By Gail Watt, special collaborator
West Bolton has outgrown the current facilities at 9 Town Hall Road and has a decision to make: to expand the existing building or find a new home. Here is the story of how West Bolton found its current home.
In 1876 East Bolton and West Bolton separated, with East Bolton retaining the big white town hall building located in Bolton Center and leaving West Bolton with no permanent home. In those days, council meetings were held only four times a year and took place in different schoolhouses. The town office was in the home of whoever was the secretary at the time but, eventually, meetings became monthly.
In 1856 Martin Duboyce sold a small corner of his farm to the “School Commissioners for the Municipality of Bolton”. A school was constructed, and it became “school # 2”, one of nine schools in the area. By the 1950’s most of these schools had closed and students were bussed to Knowlton Academy. In 1962, “The Corporation of West Bolton” bought, for the princely sum of one dollar, the lot #68 with its buildings, once the Duboyce School House.
Now with a new home, council meetings took place in this building, now known as
the West Bolton Town Hall. It was the typical one-room schoolhouse: flat on the ground with no running water, a wood stove, an outhouse, and even electricity. Someone would come an hour or two before meetings to start the fire. The office was still in the secretary’s home until 1988 when two rooms were rented on the ground floor of the former Brill Church (corner Brill and Stukely).
In early 1994, grants became available and the choice was between renovating 9 Town Hall Road or building something elsewhere. The decision was made to renovate and enlarge the existing building based on these reasons:
• The location was central within the municipality
• To preserve a small part of history
• There is an oak tree, with a plaque, just to the Southeast of the building, planted by a group of citizens in 1976 to commemorate West Bolton’s 100th birthday (1876-1976).
• To have a Town Hall that ‘lives’ in the rural beauty of the municipality.
The renovation took place in 1995 with the first official West Bolton Council Meeting taking place on November 13,1995.
Just over 25 years later, the future of 9 Town Hall Road is once again under discussion.