Landmark Status Sought for White Plains City Hall

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The White Plains Historic Preservation Commission is seeking Local Landmark Status for City Hall

White Plains Historic Preservation Commission Chair Robert Hoch said City Hall has special historic significance.

City Hall was built by important figures, was visited by President Franklin Roosevelt and was even copied by a New Jersey municipality, Hoch said last week. The building was formally dedicated on Feb. 22, 1925.

The Preservation Commission is seeking Local Landmark status for City Hall, which is located at 255 Main St. The Common Council accepted the communication from the Preservation Commission about the designation proposal on Jan. 7. Hoch said the historic designation would become final 45 days after the recommendation was noticed on the Common Council’s agenda unless the Council objects.

In its recent letter to the Common Council, the Commission stated that “it spent considerable effort deliberating the historic importance of the interior and the monuments in the atrium (known as the ‘Rotunda’), which commemorate the names of those men and women from White Plains who bravely served in our nation’s armed forces in every conflict beginning with the American Revolution.”

“Since the Municipal Building was conceived as a living monument to the city’s soldiers who served in the First World War, it is clearly apparent to the Commission that the Rotunda is an integral element of the building’s design and purpose,” the Commission’s letter stated.

Two important figures in their fields were involved with the construction of City Hall, Hoch explained. The architect was Joseph Friedlander, who was highly regarded, Hoch said. Friedlander works include Harlem Hospital, the Museum of the City of New York and the Bronx County Courthouse.

The contractor for the City Hall construction was John O’Rourke, who was one of the best-known construction contractors of his era, Hoch added.

President Roosevelt came to City Hall in 1937 to take part in a ceremony to honor the 250th anniversary of the purchase of land from the Weckquaeskeck Indians that would become White Plains.

“There is a replica of City Hall built by another community,” Hoch said. The Bridgeton, NJ City Hall is “a copy of White Plains City Hall.”

Hoch said he has not spoken with the Common Council about his proposal.

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