Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2008 Preservation Award Winners
Newburyport City Hall • Newburyport
Newburyport City Hall  Newburyport

Rehabilitation & Restoration

Newburyport City Hall has served continuously as the center of political and civic activity in Newburyport since its construction in 1851. It is an excellent example of the Italian Villa style, as interpreted in public buildings in the mid 19th century. The building was constructed of Portland Connecticut brownstone, a popular period building material that was later shown to separate and fail if exposed to freeze/thaw cycles. In recent years the building’s exterior suffered accelerated deterioration, leading preservation consultants to urge immediate action, warning that many sections of stone could fall at any moment.

Although many favored building a new town hall—a cheaper alternative—the city secured financing (including Community Preservation Act funds) to restore the building. The project repaired all exterior damage to the brownstone using, as needed, cast stone reproductions that matched the brownstone in texture and color; repointed all joints; completely rebuilt the most deteriorated brick; replaced the copper roof; conducted paint analysis; and replaced the aluminum front doors with new wooden doors reproduced from historic photographs of the building. The city of Newburyport has also been commended by the Architectural Access Board for its accessible design, for the sensitively designed ramp to the front door. The rehabilitation of Newburyport Town Hall has helped to preserve the historic character of Newburyport and to revitalize the city’s downtown area

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