Rehabilitation & Restoration
Randolph’s Stetson Hall was constructed in 1842 as a gift to the town from boot manufacturer Amasa Stetson. The building was originally used for the Stetson Academy, later Randolph High School, which remained there until 1906. In 1911, a Civil War memorial was erected in front of Stetson Hall, the site of local meetings of the Grand Army of the Republic. Writer and humorist Mark Twain spoke at Stetson Hall in 1872 as part of a GAR lecture series. In the years after the school’s relocation elsewhere, the building was used for town activities and housed many town offices, including the police department. Stetson Hall was Randolph’s Town Hall from 1954 to 1995, during which time the second-floor auditorium was subdivided, creating office space.
The recent restoration of Stetson Hall was a ten-year effort by the community to preserve this landmark structure. Among the project’s volunteer laborers were some of the school’s alumni. Workers removed vinyl siding, repainted the exterior, and replicated and replaced long-lost shutters . A historic globe window found in storage was fully restored and reinstalled in the front of the portico. In the auditorium, drop ceilings and wall partitions were removed, and the town seal and proscenium of the stage were restored. The town used Community Preservation Act funds to restore the building and received numerous additional grants to complete the project. The restoration of Stetson Hall ensures the continued prominence of this local landmark in Randolph’s downtown area and attests to the commitment of the community to historic preservation.