The Village Hall was constructed in 1834 to the designs of Solomon Willard, designer of the Bunker Hill Monument, and Dexter Hemenway as the Town’s second town hall. Built by Dexter Esty, it contained offices, school rooms, the first public library space and meeting space. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and now serves as a rental venue for meetings and private functions.
By 1891, town functions had outgrown the space. South Framingham had become the business center and the last town meeting was held in the building. A decade later, the Framingham Improvement Association (FIA) was formed and designated to maintain and manage the building. Charles M. Baker, a local architect, carried out a “restoration” project which appears to have significantly reorganized the building, with a new entrance in a new portico facing the Centre Common to the north, a sweeping double staircase and renovations to the upper meeting room. A handsome terrace with granite balustrade with a Beaux Arts “thermum” motif was constructed between the Village Hall and the Common in 1913. In 1916-17, the ceiling in the ballroom was removed to “to expose the Old Oak Trusses” and new stage and dressing rooms were added. A fire damaged the roof and walls in 1920, and in 1934, Charles Baker donated plans and supervision of the repair work.
The Village Hall today is an unusual mix of historic features and later additions. The exterior features the original freestanding porticoes with three bays of Doric columns on the east and west sides. A matching portico, constructed in 12913, is centered on the north side, facing the Common. The door with transom leads into the entrance lobby and double stairs to the upper level. The south side along Oak St. is seven bays wide. Windows throughout have six-over-six double hung sash with shutters.
The interior also contains details that appear to date from various periods. While the Baker Room and stairways appear to include some mid-19th century elements, the main staircase seems to have been installed in the early 20th century. The decision to expose the structure in the auditorium is contrary to what would have been accepted practice in the 19th century, when a finished ceiling would have been more typical.