Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2006 Preservation Award Winners
Provincetown Town Hall Provincetown
Highfield Hall • Falmouth

Rehabilitation & Restoration

The Provincetown Town Hall was constructed in 1886, after the first town hall was destroyed by fire in 1877. Designed by John A. Fox of Boston, known for design and supervision of numerous public buildings throughout Massachusetts, the Town Hall has operated continuously as the seat of local government since its construction. It is a contributing property of the Provincetown National Register Historic District, and is also located within the Provincetown Local Historic District. Its second-floor auditorium has been the political and cultural center of the community as a venue for town meetings, concerts, dances, graduations, festivals, and other significant events. A comprehensive assessment revealed that the town hall was structurally unsound: the auditorium and balcony could not be safely occupied, and the exterior envelope was failing, allowing water infiltration into the interior. In addition, the electrical, mechanical, and lighting systems were found to be outdated, energy inefficient, and beyond their life expectancy.

The first phase of the restoration and rehabilitation project, completed in 2009, included structural and exterior repairs, as well as restoration of the original double-hung windows and the addition of storm windows for energy efficiency. Paint analysis revealed the Victorian multi-color palette of the original exterior paint scheme, which was reinstated. Phase two focused on interior repairs and restoration, as well as replicating the stairs that once flanked the main entrance, which were removed in the 1950s or '60s. With the support of town officials and Provincetown citizens, the project evolved from one focused on urgent repairs into a truly comprehensive preservation effort. An MPPF grant helped to fund restoration of the missing, historic auditorium ceiling, chandelier, and wall sconces, which were recreated using historic photographs. The color scheme of the auditorium was also restored, and state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems added. The Provincetown Historical Commission also recognized the achievement with a 2010 Excellence in Preservation Award.

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