Municipality
 
 

Paterson's First City Hall


In 1869 the aldermen thought it would be very nice for the Paterson of the future if the city had a park in its centre and a city hall on the centre of the park. So they appointed a commission to buy the property bounded by Market, Ellison, Colt and Church streets. Some of the taxpayers thought this was going to far and they went to court about it; the court decided that the aldermen had no right to give to others the powers which the legislature had given only to the the aldermen; the aldermen might buy property for the city but they could not get others to attend to that matter for them. As so many taxpayers had shown that they objected to having a park in the centre of the city, the aldermen satisfied themselves by buy a building for a city hall. The building they bought had been erected by Peter Colt in 1813 as a residence for himself; he had used in its construction the brown stone taken from the walls of the large mill owned by the Society but which had burned down in 1808. The Colt residence was two stories high and stood where the old police station stands now (Washington Street). From its front entrance a large lawn reached down to Main Street and the rear gardens extended nearly to Church Street. The aldermen cut down the hill in front of the building and a street was made that is now called Washington. This left the building high up in the air and so the aldermen built another story under it. In the picture of the building the former entrance can be easily distinguished over the entrance built afterwards. The building was used by the ciy officers until the present city hall was erected. It was distroyed in the great fire of 1902.

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