The Old Town House
The first town house was built early in 1798. It stood nearly in the centre of the common, a few yards west of the present building. The surviving Old Town House sits at the intersection of Cross Highway and Lonetown Road, within the Redding Center Historic District. (Click for more information on the Redding Center Historic District). Redding Center today is much as it was when the town received Parish status in 1729, the center of business affairs. Once the seat of government for the Town, the Old Town House now serves as home to the Town of Redding’s land use department.
In 1834, the Old Town House was built to be “devoted to public purposes.” The Congregational Church (the original burned in 1842) and the 1838 Methodist Church (now the Congregational Church) were located near each other on Cross Highway with the Redding Town House in between.
Back in 1729, town meetings included discussions of where to place meeting notices:
“The first Society meeting was held June 5th, 1729 (less than a month after the parish was organized). The first three committee men of the parish, elected at this meeting, were John Read, George Hull, and Samuel Sanford.
From the plan submitted December 27th, 1797, by the building committee, we learn that it was “36 feet in length, and 30 feet wide, with 12 foot posts, covered with long cedar shingles, the sides with pine.” There was a chimney in each end, and fifteen windows with twenty lights in each. Peter Sanford, Ezekiel Sanford, Samuel Jarvis, Aaron Sanford, Andrew L. Hill, and Simon Munger were appointed ” to receive proposals and contract for building the aforesaid Town House.” The builder was Daniel Perry.
The present “old” town house(still standing and used today) was erected in 1834. At a town meeting held March 3d, 1834, Mr. Thomas B. Fanton made a proposition “that he would engage to build a new Town House, same dimensions as the old one, of good materials, covering to be of pine, with shutters to the windows, outside of the house to be painted, and the whole inside and out, to be finished in a workman like manner, to be erected near the old one, on land belonging to the town, provided the town will give him $400.00, and the old house,” and engaged to save the town form any expense on account of the materials provided by the committee to repair the old town house. This proposition was accepted, and John R. Hill, Gershom Sherwood, and Aaron Burr,2d, were appointed a committee “to superintend building said House.” There were objections, however, to having the new house built on the old site, and a meeting held shortly after voted ” to relocate the house in the building owned by Thaddeus M. Abbott recently occupied for a school house.”
Other parties objected to this plan, and a third meeting was held before a site satisfactory to all parties could be agreed on. This meeting voted to locate it “on the Southeast corner of Thaddeus M. Abbott’s homelot, fronting the public parade on the South, and on the West of Lonetown highway, provided that nothing in this vote interferes with the contract made with Thomas B. Fanton for building said house, and that it be no additional expense to the town.” The building belonging to Mr. Abbott which stood on this site was moved away, and the present townhouse erected in the summer of 1834.