Needham History Center & Museum Needham History Center & Museum, Needham Massachusetts 02492

23. Needham Town Hall

The new Town Hall, decorated for Needham’s Bicentennial in 1911

The first town meeting hall was the First Parish church, which served as both house of worship and public gathering space. Later, town affairs were conducted in commercial buildings (such as Revere Hall, Site #8) whose open second floors provided enough room to gather.

A dedicated town office and meeting space was built in West Needham in 1869, but when that part of town split off to become Wellesley in 1881, the meeting hall went with it. Town offices were again housed in retail space, above the general store on the corner of Great Plain Avenue and Chestnut Street. The need for a new, central Town Hall was discussed as early as 1884, when a block of house lots bounded by Chapel Street, and Great Plain and Highland Avenues was purchased by the town and designated The Common.

The town took twenty years to decide, but the Town Hall was finally built in 1902, as Needham faced the new century. Town Meeting recognized the increasingly urgent need for “proper and fitting accommodations” for the conduct of town business – adequate space for the town offices; fireproof security for vital town records; and not least, a desire to present the town as a dynamic and modern locale for residence and business.

The Town Hall was a civic monument to Needham’s Twentieth Century identity:

“We have only to consider our needs to decide what is the necessary and wise course to pursue in providing a suitable building . . . altogether arranged and constructed so that the stranger landing in our town will not be obliged to ask, ‘Where is the Town Hall?’ but it will speak for itself, and for the progressive spirit of our people.”
– Selectman Edgar H. Bowers

In 2010-2011, after serving the town well for more than 100 years, the Town Hall was renovated, restoring its splendor and preparing it for the next 100 years.

More about the Town Hall

Back to Map 2 – Needham Center

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