FRAMINGHAM – Framingham Historic District Commission green lighted final blueprints for historic Village Hall to be made more accessible to every one.
Built in 1834, Village Hall, at 2 Oak Street, served as Framingham’s second town hall. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In May, Town Meeting approved funds to upgrade the building, constructed during the Presidency of Andrew Jackson. The estimated cost to make the historic Hall accessible to all is $2.2 million.
The Village Hall is a large, centrally located, historic and beautiful piece of town-owned property, under a lease agreement with the Framingham History Center.
The Center rents out the building for weddings and other functions. The Center also has holds events at the Hall. There is a large staircase to the second floor, but no elevator. Also the entrance to the building is not handicapped accessible.
There was a large crowd in attendance for last night’s Commission meeting. Commission Vice Chair Steve Greeley said he believed it might have been the largest audience for a Commission meeting. There was not one free chair available in the room.
The final blueprint to update the historic hall was unveiled at last night’s meeting.
Changes include the reconstruction of the pathway and the elevation of the pillars on the building.
The walkway will be made of brick.
The Greek-style columns on the front of the building will be elevated by pieces of granite placed underneath them. The granite purchased for this project will look weathered, so to match the character of the building. The granite under the columns will help the stability of the building.
Right now, the conditions underneath the columns are poor. By elevating the columns with granite, the Town will avoid having to tear them down or having to constantly repair them.
The Commission unanimously approved the accessibility upgrades and plans last night.
Framingham Disability Commission Chair Karen Foran Dempsey also approved of the final plan, saying “we are on board.”
Dempsey said even though all of the logistics were taken care of, the Disability Commission “would still like to be kept as a part of [the] process.”
Town Historian Fred Wallace was also happy with the decision.
Wallace said Historic Village Hall used to be the town hall of Framingham for 65 years. He believes these accessibility upgrades will prove to be one of the most worthwhile projects for a building that stands for so much.
As Wallace described it, “the crown jewel of the center of the common historic district,” will soon become accessible for all future generations to come.
According to the Framingham History Center, “Village Hall’s Greek revival architectural style is a simple adaptation of ancient Greek temples. Designed by the nationally recognized architect, Solomon Willard, it reflects the national patriotic and democratic spirit prevalent following the War of 1812. He is responsible for the design of several other National Register structures, including the Bunker Hill Monument. Local carpenters built the hall from plans drawn by Dexter Hemenway.”