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Westminster's First Town Hall

Westminster’s First Town Hall, 3924 West 72nd Avenue (Click for Map)

Town Hall in Strawson back yardDesignated a local historical landmark in 2008, Westminster’s first Town Hall is located on the south side of the historic Bowles House Museum, 3924 W. 72nd Ave. The Town Hall was built in the late 1890s and was used to conduct City business from 1911 to 1913.

The Town Hall was originally located at 7441 Bradburn Blvd., the home of Fred and Luella Strawson. In 1905, the Stawsons purchased 5-acres of “level and fertile land” in Harris, Colorado for $470.00. Fred worked as a carpenter, but injured himself on the job and was unable to continue being a carpenter. He became an agent for Continental Insurance Company, got a Notary Public license, and became licensed to sell real estate. He then purchased his neighbor’s building for $50. It was put on skids and moved to Fred’s property. This building sat on the side of Fred Strawson’s home and was his real estate and insurance office.

In 1911, 40 residents petitioned the County Court to set an election date on the issue of whether the village of Harris should incorporate under the name Westminster, in honor of  nearby Westminster University. It was in Fred Strawson’s insurance office that the papers for incorporation of Westminster were drawn up. The Westminster Town Board met in Strawson’s building for two years. Fred’s son Stanton Strawson, said that the first Town Hall could have been in their home except for the fact that many of the Town Board trustees smoked cigars and Luella Strawson would not allow them in her home.

The Westminster Town Board met for the first time on June 11, 1911 in Fred Strawson’s office. At this historical meeting, Dr. Richard Russell was elected mayor; Fred Strawson as Police Magistrate; S.R. Rigg as Treasurer and Town Clerk; H.T. Buswell as Town Marshal and pound-master; and John Gabriel asTown Attorney.

In 1989, the Strawson Building was moved by Pinkard Construction to the Bowles House site. The  one-room Town Hall is furnished with a wood stove, desk, chair, bookcase, ink well and quill, and a spittoon, all historic items donated by local residents.Town Hall present day behind Bowles House

On April 28, 2007, Henry Colling from Boy Scout Troop 484 started his Eagle project to restore the Town Hall. He organized fundraisers and six separate workdays (over 200 man-hours) throughout the summer and following winter. The efforts included scraping loose paint, making repairs to the wood lap siding and the threshold, priming the building with an oil-based paint, then painting it with a latex paint with the color matched to the previous building color, an off-white. Henry raised money to hire Bob Mulcahy, a professional sign painter, to restore the original lettering on the Town Hall office building.

Sources:
Historic Landmark Application dated March 8, 2008, prepared by Tracy and David Colling.
Record of Proceedings for the meeting minutes of the Board of Trustees of Westminster, Colorado (July 11, 1911)
Historically Speaking, Westminster Historical Society (Jan. 1997, Feb. 2001).
Reference files and interviews with Kay Michaelson, Westminster Historical Society

 

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