Description of Historic Place
Built in 1874 with a design from noted local architect John Latshaw, Old Stamford Town Hall is located along Ferry Street and Sylvia Place, in the former Stamford Township, now known as Niagara Falls. The hall, with its durable hammer-dressed limestone construction, has eclectic Italianate styling which includes a gable hipped roof and gingerbread trim, as well as a main entrance archway with a keystone and voussoirs.
The property has been recognized for its heritage value by the City of Niagara Falls By-law 7826.
The Old Stamford Town Hall has a prominent location in the former Stamford Township, with access points along Ferry Street, Sylvia Place and Peer Street. It was built in close proximity to Main Street and Lundy's Lane, a central location beneficial for the operation of a town hall. Its designation as a heritage site combines effectively with its more recent use as a historical museum, as both the building and its interior occupation allow for the preservation of a unique history.
The Old Stamford Town Hall was a political centre for the former Stamford Township between 1874 and 1963, after which Stamford amalgamated with the City of Niagara Falls. Prior to amalgamation, decisions were made in this building regarding the development of Stamford Township. Stamford is noted as being one of the first townships in Upper Canada to give attention to its municipal welfare. Until the construction of the Old Stamford Town Hall in 1874, Stamford Township always held its council meetings in various popular local inns and taverns, and the construction of this building offered a more permanent, organized location from which to conduct meetings. Rooms were also rented out to various organizations, including the Free Masons Lodge No. 105, Drummondville Fire Department and the Village of Niagara Falls Council. After amalgamation, the building was given to the Lundy's Lane Historical Museum, which provides valuable information on Niagara Falls' vibrant history.
The Old Stamford Town Hall has undergone very little change over the years thanks to the durability of its hammer-dressed stone structure. With a basement eight feet in height, as well as a fifteen-foot high first storey and twelve-foot high second storey, the building has proven to be architecturally sound for its various uses. Its eclectic Italianate styling includes a gabled hip roof with cornice brackets and gingerbread trim, windows of different shape on the first and second storeys, and the main entrance archway with a keystone and voussoirs. Very few of these historic public buildings remain in Niagara Falls due to urban renewal, and the merits of such a structure in terms of its construction methods and use of materials are preserved and admired through the heritage designation of the Old Stamford Town Hall.
Sources: Municipal Register of Heritage Properties, Old Stamford Town Hall, Planning and Development, City of Niagara Falls, 2006; Stamford Township Hall Designation Report, Jim Harris, Planning and Development, City of Niagara Falls, 1976; “Former township hall opened 100 years ago today”, Francis Petrie, The Review, Jan 4, 1975.
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of Old Stamford Town Hall include its:
- prime location in the former Stamford Township, creating a key location for its use as a Town Hall
- durable hammer-dressed stone structure
- gabled hip roof with cornice brackets and gingerbread trim, windows of different shape, and the main entrance archway with a keystone and voussoirs, all of which exemplify an Italianate style influence
- multiple access points to the property from Ferry Street, Sylvia Place and Peer Street
- proximity to major intersections in Niagara Falls, such as Main Street and Lundy's Lane