From The City Manager’s Desk – Centennial Celebration
A couple of years ago while walking around City Hall, I noticed the inscription on the southeast corner of the building – “CITY HALL Erected by Public Conscription 1917.” I thought at the time that we needed to do something in 2017 to commemorate that this building in Holt Park has now been standing here for 100 years! So here we are in 2017, and the City of Holtville will be throwing a big ol’ birthday party for our iconic “home in the middle of home” on Memorial Day (Monday, May 29, 2017).
Late in 2016, City Staff began researching the construction of City Hall by reading back issues of the Holtville Tribune. Back in February, 1917, a group called the Commercial Club, that had been raising funds for the building for some time, confirmed that a new City Hall would be built in the middle of the park and building would be pushed as rapidly as possible.
The group had already raised $1,000 at that point, but with the announcement, additional donations to the construction fund began to flow in. The Masonic lodge consented to build a second story to City Hall to use as a lodge room. They would then surrender it to the City after 10 years of use. By March, 1917, over $2,000 had been raised thanks to the generous contributions made by companies, banks and citizens of the town. The largest donor was Varney Bros. & Co. ($200), but the bulk of the donations were of the $5 – $50 variety.
On March 27, 1917, the first shovelful of soil was turned, although final plans, were not approved until April 2. Construction was described as button board concrete, which consisted of a frame built with boards nailed to the outside that contain buttons to hold plaster. The usual lath and plaster were used on the inside. The final result was a building that was cheaper than reinforced concrete, but strong enough to offer the greatest resistance to earthquakes.
By mid-May of that year, the framework of the first story of City Hall was up and work on the second story was taking place. Memorial Day exercises were held on the first floor of the new City Hall building on May 30, 1917, to protect veterans and speakers from the sun and wind.
From that point in the research, it seemed that they continued to finish the second floor and spruce up the first, but by the time the 2nd floor was dedicated in February, 2018, it was evident that the first floor was already in use for its intended purpose.
So since City Hall was first used on Memorial Day, that seems to be a fitting time to bring together the community and mark this historic anniversary. For the past several years, a morning ceremony in Holt Park has been held to honor our veterans. That will happen again this year, but this time we will follow it with a City picnic/family day/Farmers Market & Street Fair! There will be food, music, craft vendors and games in the Park. Mayor Goodsell will deliver his State of the City Address. Holtville residents past, present and future are encouraged to attend.
We are be asking local groups to get onboard, help and participate in the event, so everyone should make plans to come to Holt Park on Monday, May 29, 2017! (…and hey – don’t forget to SHOP IN HOLTVILLE!)