Lacking the florid colors and nervous details of other contemporary structures, it presents a facade of "old gold" brick shaded with rose tones, a basement of pink Deer Island granite, and columns and bandings of a pinkish toned brownstone. The mortar is a brownish pink also. Ornament is restrained. It borrows details from H.H. Richardson such as his Syrian arches. It reflects William Morris Hunt's inspiration from Loire Valley chateaux. Renaissance detail is used for the doorways of the monumental corridor.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: FN-268
Survey number: HABS MA-1158
Building/structure dates: 1894 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1957 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1972 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1979 Subsequent Work