Elgin Celebrates 50-Year Anniversary of City Hall With Wednesday, Dec. 5, Reception

Elgin Celebrates 50-Year Anniversary of City Hall With Wednesday, Dec. 5, Reception

Elgin’s City Hall is turning 50, and the Elgin City Council and the Elgin Heritage Commission are throwing a party.

In honor of the milestone, city officials will hold a reception at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, in the lobby of City Hall, 150 Dexter Court.

Following the 5 p.m. Committee of the Whole meeting, the reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the first floor lobby with a slideshow of historic images of City Hall and cupcakes served. A proclamation will then be read by Mayor David Kaptain at the 7 p.m. City Council meeting that follows.

Built in 1968, Elgin’s City Hall, located within the Robert Gilliam Municipal Complex, is considered a significant mid-century modern building that has not only hit historic status but has played an important role in Elgin’s heritage.

In November of 1962, Elgin voters overwhelmingly approved the construction of a civic complex that would serve as a source of pride for Elgin’s citizens and as an area that reflected beauty and function. About 25 acres were redeveloped for the civic complex with the use of Urban Renewal Funds.

The buildings included City Hall, the U.S. Post Office, the former Elgin Public Library, the Hemmens Cultural Center and the 2nd District Appellate Court.

The City Council at that time included E. C. “Mike” Alft (mayor), William Barber, William Rauschenberger, Nufrio Santanni, and Earl Tillery with Robert Brunton as city manager.

Six years into the redevelopment, City Hall was completed. The building was designed by notable Chicago architecture firm, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and was designed to reflect beauty and function creating a new era of design in governmental architecture.

Uniquely, the building once had an exterior breezeway at its first floor that separated the north and the south towers. This was enclosed around 1996 to accommodate more services and nicely join both towers together.

The building’s original uses included a Communications Center, No. 1 Fire Station, the Finance Department, City Council Chambers, the Police Department, the Community Development Department, and even a Pistol Range. Many of these uses are no longer within City Hall as it has been adapted to meet the needs of the city.

Dec. 2, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of when the building was first occupied. At the time of completion, its total cost to construct was $2 million and boasted carpeted floors, air-conditioned rooms, automatic elevators and abundant space.

SOURCE: city of Elgin news release