In 2009 the entire building was restored to its former glory. The second floor ballroom is particularly beautiful with its historically accurate stenciling of tan and brown paint and gold leaf, theatrical stage, balcony seating and fully restored historic shuttered windows. Movies and theatrical productions are again presented in the Sandwich Town Hall.
The Sandwich Town Hall was granted a Preservation Award for Rehabilitation & Restoration by the Massachusetts Historical Commission in 2011.
Rehabilitation & Restoration
The project to rehabilitate and restore the town hall began in 2009, after several years of research and planning, and was completed in October of 2010. The first-floor corridor and office ceiling beams were preserved and remain exposed, as they have been since 1834. During the preservation of the entrance doors, it was discovered that they are the town hall’s original doors and are signed by Solomon Howland, son of the building’s master builder, Ellis Howland. The project also restored the original exterior paint colors, the 1870s stenciled ceiling of the Meeting Hall, and the 1914 Meeting Hall stage and building extension, the walls and ceiling of which had been extensively damaged over the years by water infiltration. New supporting piers and foundations replaced inadequate wood and brick piers in the cellar, where water intrusion was channeled and suppressed to mitigate a long-term, building-threatening condition. Sensitive changes for accessibility and functional use included elevating the entrance portico and installing an energy-efficient elevator, as well as installing additional restroom facilities and multi-zoned heating and air conditioning. (SOURCE: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/mhc/mhcpra/praslideshow11/praslideshow11_7_sandwich.html)
PRESERVATION AND RESTORATION 2009 – 2010
The preservation and restoration of the 1834 Sandwich Town Hall was begun in July 2009 following several years of study & planning, initially by a committee of citizens and later by a task force of town staff & citizens, and with the aid of Community Preservation funds of 3.1 million authorized by three successive Town Meetings.
Historic preservation & restoration, under the direction of a leading Massachusetts historic preservation architect, was focused on retaining the historic character-defining features of the Town Hall and specificallyon restoring:
• linear first floor corridor and rear doorway
• original Meeting Hall and 1870’s stenciled ceiling
• 1914 extension and stage
• historic exterior and original paint colors
Major adaptive changes to ensure functional use were: raising the main granite entrance-way & installation of an elevator–for the handicapped and physically challenged; reconfiguration of first floor Town administration
office spaces; installation of new/additional toilets on both floors; installation throughout of multi-zoned heating & air conditioning, and complying with all ADA and Building Code safety requirements.
Major corrective changes included: new supporting piers throughout the cellar; covering, channeling, and suppressing cellar water intrusion; and a pair of enclosed steel “summer” beams to support the second floor Meeting Hall.
October 2, 2010 Rededication – 1834 Sandwich Town Hall
The Sandwich Town Hall reflects over 175 years of Sandwich’s history, government and culture as well as the larger issues of State and National life that have had an impact on the Sandwich community. The Town Hall has been in active use as the seat of Town government for every one of those 175 years. There are few towns that can make this claim.
In 2010 the Oldest Town on Cape Cod “Celebrated History & Celebrated Sandwich” with the completion of the historic preservation and restoration of the Sandwich Town Hall, the Town’s most significant structure architecturally and historically, and a vital presence in the living history of the Town of Sandwich.