"New" City Hall

City Hall Origins


The City of Lowell's Lowell's current City Hall is located upon land that was once part of the Old Fletcher Farm. In 1879, the land was purchased from the Merrimack Manufacturing Company for $85.3K.

Having outgrown the City of Lowell's original City Hall, a city hall commission was established in 1888 to oversee the construction of a new city hall. A design competition was held that resulted in 23 entries and three finalists.

The third prizewinner, the Lowell architectural firm of Merrill Cutler, eventually received the commission to construct after some revisions and negotiations regarding the tower design. Among Merrill and Cutler's other Lowell works is the former First Congregational Church on Merrimack St., currently known as the Smith Baker Center.


Construction


Although the Commission placed a $200K ceiling price on the building's construction, the final cost was approximately $250K ($361K including all furniture and fixtures). The cornerstone for this new City Hall was laid on 7/2/1890 as construction commenced, with the grand dedication on October 14, 1893.

One of the most impressive buildings of its kind in New England, it is now the centerpiece of the City Hall Historic District. At the time of its dedication it was noted that the new City Hall included:
  • 1 burglarproof and 25 fireproof vaults for valuables and public records
  • 69 rooms not including vestibules, staircases, hall and corridors
  • Handsome chambers for the City Council School Committee
  • Offices for the heads of all the departments


Design Features


To this day, the interior of City Hall is renowned for the richness of its stained glass, foliated capitals, cast iron stair railings, and golden oak woodwork.

City Hall is also home to the Kirk Boot portrait and Nathan Appleton portrait.

The City of Lowell's City Hall is one of the three similarly designed institutional buildings built in Lowell in the 1890s which includes: Memorial Hall/Pollard Memorial Library to the rear and the former Lowell Post Office at 89 Appleton Street.