City Hall Campus
Fitchburg City Hall was built in 1853. The two-story Italianate design featured brick walls on a granite foundation with brick pilasters, brownstone and terracotta details, granite lintels, and a slate roof. The building had offices on the first floor and a large public meeting room with a balcony on the second floor. In 1879, a stage house was added to the rear of the building. City Hall is considered a local historic landmark, listed in the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System within the “Downtown Architecture of H.M. Francis, Fitchburg, MA”, and recommended for listing in the National Register of Historical Places on the Massachusetts Historical Commission Inventory Form
Today, the 1853 exterior has been fully restored, with the brownstone and terracotta details carefully repaired or replaced in kind. The original entry has been reestablished as the building’s primary and fully accessible public entry. The 1879 addition roofline was restored by removing the added dormers and recreating the eaves, but the compromised internal structure led to replacing the existing floors. This was an opportunity for the floors to be aligned with the 1853 floors, eliminating the need for interior ramps and stairs at the party wall (the former proscenium wall) and enhancing the building’s accessibility.
The interior was wholly redesigned to accommodate fourteen administrative departments including the Office of the Mayor. The goal of the renovation was to create a modern and efficient workplace for city administrators to better serve Fitchburg residents. Straightforward wayfinding was an important design consideration. Upon entering the front door lobby, the transaction counters for the Treasurer and Clerk are directly ahead flanking a central corridor. On the left side of the lobby are a public meeting room and the main stair. On the right side of the lobby are another public meeting room and the elevator. The lobby is a double-height space allowing a view to the second-floor building and public health departments’ transaction counter. The central corridor leads to the assessor and the recreation departments. A third floor was inserted into the original double-height auditorium. The third floor is dedicated to multiple administrative offices, including human resources and a large flexible training room.
An adjacent mid-1980’s building (formerly a bank), was converted into the legislative building, housing the City Council Chambers. The coffered high-ceilinged banking hall was ideal for the chamber with sufficient space for the 15-member council table and audience seating for up to 120 people. As a stand-alone building, the chamber is easily accessible to the public for night meetings and flexible in its use during the day.
Bank Adapted into Council Chamber
1853 Original Town Hall
1875 Historic Map Mural