History of the Village Hall at Framingham Centre Common
Village Hall was built in 1834, during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, and served as Framingham's second town hall. It succeeded a smaller town hall that was no longer adequate to accommodate the town meeting sessions of the growing community. Within the walls of the Village Hall, Framingham and the country "grew up," faced the challenges of the Industrial Revolution, and weathered the trauma of the War Between the States. The "Battle Hymn of the Republic" was first performed publicly across the street from the hall at Plymouth Church.
Minutemen, and later militia, trained on the center common adjacent to where the hall was built. The Common was at one time part of the property of Thomas Danforth. Danforth, who owned a large parcel of land that eventually would become Framingham, was an influential landowner, a Deputy Governor of Massachusetts and a judge at the Salem witch trials.
The Henry Knox Trail runs along on Edgell Road by the Common and the Village Hall. General Knox used this route when he brought cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston during the Revolutionary War, to fight the British. The cannons were hidden in nearby barns until General Washington sent for them and they were set up on Dorchester Heights overlooking Boston Harbor.
The Village Hall's Greek Revival architectural style is a simple adaptation of ancient Greek temples. Designed by the nationally recognized architect, Solomon Willard, it reflects the national patriotic and democratic spirit prevalent following the War of 1812. He is responsible for the design of several other National Register structures, including the Bunker Hill Monument. Local carpenters built the hall from plans drawn by Dexter Hemenway.
The Village Hall originally housed town offices, two school rooms, Framingham's first library, and town meeting government. In thrifty Yankee fashion, no space was wasted, as the town fire engine was stored in the basement. In the late 1800's Town Meeting outgrew the Village Hall and met in various public halls in downtown Framingham, until the Memorial Building, our current town hall, was built in 1928. In 1904, a group of citizens formed the Framingham Improvement Association (FIA) and received permission from the town to assume care and repair of the Village Hall. Today, the non-profit Framingham History Center is responsible for the preservation and management of the Village Hall.
Today, this charming hall is listed in the National Register and under the care of the Framingham Historical Society and Museum, has been refurbished and maintained to preserve its historic character. It has been enjoyed by many for a variety of events including weddings, corporate meetings and other celebrations.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Greek Revival-style Village Hall was built in 1834. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Large foyer, cocktail reception room, bar service area, fully equipped kitchen and restrooms (with a dressing area in the ladies' restroom) on the first floor; picturesque twin staircases lead upstairs to the ballroom and stage. The Village Hall provides tables, chairs, easels and various display tables.
Due to the historic nature of the building, Village Hall does present problems for individuals with certain disabilities.
There is on-site parking as well as parking on two adjacent streets, at a neighboring bank and behind the Jonathan Maynard building which faces the Village Hall and the Framingham Centre Common.
Links to Services page.No. The Village Hall is managed by the non-profit Framingham History Center (FHC), previously the Framingham Historical Society, which was founded in 1888. The FHC does employ a part-time Rental Coordinator and maintenance and security contractors. The Rental Coordinator shows the Hall by appointment, takes the bookings, manages contracts, deposits and fees, seating plans, etc. The Rental Coordinator can make referrals based on considerable experience with caterers, bartenders,photographers, etc., who have worked at the Hall. See more on the
One. When you rent the Village Hall it is yours exclusively for an event up to six hours, with an additional two hours for deliveries and set-up. Overtime can be arranged per the fee schedule. Is Village Hall available for weekday rentals? Yes for either half or full day events.
There have been many ceremonies at the Hall. The rate sheet has more detail. What kind of events are held at Village Hall? Weddings, corporate seminars and meetings, hospitality events, holiday parties, bar and bat mitzvahs, Quince Anos parties, reunions. Is there outdoor space? There are two terraces on the grounds.