The local historic significance of Fredericton City Hall is rooted in its Second Empire architectural style, its prominent location, and the substantial role it has played in Fredericton’s political, social, and commercial narratives.
The current building, designed by Saint John architects McKean and Fairweather, replaced the City Hall and Market structure of 1867, which was destroyed by fire in January 1875. The new City Hall, built by H.B. Crosby and O.M. Campbell of Saint John, was erected on the same site, using salvaged parts of the foundation and other materials from the predecessor. The fact that three prior buildings on this site were lost to fire may account for the area’s moniker, Phoenix Square.
The architectural design of Fredericton City Hall holds heritage value for its influence on future constructions in the area. As a prime example of Second Empire style, it set a benchmark for other structures to follow. The design of City Hall inspired changes in the foundation design of the Provincial Normal School, which was under construction in 1876 and later burned down in 1929. The Randolph Building, erected next to City Hall in 1878, was intentionally designed to blend with structures like City Hall and the Provincial Normal School. The building’s distinctive 115-foot projecting tower, which originally housed a fire alarm mechanism alongside a clock, is a noteworthy feature of its design.
The fountain has been a prominent feature since its construction in 1885.
Fredericton City Hall has local importance as a true community hub. As the seat of civic politics, its main floor was dedicated to this purpose, hosting City Council meetings, acting as a polling station for elections, and offering various civic services, including a police station and a jail. The basement city market made the building a commercial hotspot and a communal gathering place. Additionally, the second floor housed an 810-seat opera house with a horseshoe balcony, making City Hall a cultural and entertainment epicenter for over half a century.
Apart from an addition in 1975, the exterior of Fredericton City Hall has been preserved largely as it was when initially built.
Visitors are always welcome, greeted by a ceremonial guard. For more information visit click here.
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