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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Columbus City Hall (T. Heggland photo)

Columbus City Hall, facade detail (DHP photo)

Columbus City Hall
105 North Dickason, Columbus, Columbia County
Architect: Truman D. Allen
Date of construction: 1891-1892

By the late nineteenth century, Columbus had developed into a prosperous rural trading center, its economic well being depending on the success of the surrounding agricultural community. Columbus' economic boom of the 1880s and 1890s necessitated additional city services to support the expanding downtown and new residential neighborhoods. The city responded by building a new Columbus City Hall, which opened to the public in 1892.

Truman D. Allen, a Minneapolis architect specializing in courthouse commissions, designed Columbus City Hall. This late Victorian building is an example of a multi-use municipal building. The offices of city government, the police and fire departments, the jail and fire fighting equipment, and the city library were located in the building when it opened. On the second floor of the building is a large public auditorium. This was the location of most of the cultural and educational events in the community. In addition to class plays and graduation exercises, the auditorium hosted traveling theater troupes and served as a motion picture theater until the local Rudalt Theater was built in 1917.

The city hall is the best local example of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. The style was commonly used for government buildings, where it expressed the stability and permanence of democratic institutions. Here it is characterized by the general massive and heavy appearance of the building, the large arched openings framed in red sandstone, and the contrasting stonework of the lintels, foundation and arches.

The building is open to the public during normal business hours.


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